Chickpea Potato Curry Stew

I had potatoes that needed used up and I wanted curry. With no real recipe at hand, I diced up left over veggies from the week, opened a can of chickpeas, dug out my curry seasoning, and hoped for the best. And you know what? It turned out to be something fabulous that I have already made again! The best part is, once everything is diced up, it is an easy one pot meal.

This is packed with fresh, colorful veggies and is full of healthy fiber. Fragrant curry spice is also super warming for cold winter months. Perhaps best of all, though, is that it reheats spectacularly and is perfect for lunch the next day (or three, if you’re me).

dish4servingsthaicurry (1) Continue reading “Chickpea Potato Curry Stew”

Strawbango Protein Shake

 This morning I woke up to snow…everywhere. And still falling. Chicagoland will be upgraded to a “blizzard” in just a few hours. Yikes! Naturally, I wanted to imagine myself somewhere tropical. So I made a tropical tasting protein shake and it was delicious! I used the protein powder I had on hand (Tera’s Whey) along with strawberries, banana and my favorite Trader Joe’s Vanilla Coconut milk. I added in some chia seeds for some extra omega-3s and boom – a tropical vacation in a glass.

 strawbango

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Giving Up The Scale

Our church has encouraged us to participate in Lent this year. Growing up we didn’t do Lent, I pretty much thought got it was just a Catholic thing (and I’m not Catholic) so why would I? But throughout the years I have gained more understanding into Lent. I am not a pastor nor do not have religious training, but for me Lent is the opportunity to give up something that has taken time away from God or something that will require more effort. It is a period to focus on growing closer to God through giving this ‘thing’ or item up and focusing more on what He wants in my life.

A lot of people give up different foods that probably aren’t doing great things for their body. Others give up social media, which I did last year in a way. I gave up Facebook during my kids waking hours, from 8am to 8pm. There are truly tons of things you can give up.

Endurance

This year seemed hard for me. I thought about giving up sweets, but I truly wanted to do something that I felt would take a lot of prayer to get myself through. So, I am giving up my bathroom scale. To many this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. But for me it is!

Continue reading “Giving Up The Scale”

Memories and Tears

This is a guest post from Brittany. She is an elementary teacher in the Indianapolis area who has a HUGE heart for Kenya.

I close my eyes tonight and I let the memories wash over me. I haven’t allowed myself to do this in so long. I’ve locked the memories up and tucked them away in a safe place. They try to creep out from time to time. It usually hits me when I least expect it. Something will trigger my memories. Tonight it was something as simple as the song “Ring Around the Rosie.” Suddenly I am there again. Holding the hands of little children, hearing their voices sing the song, and seeing the joy and laughter on their faces. It brings a smile to my face and a pain to my heart. I long to be there again. To hold those little hands. To hear their joyful voices. To see the laughter in their eyes. 
So tonight, instead of pushing this memory back into the recesses of my mind, I let it come forward and I let the rest of the memories come. The faces, the sights, the smells, the noises, they all come flooding back. For a moment I feel like I’m there again, until I open my eyes again and reality welcomes me back like a cold splash of water in the face. I’m not there anymore. It’s six months since we returned and those memories seem as far away as the distance from Indiana to Kenya.

BrittanyKenya

 

In six months, I haven’t allowed myself to dwell on the memories of my trip too often. I haven’t allowed myself the time to sit and process and write about my trip. Case in point, I wrote that first paragraph for this blog weeks ago and have avoided finishing it ever since.

Continue reading “Memories and Tears”

Healthy Corn-Free Nachos

When I found out I was allergic to corn, nachos are one of the things I had to let go. Last week, I decided it was time to work on a new version. I also received a gift at Christmas from my sister of Fresco Spice Blends, so I tried out the Sweet Red Bell Pepper and Garlic Spice Blend and it turned out delicious!

spicesseasoning

To recreate my creation, start with placing olive oil over the bottom a skillet and placing the chicken in it. Then coat the top of each piece of chicken with a mix of the fresco blend, ground cumin, and a dash of red cayenne pepper. Flip the chicken to the other side and spice up that side with the same combination.

chickensimmer

While the chicken finishes cooking, spray a cookie sheet then place a bag of veggie chips (I used Trader Joe’s) on a cookie sheet and dice up vegetables. Once chicken is done, add zucchini and onions and saute for five minutes.

foodprephealthynachos

Upon completion, place the chicken and veggies that have sautéed on top of the chips.  Add other veggies, if desired. Optional, top veggies with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 350° F. For serving, I had peach salsa and guacamole. It was scrumptious!

healthynachos

Healthy Corn-Free Nachos
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Gluten-free, corn-free chips of your choosing (I like <a href=”http://www.terrachips.com/”Terra Chips</a>)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Fresco Spice Blends Sweet Red Bell Pepper and Garlic Blend
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Guacamole, as desired
  • Salsa, as desired
  • Colby Jack Cheese, as desired
  • Sour cream, as desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the veggie chips on the paper and spread them out like you would nachos. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into cubes or strips. Season with Fresco Spice Blend, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat a glug of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Return the sauce pan to the stove and add another splash of oil. Add onion, peppers and zucchini. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  5. Turn of the stove and transfer the sauteed vegetables to the bowl with the chicken.
  6. Once the oven is preheated, top the veggies chips with the chicken and veggie mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. If desired, turn on the broiler.
  7. Transfer the chips, once they’re ready, to a big plate. Serve with guacamole, salsa, additional cheese and/or sour cream, as desired.
  8. Share and enjoy!

