Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meal Plan, Blake Shelton & Courageous

I'm kind of in a blogging funk.  I just don't feel like I have much to talk about right at this moment in my life.  School's very busy in preparation for the FCAT, I'm busy with my own school and testing trying to finish the state's requirements for my permanent certificate and Jared and I are taking more time for each other.  Needless to say, this is on the back burner.  But it's still an outlet for me, so I won't let it fall by the wayside completely.

This week's meal plan is....
Monday: Blackened Trigger and steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Crockpot Taco Soup (Tuesdays are my long days so the crockpot is my best friend every Tuesday night)
Wednesday: Grilled pork chops and sauteed squash and tomatoes
Thursday: Summer Salmon (via EatClean) with steamed asparagus
Friday: Chicken Spaghetti

I know I always post what we eat for dinner and I've had a good bit of people ask me what I eat for breakfast and lunch.  Here are some of my favorite choices...

For breakfast (during the week) I'll either have:

1.  Kashi Go Lean cereal with fruit in it (Kashi also just came out with a Cinnamon Crumble cereal that is GREAT.  When eating cereal, just check the protein/fiber/sugar ratio.  You don't want a lot of sugar in your cereal and most of the are full of it.)

2.  Fat free plain greek yogurt with 2 tbsp milled flax seed, 2 tbsp wheat germ, 2 tbsp natural granola, chopped up fruit and drizzled with raw honey.  This is probably my favorite breakfast.  Super healthy, easy, and FULL of nutrients and protein.  It's the healthy version of a parfait.

3.  Scrambled egg whites with spinach, tomatoes, sea salt and pepper and maybe a little sprinkle of shredded low fat cheese if I'm in the mood.

All of these options take 5 minutes or less to make each morning.

For lunch, it varies.  Sometimes I'll get lucky and have leftovers, but my favorite choices are:

1.  Homemade salad with some type of meat for protein

2.  Chicken wrap - For this chicken wrap, I buy two boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Cut off excess fat, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Once it's cooled off, I chop it up and put it in a container in the fridge so I have easy access all week.  I use Flat Out Multi-Grain with Flax wraps for my sandwiches.  This has been one of my greatest finds all thanks to Renee aka Mammy Nae.  Thank you, Mammy!  The only place I have been able to find this particular type of wrap is Publix.  Every grocery store carries the Flat Out brand, but not the Multi-Grain with Flax.  It's full of protein and fiber and has only 1 gram of sugar.  I load it with spinach, chopped tomatoes and my baked chicken and top it with mustard, roll it all up and it keeps great it in the fridge overnight so all I have to do in the morning is grab it and go.  The chicken meat is enough to last me all week.  If I get tired of this, it's easy to just make a chicken salad instead.

Hope that helps some of you out!  It's not hard to do any of this, it just takes a little preparation.  As a matter of fact, my chicken just came out of the oven.

This weekend, the hubs and I had a great date night Saturday night.  He bought me Blake Shelton tickets for Christmas and the concert was last night.  I love me some country music.  We had a lot of fun, but I'm not used to staying up that late.  I'm such an old soul.  We managed to take one picture - hooray for at least a picture!


We stayed in Friday night (shocker!) and finally watched Courageous.  Every time I say "courageous" I start singing Casting Crown's song in my head.  Speaking of which, we are going to see them too in about a month.  SO EXCITED.  If you have not seen this movie though, you need to rent it or buy it.  It was great.  I was actually surprised at how good it was.  It's one of the best movies I have seen.  Have tissues handy because I'm pretty sure I cried for like 30 minutes.  And don't be put off if you're not a parent - it's a must see for anyone.

Have a wonderful week!  XO

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm linking up with Jamie's blog for WILW.  I haven't done one of these in awhile & figured I'd count my, what I'm loving...

NUMERO UNO - A clean bill of health after a little scare recently.  PTL!

My class.  We did a "buddy read" today and they read stories to a kindergarten class.  I was so amazed at how kind they were with the kids and how much they LOVED it.  Before we left to go read, they were complaining that they didn't want to do it.  After we got back, they asked if we could do that everyday - haha!  I took a few pictures to capture the sweetness :)

I love those kids.

I am loving my sweet husband for his unwavering support and encouragement.  He is truly a gift.

This cute spring outfit.  I love floral prints.

Another spring outfit - coral and teal are two of my favorite colors.


Frozen yogurt - I am an ice cream feen.  I'll eat it everyday if I can.  But then I'll feel guilty.  Luckily, there's frozen yogurt so I don't have to feel as guilty about eating it.  And even better, we have two shops minutes from our house.  I will tell you, we have been to Sweet Frog 4 times in the last 10 days.  Poor Jared.

