My beautiful 9 Month old baby. Time has flown by for sure!
My beautiful 9 Month old baby. Time has flown by for sure!
It was sometime in the afternoon on a weekday. The baby was at home with my husband and I was on my way home from work. Tears were streaming down my face from lack of sleep, a stressful day at work, and the stress of knowing my child wouldn’t leave my side once I got home. As the tears began to turn into one big ugly cry I pulled into a deserted parking lot and it all came pouring out.
“I am just so tired, Lord. Why won’t this baby sleep? Where did the loving and peaceful relationship with my husband go? Why did you put so many dreams and ambitions in my heart only to let them sink to the bottom of this tear filled lake????”
There it was. The sentence that put everything else into perspective. Why did God place these dreams in my heart for me only to fail at trying to achieve them? That is when I realized that God did not push aside the dreams in my heart, but rather molded them into something so beautifully different. God did fulfill his promises to me, but I had to be open minded to see them.
On December 22, 2015 I gave birth to a beautiful healthy 7 lb 14 oz baby boy. That day, without my knowledge, God began to mold me into a mother and adjust my priorities to reflect this innocent baby’s needs. As I thought back on the birth of my son I realized my expectations didn’t reflect reality and was forced to change my priorities. In this season of the church we are celebrating Pentecost. The birth of the church. I am sure that the apostles did not expect to be filled with the Holy Spirit as it is depicted in Acts, but God gave them grace in that season to redirect their priorities and dreams. That is my challenge for you this season. Ask God where you need to redirect your priorities and dreams. My hope is that as a church we make our community and health a priority this season. Obtaining a healthy life style is about setting priorities. Whether letting the laundry sit a little longer while you cook a new recipe or choosing to play at the park with your kids rather than mowing the lawn. While both laundry and mowing your lawn may feel crucial in the moment ultimately by adjusting priorities such as these we can find that we are a bit happier and healthier.
I hope that the recipe included will help make at least one meal this week a little easier and encourage a healthy life style.
Chicken Thighs with Carrot Fries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chicken: Rinse and pat dry your chicken thighs. Place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1-2 TBS olive oil
Carrots: peel carrots. Chop off the top and about 1/2 inch off of the bottom. Cut in half and begin to cut carrots into strips. Try to keep them as uniform as possible. Thin edges will burn quickly. Place all carrots into a large bowl and drizzle with 2-4 TBS olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp cayenne. Lay carrots out onto a baking sheet.
Place both carrots and chicken into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes have been completed, make sure the chicken is on the top rack. Turn the oven to broil at 500 degrees. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the skin is crispy and browned. Remove chicken from oven and continue cooking the carrots until they begin to crisp/brown-about 3 minutes.
Enjoy your chicken and carrots with some fresh mixed greens.
Hello! I have been trying out lots of new recipes and this is definitely a favorite. It is unique and very filling. I can go with just 1-2 wraps for a meal and be full for a couple hours.
GF Naan from Living Gluten and Grain Free – a lot of times I change up recipes, but this one is spot on. Check their site out for more great Gluten and Grain free options.
Start by roasting your asparagus. Preheat the oven to 425 and place asparagus on a pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for roughly 10 minutes or until it starts to roast (brown)
While the asparagus is cooking begin mixing together all of your gluten free naan ingredients. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix. Then heat up a non-stick skillet to medium heat. (In my experience no butter or oil was needed in the cooking process, but feel free to add a little butter or oil to the pan)
Cook the naan just like you would pancakes. Pour 1/4 cup batter into the pan and cook until the bubbles pop and stay open. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and place on parchment paper or a towel. It will need some space to cool properly so that it doesn’t become soggy.
Once all your Naan is made, mix together your ricotta cheese and garlic. Spread 1-2 TBS onto the naan and top with asparagus. I found that less is more with the ricotta.
Feel free to eat it like a pizza or roll it up.
Best served immediately, but can be refrigerated and eaten cold or heated back up in a toaster oven. I would not recommend heating in a microwave as it will get soggy.
I hope you try this recipe out and enjoy it as much as I did!
Today is International Women’s Day. I have never felt more like a woman today than ever before. My day started at 6 AM by breast feeding my three month old child. From there I ran some errands with him which included my last visit to the lactation specialist office. When I got home I continued to ponder the meaning of international women’s day. I thought about all of the women around the world who have come so far in their independence, and also about the women/societies that haven’t been so lucky. I feel that I have experienced one of the most primal examples of woman-hood within the past few months through becoming a parent. I wish I could say that this experience has made me feel whole as a woman, however a glance in the mirror at my postpartum body left me saddened by what I saw. My body is more saggy and full of stretch marks and cellulite than ever before. Since I have always thought of women to be beautiful, strong, and courageous it was difficult when I stared at the body in the mirror that didn’t fit those descriptions. Insecurity set in. Then I picked up my baby and went back to that same full length mirror. I looked at the body that had naturally delivered a healthy 7 lb 14 oz baby into this crazy world just 11 short weeks ago. Every stretch mark is a reminder of my sweet baby boy. Woman-hood is not defined by the shape and appearance of our curves, skin, hair, eyes, and nails. The word woman simply means a female human. We must determine the definition of the word by ourselves. No one can define who a woman is but us.
