Time for a Spiritual Checkup

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message…

I have struggled with weight issues since I was a little girl. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I hate exercise, take medications that cause weight gain, enjoy eating, and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet and reward.

I was a young adult and living on my own before I realized that part of the creation process included green things called vegetables. The motto in our family was, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t right.” Gravy was a condiment and potatoes a staple at every meal. No bread? How can you have a meal without bread? And dessert was a necessity. Get the picture?

Over the years, I have tried just about every diet I could find. I could always lose weight. I just could not keep it off. The day came when I threw in the towel.

My name is Mary, and I am a Carboholic.

I was done. I was burned out on diets and quick fixes. I didn’t want to be a certain size. I just wanted to feel good and to be as healthy as I could possibly be at this point in my life.

I went to a highly-recommended Christian nutritionist who asked me to complete a packet of 500 questions (not kidding), did an EKG, ran more blood tests than I have ever had run in my life, and introduced me to the coolest machine that measures fat and muscle in the body. After all the tests were in, Dr. Tague smiled at me and calmly said, “Mary, you are a malnourished woman.”

My mouth literally fell open in shock. At the time, I was at least 50 pounds overweight and ate pretty much everything in sight whenever I felt the slightest twinge of hunger. How could I possibly be malnourished?

The doctor went on to explain that I was indeed eating … but I was eating all the wrong things … at all the wrong times. In fact, I was dangerously low in several key vitamins and minerals. He handed me a small paper cup filled with a mixture of those vitamins and minerals to take before leaving his office and said, “If you were my patient in the hospital, I would not release you until some of these levels came up.” Now he had my undivided attention.

God often works the same way.

I spend more time working on ministry checklists than I spend in God’s Word.

Prayer is more often a drive-through event than the sit-down-at-His-feet experience it should be.

I give God the leftovers of my day when I should purposefully plan my time with Him.

Rather than investing time in relationships, I follow friends on Facebook or text them to ease my guilt.

I choose what is easiest and more convenient in ministry instead of choosing the best part of ministry, which is often messy and inconvenient.

I often allow the hedges of protection to go untended, resulting in a lack of boundaries and margins in my life.

I allow myself to become a malnourished Christian.

God then lovingly but unquestionably gets my attention in several ways – a crisis that knocks every prop but Him out from under me, or an illness that rips every choice out of my hands and really makes me stop. I can then get the spiritual nourishment that really feeds my soul. Nourishment like sustaining time in the Word of God … significant, life-giving time in prayer … nurturing time with encouraging friends … opportunities to give myself away in service.

After following the carefully laid out plan of my nutritionist for two years, I have lost 65 pounds, but that is not the best or most important news. I feel better than I have felt in many years! My blood work, EKGs, and BMI (body mass index) are all perfect. And the doctor has now pronounced me a well-nourished woman.

I want to be a well-nourished Christian. I am taking the next year to get my spiritual ducks in a row. I am seeking God on what I should and should not do. I am setting boundaries and asking my husband and accountability group to hold my feet to the fire in keeping those boundaries firmly in place. I am practicing saying “no.” I am bringing order to any areas of chaos. I am resting beside the still waters. And I know He will restore my soul just as He has restored my body in so many ways.

How about you? Are you a malnourished Christian? Today is the day to take a step toward spiritual health!

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday: Grandma Tillie’s Cole Slaw

Today’s Tasty Tuesday is about an amazing product I round at the Brick Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago.  I LOVE cole slaw but since I’m not able to have dairy and eggs, I haven’t been able to find the perfect one.  I was offered a sample while strolling one Saturday morning.  OMG!  It was amazing.  The perfect blend of ingredients. Their mission is a world of longer, heart healthier lives. They take pride in their product!

Here are some facts about them:

  • Just 6 Ingredients.
  • Better Taste, Better Quality!
  • No Mayonnaise!
  • Great For The Calorie Conscious! Only 50 Calories Per Serving!
  • Long Shelf Life!
  • At Grandma Tillie’s We Stand By Our Product!!
  • Our Packaging Is Tamper Resistant, Safe And Secure To Arrive Cold!
  • 10% of the purchase price of each container will go to Tackle Kids Cancer

Here are the nutritional facts.  I absolutely LOVE putting it on my salad – no need for dressing.

