Tasty Tuesday: Italian beef and Lentil Stew

Thank you Weight Watchers USA for today’s recipe……

Last week, I took the plunge!  I signed back up for WW Online.  I know going to meetings can be overwhelming for me and it is hard to focus BUT I wanted to get off the few pounds which crept back on over the last year or so.  I am determined to get back to my goal weight.  It will help with the walking issues I am having with MS and I will feel better about ME!  So, watch for some YUMMy recipes to come your way….

The weather is getting colder and I am a soup/stew nut!  I could eat it for lunch and dinner   every day…. Slow-simmer soup is a cold-weather comfort food and makes the house smell so GOOD! This one takes just 20 minutes of prep and your slow cooker does the rest.  The result is a flavorful soup with tender pieces of beef. For the lentils, opt for green or brown lentils. They hold their shape better and add more texture than red lentils, which dissolve as they cook (ideal for a smoother soup). Dry lentils don’t need to soak like dried beans do before adding them to the soup.   It is a good idea to rinse them and remove any debris. You can substitute 2 cups of fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths, for the zucchini, and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley for the basil.
Total Time:  7 hr 20 min     Prep:  20 min     Cook: 7 hr     Serves:  6

Ingredients

  • 1 small, chopped uncooked onion(s)
  • 1 medium clove(s), minced garlic clove(s)
  • 1 large, diced uncooked zucchini
  • uncooked lean beef round: 16 oz, cut into 1-inch chunks, or 1 pound
  • ½ tsp, crushed dried oregano
  • 14½ oz, undrained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp canned tomato paste
  • ¾ cup(s) dry lentils
  • 4 cup(s) canned beef broth
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup(s), fresh, slivered basil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except basil in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; stir well. Cook on Low until beef is very tender, 6−7 hours.
  2. Stir in basil and cook 5 minutes longer.
  3. Serving size: 1½ cups

Headed to a tailgate party.  What better way to warm up then with a cup of soup!  Thirty One’s Market Thermal is the perfect way to keep things HOT….The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal that’s large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes. A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock® thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Progress

How many of you are paralyzed by perfection?  The perfect weight?  The perfect size? The perfect business?  The perfect house?  Being the perfect mom?  I have been there and some days still am….Perfection is all about playing the comparison game thinking of what we “should be” instead of focusing on the positives of who we are….

As I walk through recover this time, I am AGAIN learning it is progress not perfection which makes us better.  Here is a post I saw which made me realize on most days despite my best efforts, I am “stuck” worrying about perfection….

I would tell you I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the aisle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.  He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.  I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole?  His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

WOW!  This made me realize how crippled I am on a daily basis.  I battle the inner gremlins of perfection which are often paired with the comparison game gremlins.  Yes, they love to tag team me until I am left battered and bruised.  On the inside I’m left feeling less than while on the outside, things look great.  Check out some milestones in my life….

  • 16 months in recovery after a relapse
  • Maintaining a 100+ pound weight loss
  • Doing what I love ever day in my own business
  • MS does not define in
  • A loving husband and supportive family

I don’t say these to brag but so I can appreciate the journey I am on to become a better me every da.  The list could probably be longer but the gremlins start to rear their heads when I think about the positives in my life. They want me to stay stuck in the negatives.  The addictive thinking which kept me feeling less than everyone else.  What about you, what are some major milestones in your life?  Do you focus on them or do you focus on your failed attempts?

Does your idea of perfection cripple you into believing everything you do has to be impeccable?  Does your worth ride on your success?  Think about the gentleman described above…. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared content—all signs of living imperfectly.  Definitely not someone who is handicapped, right?

Here are three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection:

#1 Straighten Up

Believe it or not, standing up straight and changing our body alignment, can make a difference.  How often when we fail at perfectionism do we feel unworthy? As a result, we walk hunched over or eyes cast to the ground, not enjoying the world around us.  Why not practice your “supergirl pose”?  It is time to  change your perspective.  Maybe it is with positive mantras to change your mindset, Maybe it is  seeking your Higher Power. Maybe it is blessing and releasing those fears.  Whatever it is get busy!