*mine is the one that looks like a 5 year old's.

And lastly, my new B&N purchases - a prayer journal, Radical, and The Confident Woman.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


This weekend was everything I hoped it would be.  I feel so rejuvenated and refreshed.

Since I had Monday off this week, I was able to get the whole house cleaned and didn't have to worry about that this weekend.  Friday night we did absolutely nothing and it was WONDERFUL.  I love being able to stay home and relax.  That doesn't happen too often because I tend to stay pretty busy, but there's not much that beats being in your sweatpants lounging on the couch.

Saturday was relaxing as well - got my grocery shopping done and we attended a marriage seminar Saturday night that our church hosted.  I had really been looking forward to this for awhile and it did not disappoint.  It was called "Love Worth Fighting For" put on by Warren Barfield and Kirk Cameron.  Jared has NOT stopped singing the Growing Pains theme song since last night, by the way.  But this seminar was so very good.  Kirk Cameron is a phenomenal speaker and if you ever have the chance, GO SEE HIM.  I wish every married couple I know could have been there.  Plus Warren was quite entertaining.  My cheeks hurt from laughing so hard at him, but he was so real and his story gripped my heart.  These were just two genuine men preaching the Word like it is, no sugarcoating.  I appreciate that so much.  Throughout the seminar, Kirk had 3 main points he shared on how to fireproof your marriage and I just wanted to quickly list them.  I won't go into the details because he is the professional, but everyone can benefit from just reading these words.

1.  The heart of the problem (in a marriage) is the problem of the heart.
2.  There's only one person on this Earth you can change and that is yourself.
3.  Have a "war strategy" in place to deal with sin.

It was a great way to spend our Saturday night and I'm thankful for the friends we were there with.  But I am most thankful for the amazing husband God blessed me with sitting beside me.  I know that I never have to worry about us not fighting for our marriage.  He is just as committed as me.  I'm thankful for the time we've spent to strengthen and work on our marriage and I pray that we will continue to do that always.

Today in church was quite gripping too.  Our Sunday school teachers have been sharing their testimonies with us and it is so inspiring.  To see what they've had to walk through in this world gives me hope and makes me want to pray for them even more than I already do.  I am so thankful for our leaders.  They have truly been such a blessing in our lives.  Today's sermon was also outstanding.  It always is, but you know...sometimes you just have those days where you know God is talking directly to you.  I needed a burden placed on my heart for something I've been too complacent with in my life for too long.  And tonight's  Sobering.  That is the word I think best describes how it made me feel.  Mrs. Liz talked with the women about the difference in "believers" versus being Godly.  She discussed attitude, authority and apparel.  I have seriously been working on myself in the past year to right my wrongs and live for Jesus.  It's not easy to stand up and be different than the world, but through God's grace and guidance, He is helping me do that one step at a time.  I'm just not good enough to ever do it on my own.  I feel like I have the point of authority down.  I REALLY needed God this past year for that.  Now attitude - I make a conscious effort to do as Paul directs in Philippians 2:5 "Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus".  I know we are to have His attitude of sacrificing humility and love for others.  And I can honestly say that I TRY to strive for this, but I do fall short.  Mrs. Liz bluntly (which I love) talked about even the things we watch on TV.  Now I'm not for all of the reality stuff, but I do need to make some changes.  On discussing apparel, she made the point of saying, "don't spend more time dressing the outside than you do the inside."  Oh yes...solid advice.  For me, a person who's always dealt with self-confidence issues on my appearance, I seriously needed to hear that tonight.  I feel like tonight was that extra push I needed to get past some things in my life.  I have got to stop being so concerned with my outward appearance.  I'm still so self-conscious of my bad skin and aspects of my body that aren't "ideal" in worldly standards.  But we all have scars.  And God made me in HIS image so how can I hate anything about myself?  He.Made.Me.  My husband loves the woman I am and that is the only thing that matters.  There is this song by Johnny Diaz that I just LOVE called More Beautiful You.  The chorus goes:

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don't buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Mmmm yes, his lyrics are so correct.  Watch and listen if you have a chance.

I'm ready to start my week off strong.  XO

Friday, January 20, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer & Ranch Dressing

It's starting to feel like I start off every post about Pinterest but I just love that website so much.  It is so inspiring and I've gotten the best ideas from there - from the kitchen, to cleaning tips, crafts to make, ideas to use in my classroom and outfits - it's never ending. 

I've been wanting to try these two homemade items out so I finally bought some mason jars and got to work...if you could call it work.  I made homemade french vanilla coffee creamer and homemade ranch dressing all via pinterest.  The total time it took to make these two items...maybe 5 minutes.  THAT simple.