Here is the story behind the product straight from their website.  ……..Grandma Tillie was born in Warsaw, Poland on a potato farm. She was one of four siblings. After the family traveled to America, to Ellis Island, Tillie began her educational studies, and by the time she was ten years of age, she had mastered the English language. Her  entire life she helped out her parents in terms of financial support, as when she sought full time employment, to help her bed-ridden Mother.

Tillie’s rule in life gave her an understanding of the value of family ties and to cherish life instead of focusing on problems. She enjoyed dances in her town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and spending time at Coney Island and the Jersey shore.

Tillie met my Sicilian Grandfather while working in a cigar factory in Newark, New Jersey, who she later married.

The downside is they will no longer be at the farmer’s market in Brick….BUT you can call to place orders or find out where you can pick some up. Their number is 908-330-5717.  Check at their Facebook page too:

Packing lunch, this makes a great side for any sandwich or add it to your salad.  Need a NEW lunch box??? Try Thirty One’s Lunch Break Thermal (one of my favorites).  It is the stylish way to take your lunch to work or wherever you and your family go. Great for school, the pool, sporting events, day trips, flights and dozens of other places. Extended handles allow you to tote this cooler bag over your shoulder so you can stay hands-free. An interior thermal lining keeps your food cool or warm, while an exterior pocket gives you a useful place to put your cell phone, keys or wallet. Makes a great gift for teachers, neighbors, friends and anyone else who loves to lunch!

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday: Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

Thank you to “The Staten Island Family” for today’s recipe.  These yummy muffins are only TWO points on the Weight Watchers (WW) program.  You are definitely going to want to give them a try.  I’m still working on a gluten free version.  I need to find a Kodiak-like mix which is gluten free.  If anyone knows of one, please let me know!

Despite the newest health struggle and the restriction AGAIN to more things, I am trying to stick with my points.  My goal is to get back to Weight Watchers soon (maybe by mid-June).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Protein packed whole grain buttermilk flapjack and waffle mix 19 Points
  • 14 tsp table salt 0 Points
  • 12 tsp baking powder 0 Points
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon 0 Points
  • 1 cup Sugar-free syrup, maple flavor Point
  • 3 eggs 0 Points
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk 1 Points
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 0 Points
  • 5 sprays Cooking spray 0 Points

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  3. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  4. Pour batter evenly into the 12 muffin cup tins
  5. Bake for 17 minutes.

Once they are all done, you can freeze them individually for a quick easy on the go breakfast.  Just take them out the night before OR zap them in the microwave to warm them up.  You can drop one in ThirtyOne’s Cool Zip Snacker and take with you as you head out the drop.  These are food safe and reusable.  This cute thermal pouch  has a zipper top and adorable critter design! Choose from our fun Pink Flamingo, snappy Crabby Claws or magical Mermaid Tail, plus our popular Shark and Unicorn! Snack in style all season long.  They will only be available till the end of the month so be sure to grab yours NOW!

Let us know how you like the recipe.  AND if you have a favorite recipe you want to share, if we use in our blog……….YOU will receive some FREE happy mail from ME!  Share as many as you want, as often as you want.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Microwave Cake

This is one of my all time FAVORITE Weight Watcher’s Recipes.  Yes, it is 105 calories and *5 WW SmartPoints BUT it is so much better than eating a box of cookies or a bag a chips.  My hubby even said it wasn’t bad when I topped it with some chocolate frosting!

This skinny 3-2-1 mug cake is a simple way to satisfy a craving for cake in minutes with just two ingredients, a mug and a microwave.  Add a little bit of whipped topping and a few pieces of chopped fruit for a yummy treat.

It is low in calories and naturally portion controlled for those of us in Weight Watchers who are tempted by an entire cake sitting on the counter.  Admit it, you shave just a little bit off each time you walk by, right?  I know I am not the only one.

