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YES! It Tastes Great Too!

My son said these are awesome, you could probably order them by the case – like we can through our health food store. Just ask! They come in GF/dairy-free too.

Since I have a marketing background, I’m big into first impressions, how things look… how they’re packaged – and sold.

I’m definitely drawn to things that appear simple, clean, easy to read… marketed well.

Many of things I admire about a great marketing campaign – whether it’s politics, or food – is how it’s being sold.

It’s amazing what great marketing can do to the perception of the product or idea being placed in front of you. It can bring to mind images that give the “buyer” confidence in what they’re purchasing.

When we went gluten-free, it was a major GAME-CHANGER. I didn’t know any of the brands… nothing looked familiar. They aren’t “big” names that I’d see in ads, or on television (if I watched it anyway…)

So, it left me wondering… how does the food TASTE? It looks….


When you’re already not good at different… you wonder…

Different bad?

Different good?

Oh please be different good….

Well, it’s comical to me now… my kids actually say, THIS food tastes BETTER! (and they’re RIGHT!)

It can’t be “just good marketing” to my kids, because they don’t buy the products I pick out.  They just eat what we put in front of them.

I wonder… is it that there aren’t so many preservatives, obviously no gluten? Food shouldn’t have a shelf-life longer than a cat’s-life.

Maybe it’s the other ingredients…. vs. high fructose corn syrup in almost every product….

Maybe it’s the lack of GMOs?

Whatever it is…. my kids are right. A majority of the food is really great, it’s just different.

Definitely – different GOOD.

Someone gave me some advice… of brands they liked – and it was super helpful for me, as I searched for everything unfamiliar. Currently some of our favorite brands include:

Amy’s, Udi’s (which is said YOU-DEEs, not YOU-DIE like my nephew coined, that would be the other bread), Pamela’s, Enjoy Life, KIND, EnviroKids, Gluten Free Mama, Justin’s, Larabar, Nastasme, Applegate, Van’s, Food for Life, Annie’s (GF bunnies and Mac and Cheese)… although truthfully – we mainly eat fruits, veggies and organic meats. I make our own bread – and I’m still in the process of perfecting that. Stay tuned for some updates on bread and the garden this week!

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits–

Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”

Psalm 103:3


Forethinking Healthy

Everytime I need to make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I need to plan to make bread about 3 hours before that, or have store bought bread out of the freezer to thaw.

Advanced thinking before acting.

That is what ANY healthy person requires.

You must make a scheduled effort to work out. You must CARVE that time out of your day, or force it to be immovable – or it’s too easy to push that time aside, and fill it with other “things”…

That’s all they are you know… minutes of time, which compile into your 24 hour day.

God gives us each the same. Some of us have different challenges on how we use that time – and some of us … well, we set ourselves up for failure.

I once heard that an American’s GREATEST fear, is inconvenience. We don’t want to have to work too hard for something because it might be… difficult, painful, frustrating, time-consuming or expensive.

Is that true of you?

Maybe not?

I didn’t think that was me.

I work hard…

I make sure I workout…plan ahead – I try to be focused.

I was planning healthy meals… had my grocery list to “forethink” what to buy and what I needed to meal plan so we were never out of stock.

I had MY system, and all was going great…

But then, God threw a wrench in that…

It was much easier to cook and plan to feed our army of 10 before we went gluten-free. It’s a fact that it is easier to stock up on foods with preservatives, and not have to be concerned with them spoiling in just a few days. My plans did continue… the time frame just shrunk… and I had to sharpen my skills again.

It’s GOOD when God throws us curve balls in life…. because they cause us to adapt and change, hopefully MORE to His likeness!

Just like in a workout – when we get uncomfortable, that’s when change is going to happen. I’m not talking about ripping through reps and hurting yourself… I’m talking about controlled, focused … advanced THINKING before acting with the purpose to help OTHERS or yourself – for God’s glory.

If it helps you to draw a picture… then do that! Chart out where you need to plan to be more intentional.

Workouts? (What type? Time to try something new to spice things up?)

Workout Time? (What does that look like for the week? Which days, and how long?)