Not only is it simple, but MUCH healthier than the stuff you buy in the store.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients of creamer or Ranch dressing (two of my favorite guilty pleasures)?  Like I tell my kids at school - if you can't pronounce it, you probably don't want to be putting that into your body.  They're FULL of preservatives and chemicals to make their shelf life never ending.  That is the one downfall of these two recipes coming up.  You need to use them and quickly.  They're only good for about 2 weeks since they both contain dairy products. 

Homemade French Vanilla Creamer 
(adapted from Mrs. Happy Homemaker)

-14 oz sweetened condensed milk
-14 oz skim milk (or milk/cream of your choice)
-2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar. (I used a quart, but a pint would work best for this amount, unless you double it)  Shake vigorously until well mixed.  Refrigerate and use daily. SO SIMPLE.

Homemade Ranch Dressing 
(adapted from Smells Like Home)

-3/4 cup mayonnaise (I used organic olive oil based mayo)
-3/4 cup sour cream
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-1/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup and I thought the consistency was perfect)
-1 small bunch of chives or 2 scallions, roughly chopped
-Small handful of parsley
-1 clove garlic
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender and blend until mixed well. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if needed. Store in a mason jar in the fridge.  Leftovers keep for around 2 weeks - check the expiration dates of your buttermilk & sour cream.

This ranch dressing tastes so good and fresh.  The coffee creamer tastes like a Starbucks frappuccino.  Why do I get so excited over recipes and food?  I don't know but I do.  It makes me feel good to make something I know others will enjoy.  Speaking of food...if you haven't tried organic milk, give it a shot.  My oldest brother and his wife convinced me to try it and I don't ever want to buy regular milk again.  The taste is so much different and better.  I can definitely justify the price difference.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend.  We're attending a marriage seminar put on by Kirk Cameron (yep, from growing pains) and I am SO excited.  I've heard he's a phenomenal speaker.  I can't wait to see what we'll get out of it. Be blessed!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meal Plan Monday & Family Meals

Good morning!  I am blogging from my couch this Monday morning.  I'd say that's a pretty good start to my week.  My meal plan for this week has a bit more significance after last night's women's Bible study.  It was on bringing the family back to the table.  I was absolutely floored at the statistical evidence showed to support the impact of family dinners.  I mean, I absolutely love having sit down meals and always have, but I had no idea it was making this big of an impact.  More than anything else, it has been shown time and time again that children who have sit down dinners (no matter the parents' marital status, religion, or any other demographics) are less likely to smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, participate in pre-marital sex, etc.  And even though I don't have any kids, it's still so important for me and my hubby to have that one-on-one time over a meal.  So much of Jesus' life revolved around food and meals so it makes sense for us to practice those same principles.

I've won half the battle of family meal time because I do plan ahead and have all of my groceries on hand.  That eliminates SO MUCH stress from my life.  I never have to worry about what I'll be making for breakfast, lunch or dinner because I already have it planned out.  That's a big reason I share this with others - I want to help all of you see just how easy it is to make a meal plan and stick to it.  Now as for the second half of this battle - actually sitting down at the table without ANY distractions - that's what we'll be working on in our household.  We used to sit together at the table and talk, but we got TV trays as a wedding gift and have lazily been using those almost every night to have dinner on the couch.  We've both been talking about how we feel like we haven't talked all night even though we've been sitting next to each other, and last night's message was exactly the push I needed to get us back on track.  We will be having dinner the cell phones or TV.  And I'm really excited.  With that said, here's this week's meal plan.

Monday: Flank steak and baked sweet potatoes
Tuesday: Sauteed shrimp and zucchini
Wednesday: BBQ pulled pork (from paleopot) with steamed broccoli
Thursday: Blackened snapper with steamed broccoli
Friday: Baked lemon chicken with steamed broccoli

**Fresh broccoli was on sale, so I stocked up.  I absolutely love it so I don't mind eating it three nights in a row.

In memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I'll end this post with a great quote from a very bold man...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What's On Our Plate, Pinspiration & God's Work

This is what happens when I fail to keep up with blogging - I have so much to put into one post.

First things first - God's work.  I have been so inspired by the Lord's work this week.  Last Saturday, I was really sour on some things after I read two articles in our local newspaper.  I won't go into great detail, but it was very apparent that there are so many lost souls in this world and it's being glorified to not have Jesus as your Savior.  It should be the opposite.  It's funny - as I've been reading my Bible during our church's Bible study of the New Testament, I keep coming to the conclusion that the people who walked the Earth 2000 years ago and the people who walk the Earth today are hardly any different.  Today, we just have more technology and fancier clothes.  But we're still as lost as ever and keep putting religion before Jesus.  2000 years ago, they were so worried about the status quo of their religion that they failed to recognize the Messiah when he stood before them.  When the scripture was fulfilled before their very eyes, they ignored it...and it's still happening today.  But this week, this video started popping up on my facebook newsfeed.  I reposted it Tuesday night and by Wednesday over 20 friends of mine had reposted it as well.  By now, who knows how many folks it's reached.  If you haven't watched it yet, take a few minutes.  This young man truly has a God given gift to be the hands and feet.  His message is so profound and is so spot on (in my opinion).  I am just amazed by his talent, or better yet by how the Lord is using this young man's talent.