Make-up: It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3

I will be the first to tell you that I really enjoy women who wear make-up that enhances (not takes away!) from their already stunning features. Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at make- up brands and artists on Instagram (such as @motivescosmetics and @_bylabella) but most of those looks are for show and not the average woman.

Make-up shouldn’t be a chore or something you should dread in the morning. A few good products and an easy routine can go a long way to making your beauty routine seamless and perhaps even enjoyable. Essentially, I am that girl who would rather sleep than primp. Ironic, don’t you think (let’s be honest, we could all use a little more sleep these days)? I have learned the few key shortcuts can fool anyone into thinking I spent hours on this beautiful face of mine. Want to know a secret? It really is simple! Continue reading “Make-up: It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3”

Berrylicious Protein Shake

I was at Trader Joe’s this weekend and there was a large container on blueberries on sale. With the frigid weather outside, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to have a taste of summer…if only for a few minutes in the morning. This shake is so fresh and yummy. Packed full of nutrients, proteins, and antioxidants to help start your day off right!
berryliciousproteinshake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 4 medium frozen strawberries
  • 6 oz milk of your choice (I used Vanilla Coconut)
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder (I used Tera’s whey)
  • 6 oz yogurt of your choice (I used greek)

Continue reading “Berrylicious Protein Shake”

Running and Learning: Half Marathon Progress Update

At the end of August I did something crazy: I signed up for a half marathon. Why is this so crazy? Well, because it’s 13.1 miles. That’s a long way and I hate running. No, seriously, I hate it. Even more than five months into training later, I hate still it. I’m still only able to run a little over a mile before I need to walk for a minute.

image1 (1)This training has taught me a lot, though. I’ve learned more about myself and my physical capabilities than I ever before. I’ve learned time and time again that my body is strong. It’s stronger than I knew. My original goal was just to finish the half marathon. Now, I can maintain a pace and set a time goal. Continue reading “Running and Learning: Half Marathon Progress Update”

Let’s Be Free

Money, money, money.

We need it to survive. Everyone always wants more of it. As many lives are destroyed by it as those that are saved. It is the root of all kinds of evil and yet, can do enormous amounts of good too. We try to control it and yet, all too often it ends up controlling us no matter how little or much we have. We love it and we hate it.

So what does a healthy relationship with money look like? Cutting up credit cards, budgeting and getting rid of debt are great places to start. But I think those only get rid of the symptoms. They don’t cure the heart.

My parents are a great example of this. They are absolutely exemplary with their finances. My mother is an accountant, how could she not be? They’ve always bought used cars paid in cash, paid off their mortgage in less than half the time, and even stopped using ATMs because they weren’t able to track their spending as well. They gave faithfully to our church and lived well within their means. Because of this I have always been very conscious of the value and power of money.

Source
Source

My favorite story is that of my freshman year of college. My parents managed to pay my full year of college tuition and my sister’s full year of private high school education without having to use their savings. How crazy is that? To say my mother was frugal would be an understatement.

Despite their best efforts though, they’ve still lost money on bad investments, had to sell a house and buy a condo in the economic downturn and I’m sure other things I have been sheltered from knowing. My mother, in particular, can be incredibly hard on herself for these things, because you see, even though she followed all the rules money still controlled her. She was enslaved to it despite her best efforts to master it. Her heart hadn’t changed and she definitely wasn’t free.

But recently I’ve noticed in her comments a change of tone. She’s learning to see how her treatment of money was only a symptom of her need to control. She’s learning to let go.

I use her as an example because she is the exact opposite of most Americans financially. Her contrast shows the root of the issue instead of just the symptoms. Yes, our society is based on consumerism and many Americans live with out-of-control debt. Yes, people often don’t know how to handle their money and live within their means. But I think even those who do control it and handle it well need to acknowledge the obsession we make of it here in America. We can teach how to budget and pay off debt, but we don’t know how to teach contentment despite all of our abundance. And we definitely don’t know how to live free of money’s control.

We are in bondage to our cash. I’ve seen this most clearly when I’ve travelled to places like China and Uganda. They live with so much less and yet are so much more content. Our love of money breeds discontent, strife, competition, and greed. Until we address the complex relationships we have with our money whether we have a lot or a little, we will never be free. We must realize whether we ignore our finances irresponsibly or control them down to the last penny, that cash is but a means to an end. It cannot cure-all our ills, save us from death, or make us happy. It can only pay the bills. But pay the bills we must.

So the next time you’re bemoaning your budget, contemplating a spending spree, planning your retirement fund or struggling to pay off a loan, ask yourself what am I trying to accomplish in this? What’s my motivation? Address the fears or discontent. Acknowledge the unknowns. Put money in its place! Let go of the obsession and break those bonds of slavery. Let’s be free.

Lime Chicken Avocado Soup

I wanted to change-up flavors a bit, so I tried out this soup. If you are like me, anything that has avocado sounds delicious. To start off, the night before, dice up the veggies and put them in a container with the two limes cut into quarters with the juice squeezed out. Combine the spices with this mix to marinate overnight in the fridge.

choppedvegetablesfoodprep

Using a slow cooker, take out the limes and place the chicken in the slow cooker first. Then layer in the veggies and black beans. Lastly, pour all of the chicken broth into the mix.

crockpotsoup

Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove the chicken, shred, and take a taste of the soup to taste if any additional spices are needed. At serving,  garnish each serving with avocado. I served mine with a lime wedge as well, so each person could choose their lime flavoring and sweet potato chips. Continue reading “Lime Chicken Avocado Soup”

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