Meals? (summer meals can be simple, but having fresh produce on hand is key! Don’t forget snacks on the go!)

and most importantly..

Time with God. (above and beyond our need for food and exercise, should be our time with God…) What is He speaking into your life today?

What are your PLANS to be healthy for Him this week?

“She is like the merchant ships,

Bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;

She provides food for her family

And portions for her servant girls.”

(Proverbs 31:14-15)



Tabata, Tabata, TABATA

See my good reason for skipping my formal workout yesterday? More on this little “project” later…


Say THAT really fast in row!

So I just finished a mean Tabata workout and WHEW!  That was fun!

If you’re like me and have no idea what Tabata is…

It was founded by a man with the last name Tabata, from Japan.  (Hence the name)  Basically, he conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.  Through this, he discovered that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system.  The athletes who only did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

So what it is – is 4 sets of some type of cardio interval – 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest.  So for the one Bob Harper had me do… it was 4 minutes of push-ups, then 4 minutes of walking (alternating) lunges, 4 minutes of sit ups, and 4 minutes of air squats. (OUCH!)

Ok, so I’m thinking… how hard can THIS be?  You get a rest? Since you’re doing 8 reps of each for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off…  very quickly, you feel pain.

The goal is to keep track of your TOTAL NUMBER OF REPS.  (Think Cross-Fit Training)  So you keep counting from the first push-up, and add onto that number when you move onto the next interval.  So if you’re at 51 push ups total, when you get to the walking lunges – you start at 52.

So my total number was 399.  (I know, I was frustrated too… but I’m being honest – SO CLOSE to that even number, but it was my first time!!)  The advanced person in the workout did 477.  Wowza.  Your goal is to keep a journal and each time you do the workout – increase your number!

Fill me in if you’ve tried this – and what types of exercises you’ve done.  If you Google it, as with anything… you’re bound to come up with lots of ideas.  The difficult thing (without a workout partner or trainer, or video) is obviously the timing, and counting.  For me, it was hard enough trying to workout, count and listen to Bob… with the clean up circus going on around me!

But ta-dah… I sort of skipped my time with Bob yesterday (see reason above)…  but I feel great today!  Have an excellent day!

“Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

Luke 8:18

Always Too Late!

I have a confession.

I like brown long grain rice.

I think about fixing it about an hour after I needed to fix it…. which does me no good and is even worse news for my family.

The rice sits.

I forget to get it made… and I must then substitute something else, which is generally NOT going to be as nutritious if it’s rice in the microwave!

My solution?

Finally get a rice cooker!

Yes, I know - excited about home appliances!

I did it!!  I’m excited to be  the owner of a rice cooker/vegetable steamer!

[ Yes, I realize it’s a big one, but let’s face it – someday I’m going to be fixing A LOT of food for 10 people! ]

Just think, for about 1/2 of a cup of rice – and around 100 calories, you can get about 30 grams of carbs, and about 5 grams of protein!!  Not to mention packed with vitamins, minerals and a low glycemic index for you health!  YUM!  Perfect to go with my steamed veggies!  Didn’t God do a great job of giving us so many whole foods to enjoy?

AND if you get a rice cooker…. you don’t have to sit it on the stove and babysit it for an hour or more!

Hope you have a great weekend!

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,

so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

1 Corinthians 12:9

The Long Way Home…

Have you heard Steven Curtis’ latest release?  It’s super encouraging if you haven’t… and worth a listen.

Steven Curtis Chapman – Long Way Home (Slideshow with Lyrics) from emimusic on GodTube.

You can’t help but imagine the heart and soul he put into the song, just with the life experience he has had the past few years after his precious daughter was tragically killed.  It’s a good reminder of the battles we will continue to have on earth.

Bottom line – walking with Christ isn’t a promise of the easy life.

We’re going to make mistakes, and God is going to be there to see us through!

That’s the peace, and the promise and the GREAT news that we are reminded of this week and we celebrate one of my favorite times of the year.

Glory to God, that Jesus is no longer on the cross!  As we ponder lamb selection day this Sunday, let us be extra thankful for the selection of the perfect lamb, who takes away the sins of the world!

