Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mmmm...Sweet Potatoes!




Sweet potatoes are not only delicious, they are so good for you!  Did you know that the sweet potato can be considered a super food?  According to Dr. Greger, sweet potatoes are a huge nutritional bang for your buck.  Sweet potatoes are the highest nutrient-rich food per dollar.

Eighty percent of the protein found in the sweet potato is a unique protein that may have anti-cancer effects.  Read more about the cancer-fighting effects here.

As a busy mom who never really knows when her husband will be home for dinner, the sweet potato has long been in my weekly rotation.  How come?  I let the slow cooker do my cooking!  All moms know that the dinner-prep hour is the witching hour.  Kids are hangry, homework is getting worked on, the baby is crying and needs to be in bed already, and us, moms, are just trying to put food on the table.  But, hallelujah, once a week, my dinner prep has been made easier because of the mighty sweet potato!

The slow cooker does this amazing thing while it cooks the sweet potatoes.  The potato's flesh becomes so rich and creamy.  The flavor is sweeter and more intense.  If you are cooking the typical sweet potato, the orange flesh will be a brilliant orange.  I also like Hannah sweet potatoes in the crock pot.  If you put a bit of brown sugar on it, it has the familiar taste of a sugar cookie.  But you by no means have to add sugar to these babies.  They are so good, my second grader has declared them her favorite vegetable.


To achieve this sweet goodness, simply wash off your sweet potatoes and place in the slow cooker.  No need to pierce with a fork or wrap in foil.  Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  I love that there is a warming feature to keep them ready for you until your husband comes home.  This style of cooking makes the skin soft, so if you are wanting the crispy outsides, this will not do that for you. 

To finish them off, I simply cut them open and butter them up (I like Earth Balance's Coconut Spread) and sprinkle some cinnamon on them.  I've recently stopped adding sugar, but a bit of brown sugar is yummy too.  




Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Oils - This Is Awesome!

First of all, I want to say, THANK YOU!  I wasn't sure what kind of feedback I would receive from yesterday's post and I actually lost sleep over it the night before.  The last thing I want to do is to act like I have got it all together and you should learn from me!  I hardly ever create my own recipe, but I'd love to share some of my this is awesome moments with you!

This morning I woke up learning that I had a new Young Living customer sign up.  As I was writing a follow-up email, I had the realization about how wonderful these oils have been in my life!  Life-changing in some ways.  I want to share with you about some of my favorite oils on the blog, but please don't take this as a sales pitch.  I'm just sharing my this is awesome moment with you.

***This will be my only time to nudge you to sign up!  The rest of the posts will be more testimonial.***

But, with that being said, I HAVE to tell you that if you have been on the fence about whether to try out the oils, this would be a fantastic month to start!  The Premium Starter Kit is 10% off this month! This type of sale does not happen often.  Once you purchase the Premium Starter Kit, you become a wholesale member and get 24% of the retail price.


I was awakened in the wee hours this morning by my oldest daughter.  She wasn't feeling well.  It is such a good feeling to care for her at the most unexpected time.  I used two of the oils that come in the Premium Starter Kit.  She was able to go back to sleep and is at school today.  Crossing my fingers that she can pull a full day.




The Premium Starter Kit is quite a deal because you get a diffuser with it.  The diffuser alone retails at $83.  I love my diffuser!  You also get 11 oils, samples, catalog, product information, and Ningxia Red.

If you are interested in joining, but are timid because of the price, Valentine's Day is coming up!  Perhaps it will make a great gift!  How romantic, right?  Well, it might actually be!



That is all I will say, since my mom reads this blog!  

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Guiltless Sweet Treat

Let's talk about sugar, shall we?  It's a big problem in America.  We're addicted to it and it is hard to get away from it.  Drinking cokes has to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, source of sugar for the majority of Americans.  But even if you have given up the sodas, you are still being toyed with by the food companies.  Did you know that there is this sweet spot (pun fully intended) called Bliss Point.  When producing food, the company will create a formula called the Bliss Point to find out just how much sugar they can add before it is too sweet and you don't like it.  The same goes for salt too.  Since sugar has been reported as addictive (maybe even to the extent as cocaine), this has you coming back for more and more of their product.  You probably are already aware that sugar isn't the best thing for you, but you might need a push to cut back or eliminate it from your diet.

Michael decided in November (before Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and Valentines Day...the man is either really smart or really foolish) to completely eliminate any added sugar from his diet.  At the beginning of his new lifestyle, we watched on Netflix, That Sugar Film.  I highly recommend watching that film to get a kick in the pants to at least pay attention to what you are consuming.