I hope that over the next days, months, and years I am able to transform my definition of what a woman is. I want to challenge myself to be strong and courageous and rework my idea of what is means to be beautiful. I hope this definition will grow and change with me. I hope to break free of the societal stereotypes that I assign to myself through my insecurities.
I challenge you to create your own definition of “woman”. Write it down where you can see it often. Challenge yourself to break your own molds and stomp out those insecurities that are screaming “YOU CAN’T BECAUSE YOUR ARE A WOMAN”. Woman is a gender not a disability or deficiency. Be brave. Be courageous. You are beautiful.
Hello! It is that time of year again. A huge influx of sugar has come upon us. There are sweets continuously coming in at work, schools, parties, and even within your home. The question lies in not whether or not to partake, because we all know we will be partaking in these delicious sweets, but rather being disciplined in when and how much you eat.
Note: Obviously I would recommend limiting sugar as much as possible! We don’t NEED sugar and we all know it isn’t good for our bodies, BUT if you must partake here is what I recommend.
Here are some quick tips for limiting sugar during this season.
1) Set a goal for yourself as far as how many sweets per week you will be consuming
I see most people eating sweets as if they will never see them again. They continue to grab just one more bite in fear that the goodness will all be gone. Allowing yourself sweets is OK. Just put a cap on it. I find that I eat more sweets when they have been unavailable to me. Therefore I always keep a little stash in my pantry, fridge, or freezer for those times when you just need something sweet. This way I know that “X” number of days I can partake in sweets. Limit how many sweets you will be consuming on a weekly basis.
2) Don’t say no to all sweets it just won’t happen. Choose wisely.
Try to focus on enjoying your favorite desserts and not just anything that is laying about. There are always going to be sweets lying around this time of the year, but wouldn’t you rather have your favorite item than that two-day old brownie that has been sitting in your office kitchen? If you need to indulge do it right. You will end up eating less of the item because it will satisfy that craving. Do your best to avoid the every day sweets and hold off for the good stuff. You will feel less guilty in the end and will end up with less sugar in your system.
3) Avoid artificial sugars, diet drinks, and anything labeled lite/diet/fat-free
Just because something is “sugar free” or “fat free” doesn’t mean it is any bit healthier! Items like these have a dark side and are filled with unnecessary artificial ingredients and added carbohydrates and sweeteners to help them taste better than they actually do.
I always vote for real food and that includes desserts. Opting for real sugar, minimally processed flours, and real fats like coconut oil and butter should be your first choice. Obviously all is best in moderation, but by eating foods that contain real ingredients you will be satiated much quicker! This leads to eating less. Foods filled with empty calories such as refined white flour, vegetable oil, and artificial sweeteners will leave you unsatisfied. Just think about those 100 calorie granola bars…one is just not enough. However eating an apple with 2 TBS of peanut butter will have you filled and ready for the next task with the same amount of calories!
4) Fill up on good food first!
Before you head off to the next party, event, or even work, grab a good healthy meal or snack. Filling up on real food will help keep those cravings at bay. Focus on vegetables cooked in a good fat like butter, olive oil, or coconut oil and seasoned well. Then grab a protein source. Once your tummy is filled head off to your event. Knowing that you have had a meal will help your mind keep those cravings at bay. It is just like the idea of never going grocery shopping when you are hungry. You will pick up items more strategically when your body has what it needs.
I hope these tips were helpful for you! Enjoy the holidays and enjoy your desserts.
For some yummy desserts click here
Building a Thanksgiving Dinner can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of planning you can have great success. Here are 5 tips to build an unbelievable Thanksgiving Dinner.
Thanksgiving protein is typically turkey, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a protein that you will enjoy. This could be ham, whole chicken, steak, deer, lamb, etc… The biggest thing to remember is to have a lot of it and to cook it appropriately. Here are links to some great recipes.
Basic Turkey: Click here
Ham: Click Here
Whole Chicken: Click Here
Steak: Click Here
Deer: Click Here
Lamb: Click Here
When we think of Thanksgiving we typically think of a big plate full of a variety of foods. You want all of these foods to blend together. When choosing side dishes keep in mind the seasonings you are using in each dish and whether or not you would mind them melding together on your plate.
Side dishes typically include stuffing, sweet potato casserole/mashed potatoes, casseroles, rolls, etc…When choosing your side dishes be sure to try them before the big day. If you have never made them before cook them now to test it out. Thanksgiving isn’t the time to go all out on new dishes. If you have a new dish you think would work great be sure to prepare it at least once prior.
Pick side dishes that are your favorites. Don’t go crazy outside of the box, but stick with the classics that you love! Try to make sure each item you make you will want seconds of. We all know that there will be left overs so pick items that you will be happy to reheat and eat again.