So even if the whole world says you’re going the WRONG way… you can just tell them you’re taking the LONG way. 🙂 

Sometimes the long way, is the best way.

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.  They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.  They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.  I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.  I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you,  but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’  Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things.  But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;  and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”  John 16:1-10

I Didn’t Die… Yet.

You should be the very first to know…

I actually DRANK some calories…  and I didn’t die.

You know how I feel about this.  Drinks with calories … are for people on the go.

I’m not on the go enough to drink calories.  I like to EAT too much.

Coffee, water and tea… all plain.  That’s just me.

I don’t juice, I don’t smoothie… I just don’t.

[Not to mention… the color of food on those veggie-drinks… bleck!]

I have a real issue with textures of foods, and foods that I eat – NEED to be apetitizing.   Do you think my stomach struggles, over the years, have anything to do with those issues?

No, huh-uh.

I decided I needed to figure out a way to get some more calories and nutrition in fast – that is plant-based vs. processed.

I chose to TRY…

A version of the “Green Monster Spinach Smoothie” by Iowa Girl Eats.

I can handle this…. I think.  I like spinach.  I like peanut butter. I like bananas…

OH wait!  I don’t like soy milk or greek yogurt… 

I’m desperate, I can revise this and scale it back – it’s worth a shot.

I mix it all up in the blender, and choke it down.

Definitely NEEDS ice.  (My banana wasn’t frozen and this {in my opinion} needed to be COLD!)

So I try it the next day…  colder.  With ice.

Mmmmmmmmmm much better.  My son agrees.

It does the trick, and my stomach didn’t hurt after I ate it.  Success!

Today I tried another recipe from Spark People.  (similar to = Weight Watchers) I would definitely change it up, and NOT put water in it.  I prefer it thicker, vs a water-juice type of drink.

That Silk stuff is a lot less disgusting than I thought! It has some great calcium, and no carbs! Only 35 calories per serving! (plus it's not super sweet like soy!)

Spinach Smoothie

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2  cup of light soy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

3 whole frozen strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

1 clementine (aren’t they SO cute!?)

1/2 banana

1/2 cup of water (if I make this again, this is not going in – ice instead!)

144.6 Calories

1.7 g Fat

31.1 Carbs

5.2 Protein

My goal, is to search out a few good options to try now and then – when I simply don’t feel like eating but NEED calories, and need to feel full without processed junk.  There are LOTS of high calorie, high carb smoothie/juice recipes out there.  BE SELECTIVE.  Adding in some types of yogurt, and often times – lots of fruit – can add up the calories SUPER fast.

Know what you’re putting in.

Watch to make sure the SERVING SIZE for what you’re making… so you’re not eating for TWO!

Personally I tried to look for something that was “around” 150 calories with carbs around 30.

I had this and some low-sodium, oven-roasted chicken slices wrapped in some lettuce.  Not a bad choice at all, and 3 hours later – I’m NOT hungry.

I did learn that one of the benefits of “eating” your spinach this way is it goes directly into your system within 15 minutes, vs when you chew it up – it’s tough to chew, and a lot of fiber for your body to break down also… (meaning, you’re not able to absorb all of the great vitamins it has to offer!)  So if you like spinach, and I DO… then give it a whirl.  We just have a regular blender, and it worked great to mix it all up!

“Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness,

examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:11

Getting a Clue?

Now and then, it seems like some restaurants are getting a clue…  perhaps they’re actually listening to some of what is being said.

I know I hear more people paying attention to what they’re ordering, or being utterly shocked at how many calories are in (what they THOUGHT) was a “healthy salad”…

But oh my… we still have a LONG way to go to continue being educated.  We certainly can’t let the restaurants do the math, and assume they have our best interests at heart.  No, we have to consider what their objective is – for us to buy whatever it is they sell.  It’s not ultimately for us to be healthy.

But I’ll give them credit where it’s due, they’re at least TRYING.