#2 Live Outside the Lines

You are NOW standing up straight, so let’s step out of your comfort zone — live outside the lines. This can be tough especially when those gremlins are in the midst of a battle.  It doesn’t have to be something HUGE, just something simple.  How about:

~Driving with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.  Toss the hair tie which will keep your hair neat.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make it…”      Albert Einstein 

Just do something to push yourself outside the lines of perfection which keep you restrained.

#3 Love your life

Make the decision to love your life.  Despite the challenges you may have, proclaim contentment.  Remember the man I shared the story about, despite being a differently-abled person, he oozed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. You could tell he made a choice to love his life.

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

Will you challenge yourself in a new way?  Will you claim to love your life so you are unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism?  Share your story with us.

Have a blessed day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Salad

I have struggled with staying at goal for the last few months.  Just when I wanted to get back on track eating zero point foods, it has been recommended in addition to dairy free and gluten free – I go vegetarian.  BUT before I made the change, I tried this YUMMY recipe.

Give this AWESOME 1 Smartpoint. per 1/2 cup service recipe a chance.  This will make 12 servings!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup purple grapes, halved
  • 2 TBS chives, scallions or green onions, minced
  • 5 ribs celery, washed and chopped
  • 1 TSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken breasts until done. You can pan fry with non stick cooking spray or bake in the oven.
  2. Shred the chicken or chop using a knife. Place in medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Wash and cut the grapes in half. Place in bowl.
  4. Wash and mince chives. Place in bowl.
  5. Wash and chop celery. Place in bowl.
  6. Add garlic powder to bowl.
  7. Add light mayonnaise and Greek yogurt to bowl.
  8. Add a dash or two of this seasoning if you’d like some more flavor.
  9. Mix well and chill for an hour before serving.

Since this makes 12 servings, why not take some for lunch using your Thirty One Around the Clock Thermal..  It is one of the most versatile totes.  Great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

If you try this yummy recipe, let us know what you think.  Have a recipe you want to share?  Send me an email – if I use it, I will send you some happy mail.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Do You Downsize Your Dream?

Do you have BIG dreams? The kind which scare you and make you wonder if they are even possible…

Do you dream BIG for a moment and before the thought even finishes, you have found 100 different reasons it won’t happen?

There was a time (pre-MS brain fog) when I would DREAM BIG of having my own business where I was financially stable (no debt) , I could make my own hours and do what I wanted, when I wanted.  The dream soon became reality – or at least a little bit.  I have my own business where I make my own hours and am slowly becoming debt-free but I have downsized those dreams.

WHY?

For me, it is more about health issues.  I dreamed of promoting in Thirty One, of being part of the Gives Council BUT over the last year or so, I have begun to accept some things.  Traveling is more difficult.  Processing thoughts is a struggle most days.  My memory is just not what it used to be.  Some would say I settled.  Others would say I am realistic.  I am happy where I am, enjoying the moment.

Do You Dream BIG?

The truth is most people downsize their dreams out of fear. Fear of criticism. Fear of failure. Fear of success and doubts about whether they can keep it up. It’s risky to dream big. The truth is, the real risk is living small. It’s getting to the end of your life and realizing so much more was possible, if only you had been willing to listen to – and pursue – the desires of your heart.

What’s your real dream? Not the dream you’ve downsized so it feels more manageable, but the true desire of your heart. Too often, we surrender to fear and settle for something less than what we really want. We even try to convince ourselves we don’t want what we want. But it’s useless. You can try to bury your dream, but it doesn’t mean it will die.

One of the most powerful decisions successful women make is this:

I do not downsize my dream.

Whether it is a vision of being debt-free and financially independent or a career calling you or a fitness goal – be bold enough to declare your real dream and go after it. Persist. Do the hard work. Be willing to face disapproval or the criticism of others. In doing so, you will be true to yourself and set the stage for creating a life which is an authentic adventure of meaningful experiences.