"See, I spent my whole life building this facade of neatness...but now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness."

[Talking about the church] "It's not a museum of good people, it's a hospital for the broken..."

Those are two of my favorite quotes out of the video.  The whole thing is good, but those two struck a cord with me.  Thank God I don't have to pretend to have it all together.  Lord knows I'm a mess.  And Lord knows I am the furthest thing from perfect.  It's not enough just to "try to be good" because no one is "good".  Isn't it nice to know that the one true Son of God and Son of Man died so that we could be set free?  Mmmm it fills my heart with joy.

On to the second part of this post - my pinspiration from the week from none other than Pinterest.  (Ever since my FIL was here for Christmas and pronounced it pin-terrist, I haven't been able to stop saying it like that, LOL.)  I love trying new things with hair, make-up, and clothes...I am quite girly.  I came across this pin the other night and figured I'd give it a shot.


If you watch her video on how to recreate this look, the process is pretty darn l...o...n...g.  Not being one blessed with an abundance of patience, I tweaked the process a bit and mine came out looking like this.

I still got the great volume, but had softer waves.  I really liked the other way, but that'll just have to wait for a day when I have A LOT of time to do my hair...because it'll probably take about 45 minutes just to curl it.

To dress it down, I threw it up in a ponytail and ran some errands.

please excuse my bathtub in the background, lol
I've always used a curling iron the traditional way to make different looks, but all I did this time was tease the root at each section and then just wrap hair pieces around the barrel.  It took maybe 10-15 minutes and the curls lasted all day long, even after I took the ponytail out and slept on it.  It wasn't a "done up" look and worked well with the natural texture of my hair.  (I have really fine, wavy hair.)  Give it a try, see what you think!  I just used my curling iron that I've had since high school.  It's a Conair 1 1/2" barrel and works like a charm!

Now onto my last topic for this post...what we've been eating this week.  I mentioned a few times about how I crave heavy foods in the winter and it always leads to making me feel blah...well, of course it happened.  So we've been getting back to our normal stuff and already we both have so much more energy and clothes are fitting WAAAAY better.  It's amazing how much food affects your body.  Here's what we've eaten this week.

Mustard maple chicken, steamed asparagus and chopped tomatoes topped with basil, feta, olive oil and vinegar.

Blackened grouper, grilled squash sprinkled with olive oil and vinegar and sauteed spinach with garlic.
Cilantro lime crockpot chicken and steamed brocoli.

Grilled pork chops, baked sweet potatoes topped with cinnamon and steamed asparagus.

And it was all SO GOOD, very flavorful and so filling.  And guess what - absolutely no bad carbs (all vegetables are complex carbs so I can't say NO carbs).  I cooked every meal in less than 30 minutes so don't try to make excuses!!  Well, all of them with the exception of the sweet potatoes.  I know you can cook them in the microwave, but I always bake mine at 500° for one hour.  Personal preference, I just like them better that way.  I always make sure to have at least one green vegetable a night.  And when I steam my broccoli and asparagus, I top it with fresh lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.  It's the perfect combination.  It gives it a tangy taste.  If you want specifics on how to make any one item, let me know.  I'd be happy to help.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of my weekend with my hubby.  Last weekend, we had weather in the high 70s.  We spent all of Saturday outside and I washed both cars while J worked in the yard.  This weekend, it's FREEZING so we just did some more antiquing and hanging out at Lowes.  We have officially turned into our parents.  

I'll leave you with a funny and some food for thought.


This has been my dog ALL DAY.


Be blessed! XO

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Meal Plan of 2012

Time to get back to eating clean!  We're going paleo all the way - no more baked goods for awhile.  Here's our first meal plan of the new year.  Special thanks to Andy over at Changed My World for always sharing his awesome recipes.  He grew up with my husband and his blog has been so helpful in our lives.  We have loved everything we try and I'll be adding two new ones to the list this week (Wednesday and Thursday's meals).  Have a wonderful week, y'all!

Monday - Meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes and steamed brocoli

Tuesday - Pot of Northern Beans (flavored with my leftover ham bone)

Wednesday - Thai Beef Cabbage Wraps

Thursday - Maple Mustard Chicken

Friday - Garam Masala Shrimp and Zucchini