One of our kid’s favorite places to eat when we’re traveling (and if they’re in the area), is Culver’s.  “Home of the Butterburgers”….  You can imagine how this sits with me.  I used to LOVE their Wisconsin patty melts.  (When I ate rye bread, slathered in butter… swiss cheese all melty and stuff.)  Some days I even ordered a “double”… 616 calories and 35 g. carbs.  Ouch on the calories especially.  Now I just get a double butter burger with lettuce and mustard only – and eat it (without the bun of course).  Sometimes I have a salad with it – no cheese, croutons or dressing of course…  it fits the bill for A LOT fewer calories and carbs.  Not the best choice – but much better for me.

I was a little surprised that with their “Mindful Choices” options, they failed to offer something less of a 4″ white-bread bun!  That’s 160 calories RIGHT THERE of no nutrition… Remember: Think! WHY am I eating this?  What’s the point?

Culver's "Mindful Choices" selections

Online Culver’s even has a “Nutritional Meal Builder” to give you the 4-1-1 on what you’re going to stuff on in, and pray it processes.  They also have an allergen “grid” for their products.  Very nice.  I think while their product offering is mostly of the “fast food” sort – they are trying to make better options available for their customers.  That’s more that I can say for a lot of other companies!  Just be more aware of what you’re eating.  Don’t just 500 calories is what YOU should be eating at a meal just because that is their smallest offering.  Most people need LESS than that.

“Share in suffering as  a good soldier of Christ Jesus.   No soldier  gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”  2 Timothy 2:3-4


Closets and Crock Pots

It’s rainy here in Kansas, and looking like spring might be arriving this week.  Can I get a fist pump?  What better thing to do on this day of rest, than to organize closets and sort clothes!  I really enjoy it when things are completed, but the process itself, is always an ugly one [sound like any other transformation process?]  No?  Yeah, me neither…

It reminds me of how thankful I am that we HAVE clothes, and it also reminds me that we don’t need so MANY clothes, so it steers me to buy less.  Hand me downs are great, IF you can remember to find every tub that you need each season.  Several of my children just pass right down, season after season – so that is nice [and easy].  For the ones that don’t, I sort, fold, label and tuck away – praying I will find that box when I need it!  This is when the family closet idea sounds a lot better than the set up we have!

Sundays are the day we set aside for our Lord.  It’s a day of rest, reflection, rejuvenation – and preparation as we begin a new week.  This week we add in swimming lessons for 6 of the 8 on Wednesdays – so we got our suits, warm-ups and towels all packed in the respective bags.  Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights we have soccer practices.  This means I need to start planning our meals. On nights we have practices – a crock pot meal is ideal.  I’ve tried to find more things I can cook without cheese – or add the cheese in later, so that I’m not making two meals every time.  I thought I’d share one of our new favorite dishes with you!

As you prepare for the new week that begins today – remember God wants our hearts ready at anytime, for we do not know when He will return!  Forgive, give grace, love and try your hardest each day.

I layer it like this, stir, then set the raw chicken on top!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili


Calories: 203.7, Carbs 33.3 – Serving Size 1 1/4

-1 onion chopped (we never use this much)

-1  16 oz. blk beans

-1  16 oz. kidney beans

-1   8 oz. can tomato sauce

-10 oz. package frozen corn

-2  14.5 oz. cans Rotel (we use mild)

-1 packet low sodium taco seasoning

-1 T cumin

-1 T chili powder

-24 oz. 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

-1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine beans, onion, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, and taco seasoning in slow cooker.  Place chicken on top and cover.  Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.  Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.  Return chicken to slow cookie and stir in.  Top with fresh cilantro.  ** Top with low-fat cheese and sour cream (extra calories) if you desire.

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Matthew 24:44

Reaching a Fever Pitch?

I’m in the dark about most things.  I’ll admit it up front, I don’t follow much music of the worldly realm anymore.  I mostly listen to contemporary Christian music.  I like filling my brain with things I don’t mind spitting out my mouth – so it makes sense that the lyrics should be glorifying to God.