Don’t judge other’s dreams or even when they change their dreams.  Don’t compare yourself to others if you have similar dreams or goals.  These are the thoughts which will keep you dreaming small or not dreaming at all.  They will keep you from living the life you were meant to have.

What is YOUR big dream?  Share it with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Is Impatience Your Problem? –

Patience can be developed with practice. 

As a recovering addict, patience has not been one of my strong points.  Sure I had patience (most of the time) with my daughter as a single mom BUT not when it came to other things it was non-existant.

What about you?  Is there a goal or desire are you rushing toward? What is the one thing in your life you just can’t wait to see happen?  I’m usually an “instant gratification” person but I’m working on changing which takes time (and patience).  Are you getting the vicious circle?  LOL.  It is usually the thing we want the most which take the longest like the struggle to reach your goal weight.

And while we’re waiting for things to happen, we are usually tempted to make things happen — we want the magic wand for things to happen NOW!  In most cases, the solution we find to the problem or desire is not a perfect fit and as a result we muck things up.  We get a SMACK to remind us it is time to practice patience!

The truth is a lack of patience is often a sign of fear and those inner gremlins called fear are waiting to squash your  goals and desires.  We want what we want now!  I know I am not alone, right?   We get anxious and worried then begin pushing for things to happen before their time (remember it is His time, not ours).  We need to learn to slow down.  We need to trust.  We need to breathe. Patience is an act of faith, even when we don’t know when or how things will work out.

Here are four key areas of your life where you may need to practice more patience…

Relationships

Are you short-tempered with people? Does waiting in line at the store irritate you?  Do you get impatient with someone who is trying to do something especially when they don’t live up to your expectations?  Are you scared your dream relationship will never happen?  If you are single, have you pushed a relationship to be “serious” when it may not have been meant to be.  Why?  Because you fear someone special won’t come along, or maybe you think you’re getting too old to get married, or your choices are limited so you are tempted to marry the wrong person.   Love happens when you least expect.  I was one of those who always rushed a relationship.  It was when I made the decision to let things happen it did.  In fact, I told hubby I didn’t want a relationship.  Here we are almost 16 years later and still together.  Don’t rush into things.  Be patient. Trust. I am a definite believer of when you relax about things, the door to love (and other things) will open. Are you willing to wait?

Work

Patience was a lot tougher when I worked in an office. I found my lack of patience sabotaged my relationships with coworkers and clients who came into the office.  Now with my own business, on days I have no patience, my relationships with my customers are in jeopardy.  I was a job-hopper for many years because I thought it was the way to advance in my career.  Then in recovery, I learned some patience and VIOLA things changed.  I worked for 9 years at the Aids Alliance before moving into a consultant position. Then I was with Bethel for about 7 years – both of these long term positions allowed me to put my skills to use.  Is your job hopping depriving you of the chance to let you sparkle?

Finances

The lack of patience and the need for instant gratification leads to consumer debt.  For those, with no patience, we also tend to have a sense of entitlement because we think we deserve things even if we can’t afford them.  The result is we rack up credit card debt instead of saving for things we really want.    Yup, I have been guilty of this which is another part of my addictive personality. We often play the comparison game too.  We want to be like everyone else but never realize we are probably comparing their end to our beginning or middle.  When you have a little patience in fulfilling material desires, you might be able rein in your spending.

Health

If there is one thing which takes patience and perseverance, it’s eating healthy and exercising. It took me 7 years to reach my goal weight and it takes LOTS of perseverance to maintain it.  I lost and gained the same weight many times because I wanted the quick fix.  It wasn’t until I joined Weight Watchers where I learned patience.  The results were slow and steady and before long the changes were noticeable!   Are you looking for shortcuts to good health? There aren’t any. Make a commitment to start making one change on at a time and you’ll build up good habits which lead to good health and better looks.

This week I challenge you to practice patience in an area of your life where you are struggling.  What are you afraid will happen if you are patient instead of racing to the goal line?  Practice patience. Good things do come to those who wait.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!