Don’t skip the veggies! Even if you aren’t a huge veggie fan, veggies help even out your plate. Try making vegetable dishes that have lots of flavor. Some of our favorites are stir fried or baked green beans with loves of butter, sliced almonds, and bacon. OR if you are a fan of brussel sprouts check out this recipe *Click here*.
Having a crunchy cooked or fresh vegetable can help diversify your plate by giving it a little bit more texture.
The week before Thanksgiving plan out your menu. Then create a shopping list. A great place to do this is PlantoEat.com *click here*. You can upload recipes and it will build your shopping list for you! That way you don’t forget anything.
Begin prepping 2 days in advanced. Cook as much as you can the day before. This will help ease stress. Cooking most of your side dishes the day before leaves you to just reheat the day of. This means that you can really focus on the protein the day of.
Relax!! After you follow the tips above and plan out what foods you desire, remember that Thanksgiving is about being together! It is about family and friends and being thankful for all that you have. A delicious plate of food is just a perk. If the meal is stressing you out as for assistance and/or don’t feel bad about skipping out on certain dishes or needing to purchase pre-made meals. Places like Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s, and Sams/Costco have great options that can ease your meal prep time!
I hope these tips were helpful! Enjoy!
Oh Lord, Brussel Sprouts! Yes, I am going to show you a recipe that will turn you into a lover of brussel sprouts! Vegetables are all about how you prepare them. No offense to my mother, but I grew up with a lot of steamed and mushy vegetables. While my mother was doing her best, she was also stuck in the trend that said steaming is the only way to eat vegetables. Needless to say, I didn’t grow up loving my veggies. I have always been a picky eater and it wasn’t until college that I really started to try new foods.
Brussel Sprouts were one vegetable that I was convinced I hated. Seriously, until last year I had never even tried them. How sad! The first time I tried them was at Thanksgiving. I watched as my brother made them and while he sprinkled bacon and breadcrumbs over top I knew it was time to give the veggie a chance. Thank God I did! I have been making them this way for a couple weeks now and can’t get enough. Are you ready to learn how???
Cut the sprouts in halt length wise and steam for 8-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Place brussel sprouts on the pan and lightly sprinkle breadcrumbs, salt, and garlic. Chop Bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the sprouts. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the shredded carrots 5 minutes before done.
Feel free to add other veggies to the mix like asparagus and green beans!
Hello! I have been craving carrot cake for about a week now and decided to just go for it. I looked at a couple different gluten free recipes and decided to just wing it the rest of the way. This is paired perfectly with cream cheese icing. I unfortunately didn’t have enough cream cheese to do this part, but feel free to make some. The extra ingredients/directions are listed below the recipe.
Hope you enjoy this carrot cake! It took no time at all to prep and is moist, spongy, and delicious!
Cream cheese icing:
While cake or muffins are cooling place butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
Hello! If there is one thing I love during the fall/winter season it is chili! Nothing beats a hot bowl of chili with a slice of sour dough bread.
Today I wanted to bring you a basic chili recipe. This is quick and easy and can always be adjusted based on your desires. To see the winning chili Jay and I made click here!
This recipe does use canned food. You can always adjust this with fresh ingredients!
In a large pot add 2 TBS olive oil and diced onions. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until onions become translucent. Then add garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
Once onions and garlic are beginning to cook down add in your pork and ground beef. Cook until the meat is mostly cooked. A little pink is fine.
When meat is almost done add in kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Turn the temperature to low and leave for 30-45 minutes.
Optional: when your meat is done cooking, add protein and the rest of the ingredients into a crock pot and turn on low for a couple of hours. Chili is best when it has time to sit.
Serve hot with some great bread or a salad.
I’m sorry I have not placed you as a priority in the recent weeks/months. The reality is, I can hardly keep myself as a priority at this time. Everything in my life changed the day I found out I was expecting my first child and I have been fighting to figure out how to balance it all ever since.
Please forgive me for not being as good of a friend to you during this time. You deserve the world and I would love nothing more than to run around town shopping and laughing with you, however most days the very thought of leaving the house sounds like running a marathon…and we all know I don’t run.
Friend, my body doesn’t feel good and it seems as though once one exhausting pregnancy symptom subsides another pops right up. My dishes are piling up, e-mails have not been checked, and I am doing my best just to shower daily. I hate that I can’t be there for you and it breaks my heart to miss important events in your life. Please know that even though I am not with you, I still think of you often and long for the days when we can watch a movie and eat pints of ice-cream (Hope you don’t mind a baby in the background of that).
I guess my main point is that I’m not sure how to manage myself during this season of life and unfortunately we both know even more will change once the baby comes. So remember dear friend you have not been forgotten. I may not ask for updates as often as I used to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t really want to hear them. Changes are happening everyday for the both of us so please keep me updated with everything going on, big or small. I want to know about it all! I may not be able to physically jump up and down with you, but rest assure I am excited for you and will always be praying for you and all your future endeavors.
I love you friend. Thank you for your understanding during this time.