I know, I know.  You love chocolate.  I am going to share something with you that is chocolate and has no added sugar!  If you have been eating a lot of sugar, it may not be very sweet to you, but it is sweet enough for my kids to beg for it!  It is raw, vegan, and extremely good for you.

The recipe maker, Chocolate Covered Katie, calls them Fudge Babies.  We just call them date balls around my house.  I adapted the recipe to use cashews instead of walnuts, but walnuts are even better for you.  We only have cashews and it works well.  If you haven't looked through Katie's recipes before, you really should browse around.  She's great.  Below the recipe, I will write a little about why this treat is soooo good for you.

What you will need:



  • 1 cup of cashews (or nut of your choice)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups of pitted dates (I think adding 1 or 2 dates to this measurement might be best)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder 
  • 1/8 plus 1/16 tsp salt (optional)
None of my foods have added sugar.  You may want to check your ingredients to be sure.

I used medjool dates with pits.  They don't dry out as quickly if they still contain the pits.  If you haven't pitted a date before, it's easy.  The way I do it, and there may be a better way, is to slice lengthwise and pop that pit right out.



Measure out your ingredients and place everything in your food processor.  



Blend it until the ingredients are fine and well mixed.  I've had it come out like this, pretty grainy, and I've added too many dates before and it came out very sticky.  Both will work and it will taste yummy.  You just have to work a bit more to form balls when it is grainy, but the dates will be sticky enough to form balls when enough pressure is applied.


Form into little balls and chill in the fridge if you can stand it.  Everyone in my family (beside Audrey, my non-nut eater) starts eating them before I even finish rolling them.  I personally think that the flavors really come together after chilling them.  



Now let's talk about how good these bites of goodness are for you!  Dates are a whole food.  Yes, they are mostly sugar, but the fiber and perhaps other nutrients balance it all out.  Dr. Michael Gregor at NutritionFacts.org even goes so far to report that dates are perhaps an ideal food based on a study done in Israel!  Watch his video here.  

Also, Dr. Gregor reports that cashews help suppress cancer cells.  If you have walnuts like Katie's original recipe included, use those, because walnuts REALLY suppress cancer cells.  His article can be found here.  If you haven't heard of Dr. Gregor, go to his website now!  He gathers all of the science and gives you the information in a short and often entertaining way.

Enjoy your guiltless sweet treat!

Friday, January 29, 2016

How I Became Passionate About Oils and Health


  After my second child was born, I was struck down hard by a rare autoimmune disease.  In the weeks after she was born, I was going through the hardest days of my life.  I was in great suffering, my husband felt helpless, and the doctors were dumbfounded by my symptoms.  Going through something like this does not leave you unchanged.  The truth of the Bible was shown again as I came out the on other side with more hope than ever before.  Hope found in how to properly care for my soul-house (my body), hope in growing my family, and my hope in the promises of Christ.

  Going through such suffering made me question the rebellion of my body.  I truly thought I had been participating in healthy behavior.  The problem is that we, as a nation, are just now beginning to see how unhealthy the typical diet and treatment of illnesses are.  I truly believe I wasn't providing my body with the proper nutrition and when I got sick, I took whatever pill or cream or shot I could to "fix" me.  It took awhile to figure out which drug would do that fixing and the side effects of those drugs were really bad.  

  After going down the typical road of getting sick and reaching for a drug, I got to evaluating WHY I became ill in the first place.  Now I seek foods that are loaded with nutrients and seek non-drug options first for when we get sick.  It's become a passion.

  People like to poke fun of oils and foodies.  I understand that it appears to be such a hippy or yuppy thing.  The reality is, I got to this place because of suffering, not by trying to be better than others.  I hear the jokes and I read the comments that slam the things I'm passionate about.  It doesn't upset me.  These people are walking down a different path and haven't suffered what I have suffered.  Isn't that how passion forms?  When you are desperate to be saved from something?

  I will be posting about some of my favorite foods and oils.  I wanted to share why I am passionate about it.  It will be so wonderful if I can help bring someone else out of suffering and into new hope.

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Heart NY

I'm in love.  I think about it all of the time.  I stare at pictures and escape into daydreams.

New York City, I love you!

Michael took me to NYC for our 10th wedding anniversary.  The city has been on my bucket list for, oh I don't know, ALL MY LIFE!  She did not disappoint.

Do you know what best prepped me best for NYC?  You'll never guess.  It was the cartoon, Curious George.  I think I looked at Michael each hour and said, "Just like on George!"