STEP 1 – MAKE THE BASE

You’ll need a box of angel food cake mix (make sure it is the one step kind) and a box of another cake mix of your choice.  I love chocolate so I picked Devil’s food (gluten free). But you can use whatever flavor you like best.  Whisk together the cake mixes in a large clear bowl with a balloon whisk. Whisk the two dry mixes together until they are free of lumps and well combined. Now you have enough “321 cake mix” for about 31 little microwave mug cakes.  Store your 3-2-1 microwave cake mix in an airtight container (like a gallon zipper lock plastic bag). Be sure to label it with what it is and the instructions so you are ready the next time a cake craving strikes.

STEP 2 – MAKING A MUG CAKE

Gather your tools:  a 10 ounce mug, measuring spoons, nonstick cooking spray and your mix. Coat the mug with nonstick spray. Then add 3 level tablespoons of dry cake mix and 2 level tablespoons of water.  Stir together cake mix and water with a fork.  Stirring with a fork (acts like a little whisk) until the mixture is well combined. It is okay if it bubbles up.  Microwave your mug cake for approximately one (1) minute and voila – you have cake!

NOTE:  The actual time may vary depending on the wattage of your microwave. My microwave is 900 watts and takes 60 seconds. If your microwave has higher wattage set your time for a little less.

I will admit, it is not the prettiest thing but it tastes yummy, especially when it is still warm. You can eat it right from the mug.

Or turn it out onto a plate and pretty it up with a dusting of powdered sugar and dollop of canned whipped topping.  You can even add a little bit of chocolate frosting while it is still warm and it will melt down the sides.

It is a great recipe for playing with different cake mix flavors, additions and/or accompaniments. If you are a Weight Watcher concerned about calories and/or tracking your points be sure to adjust accordingly.

You can use any flavor of cake mix you prefer: chocolate, white, yellow, lemon, spice, funfetti, spice, carrot, strawberry, etc.

Try adding 2 to 3 teaspoons of any of the following to the cake batter before cooking: miniature chocolate chips, finely chopped dried fruit, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles.  Top with a dollop of light whipped topping.

Make a Molten Cake by placing a small piece of chocolate in the middle of the cake before microwaving.

Unknown.jpegMake a Caramel Apple Cake by adding a little bit of chopped dried apple to the cake before microwaving and then after it’s baked top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Make a Cranberry Orange Nut Cake into yellow or white 3-2-1 cake mix by stirring in chopped nuts, dried cranberries and orange zest before microwaving.

Top your favorite cake with fruit and whipped cream for a light and tasty “shortcake.”

Drizzle finished cake with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Let us know what you think…. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Yippee-Ki-Yay Spicy Southwest Chicken Chowder

Thank you Hungry Girl for another AWESOME recipe.  I am such a soup girl when the weather gets cold.  I usually need to be warmed up AND it is so easy to heat and make when dinner is just me while hubby is at work.  I like to create my own “concoctions” with things I have on hand so trying new recipes is always fun.  Hungry Girl helps us to spice up our life with a bowlful of this hearty soup!  Flavor, fiber, and all that protein — poultry power!!

1/10th of recipe (about 1 cup): 163 calories, 1.5g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 654mg sodium, 18.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 18.5g protein. MAKES 10 SERVINGS.  Freestyle™ SmartPoints® value 2*

Ingredients:

2 – 14.5-oz. cans (about 3 1/2 cups) fat-free chicken broth
15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.75-oz. can cream-style corn
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 onion)
2 tbsp. chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (about 2 peppers)
1/2 cup plain light soymilk
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a slow cooker, combine broth, beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, chipotle peppers, soymilk, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.
  2. Season chicken with salt and black pepper and place in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours.
  3. Transfer chicken to a bowl. Shred with two forks — one to hold chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat and shred.
  4. Stir shredded chicken into the soup in the slow cooker. Stir in potato flakes, sour cream, and cilantro. Enjoy!

NOTE:  HG Alternative! Skip the chipotle peppers for a deliciously mild chicken chowder.  Although I LOVE spicy, I will probably skip the peppers this time around.

This is an AWESOME hearty lunch on those chilly days…..What’s the perfect way to take your lunch to work?  That’s right – one of Thirty One’s thermal totes is the correct answer.  The Around the Clock Thermal is one of our most versatile thermal totes.  It is 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.   If you need a visual for size – think a six-pack of soda!  Yes, it will fit in it and still have some room at the top for some more snacks.  A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including as a 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!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!