My niece of 15 years is pretty special to me.  She was born the summer I got engaged to my husband, and I was smitten by her like any normal aunt with no children of their own.  She was the focus of my baby desires, and spoiling and the honorary flower girl in our wedding (she couldn’t walk yet!).  I moved away, and had children of my own – but I clearly remember what a special gift she was.  She’s grown into a beautiful young lady, and (here comes my family gush) is specifically musically gifted, making All-State choir as a freshman in high school.  Thanks to Facebook, I get to peer into my niece’s life and see what she’s up to and what captures her heart and soul.  (One might call that stalking?  But it’s family, and reminds me of my youth…  so, it’s ok).

Anyway – this summer is the first time I heard about an artist “Adele” – but I hadn’t listened to any of her music before.  My niece seemed to really like her, so I wondered what she was all about.  So again, thanks to social media – I heard the Grammys were on TV one night, so I decided to turn them on for about 10 minutes, and low and behold, the first thing I saw was Adele. [turns out that was the highlight of the show, and it went down hill after that – thankful for the power OFF button.  I was reminded why we haven’t seen the Grammys in years].

She sang a song called, “Rollin’ in the Deep”… and I was awe-struck.  The sound of this artist was amazing.  It was like an oldie, rock and roll with a modern twist – and her pipes were electric.  I decided to download her album that night, and begin listening to the lyrics of her music.


You could tell she had experienced a lot of heart ache, and pain… and at the same time – there was healing in much of her music.  It was almost like emotional therapy.

I love music that makes you feel, how it can transport you.

I’m guessing that is why she is so popular – because many people can relate to the lyrics she speaks of.  We have hurts, and stories… and reasons why we feel the way we do about things.  Hopefully we also have healing, and a peace of WHY we went through those things…  especially the struggles.

In the quirky way my mind works – and the way I pray and ponder as I exercise – I began to consider her lyrics in a new way while I was running one day… not about a person who had let me down, or broken my heart – but about the lies we believe from the enemy, and the addictions we face in food – or other health struggles.  Alcohol, overeating, drugs, smoking, cancer… you name it.

It could consume you if you focus on the negative. 

So don’t do that!

Whatever is poisoning your health… may trick your body into thinking “we could have had it all…” as it slowly kills you.

So I ask – what is your “fever pitch” to bring you out of the dark?  How mad do you have to be about making the same poor choices – to CHANGE and see things “crystal clear” for what they are?

God doesn’t say we can’t get angry – He says we shouldn’t SIN in our anger.  So if you’re going to get angry – have righteous anger and put it into something positive in changing yourself.   Attack the lies that food can represent in your life.  Enjoy the video and think about food and exercise when you hear her words – “you reap just what you sow…”  God wants you to be healthy for HIM, and He says so in His word.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Eph. 4:26-32


Oatmeal Goodness

I really loathe change.  Don’t you?

When I know something works for me, I like to stick with it…  If it’s not broken, why try to fix it, RIGHT?

Well, sometimes even when we don’t change, our body makes choices without our consent.  I think it’s called…AGING.

For women, this is often dramatic with hormone levels – having babies, nursing, cycles…  lots of things can throw off our systems.

Often times I find myself going back to some core Scriptures of how I have been created with a purpose – by Him, and for Him.  It helps me embrace “unasked for” change.

I love Quaker brand (and boy haven’t THEY had a boost with the latest health craze, and their products!  Go Quaker! – Sorry, the marketer in me!)  For months I enjoyed these chocolate granola bars for 90-100 calories each.  Then they made a change, and about 2 months ago – I could no longer get them.  I guess they weren’t as popular with everyone else.

(*I even tried to order online – I was desperate!  No dice.)  So I switched to something new… it wasn’t AS good, but it was ok.  Then it seemed my body was rejecting something in them.  Chocolate chips.  Boo!  So I’ve had to get rid of them altogether for now.

Since I love oatmeal, I’ve found this great substitue that doesn’t contain lactose…  and if I’m around home, and don’t have an apple – this is a tasty option and filling!  (2pts for those of you who watch those!)

Yum! We get this at Target, but have found it at HyVee and Dillons/Kroger too.

What unasked for changes have you encountered, and how did you handle them?  Read today’s Scripture and be filled up.  Sounds like SOMEONE had a plan all along, whether we knew about the changes or not!  May God greatly bless your efforts and your weekend!

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph. 2:10

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