I think what made this trip so wonderful, besides how great the city is, was not having to stress about my kids.  Undoubtedly, I love my girls, but not having a mental checklist going through my mind all day and night was incredibly freeing!

Michael and I did Uber for the first time and loved it.  There is no way I could EVER drive in this city.  The only reason I wouldn't raise a family in NYC is because these drivers zoom by baby strollers with just inches to spare.  My goodness, it is crazy!

While we were there, we took in Times Square, Jersey Boys, a Yankee game, 9/11 Memorial, the Met, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, a Chris Tomlin concert at Madison Square Garden, and some the best food ever.

 Outside the Met

 Playing music in Central Park

 Loved watching families drive these little sailboats around in Central Park

Central Park

 Rockefeller Center

 Time Square

 Amazing Broadway Show


9/11 Memorial.

 9/11 Memorial.  A white rose is placed with the name of the lost on their birthday.

The 9/11 Memorial building.

More 9/11 Memorial

On the ferry to the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Yankee Game!

YMCA

Empire State Building

Madison Square Garden praising God at the National Night of Worship



Thursday, October 01, 2015

Recap of Summer!

Today is the first day of the beautiful month of October!  What if we could always live in October days?  For me, October is a small glimpse into heaven.  But before I fully embrace all things pumpkin and cool crisp air, I MUST recap our summer before I forget!

Well, I last told you about Nadia turning two and her starting to walk.  She is a brand new girl now!  She is little miss independent and a little miss sassy-pants too!  She has fully encompassed all that it means to be a two year old.  I am so thankful that she seems like a normal kid now and is not so far behind.  She is forever a reminder of how fortunate I am to have healthy children.


Audrey ended first grade with style!  She rocked the awards ceremony, even receiving the top award, the Ambassador award.  She truly is an ambassador for Christ.  She makes us so proud and I pray that she always shines His light.  She then proceeded to break her arm rollerblading at the very beginning of summer.  She was a champ and stayed positive through it all.




Julia began Kindergarten in August.  She is already a social bug and has kids calling out her name and waving to her wherever she goes.  That girl is so funny and I think others are seeing how entertaining she is.  Her teacher is the best (like, seriously!) and has done well with moving Julia past her fears.  I am so proud of her for being brave.


We went out to Glenrose to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  We got to see and feed some awesome animals.  We all loved this little excursion and I highly recommend going!






We also went to see our friends, the Potthoffs, in Houston, for the Fourth of July.  We went to Moody Gardens in Galveston one day while we were there.  It is always a good time with them.




Michael and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and took a trip to New York City!  I'll dedicate that trip in its own post.  My most favorite trip ever!




Saturday, May 02, 2015

Making A Way

  During the past couple of years, my favorite Bible story has been God parting the Red Sea.  Here's why.  The Israelites were out of options.  Their situation was impossible.  There was nothing they could do.
  I don't know why people have such short memories.  It seems like it would be easy for the Israelites to remember God's faithfulness.  They had seen the plagues.  They had seen their sons spared and passed over.  They had been delivered from the Egyptians.  They were following a pillar of smoke during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
  It is easy for us to forget God's faithfulness to us in times of desperation.  Satan puts thoughts into our head that are lies and that are toxic.  We begin to believe that God isn't sovereign in all things.  We must take captive of our thoughts and rid ourselves of the lies.  We need to trust God to do miracles in our lives.  We may miss the miracle of our troubles being pushed to the sides so that we may enter freedom.
  My impossible situation was having a third child without having my autoimmune disease come back.  The percentage of reoccurrence I was given at the time was 96%.  It would also come on more quickly in the pregnancy.  I had blood work done by a doctor who considers himself a top expert of the disease.  He guaranteed I would get it back if I got pregnant anytime soon.  I was pregnant with Nadia a few months later and, praise God, I was free from my disease.  God had made a way for me.  I had to lean on His faithfulness when a way was created (low dose naltrexone) and trust that He is sovereign.  I believe that there is power in sharing your testimony and this is mine.
  What is your impossible situation?  Where are you out of options?  Is your hope beginning to slip away?  Please remember how God has been faithful to you in the past and hold on tight to that memory.  Remember that He is sovereign in ALL things.  Prepare yourself to take action when God makes a way.
  I love the song "Make a Way" by Desperation Band.  In it, they sing about God making a way for us to be saved by offering Jesus as the sacrifice.  But in every trial, our hope should be in Jesus.  My favorite lines are: Where there is no way You make a way.  Where no one can reach us, You find us.
God seeks us out, even when we have closed out the world around us.  My prayer is that in our most desperate times, we will step into the gracious way of freedom that is provided by God.  Allow the miraculous to happen.