I’ve done a lot for my stomach today

A friend of mine just said this to me as I told him how I made such a yummy, healthy breakfast and then ruined it by eating Nutella straight out of the jar.

He has no idea how that just hit me.

The past week or so I have done a lot for my stomach. Actually, I would say that most of what I have done this week has been to make my stomach happy. Temporarily happy, that is.

I satisfy the desires of my stomach instead of the desires of my heart. Then I feel guilty. It’s this cyclical habit that I want to break forever. But, man, it is hard.

The good man eats to live, while the evil man lives to eat. Proverbs 13:25 (TLB)

I cannot possibly eat to live without the help of God. I recently came off of a forty day Daniel fast. With the intention of limiting myself for a Higher purpose I was able to eat foods that nourished my body. I was excited to eat foods that would better me. I lost almost ten pounds as a result. Of course, that certainly wasn’t my goal of fasting, but, obviously, with any kind of fast that will be a side effect. I saw that my body had been longing to be healthy. My stomach didn’t need to be the ruler of my life, God did.

My relationship with God is still growing. It is a journey – an amazing, love filled journey. My relationship with food, however, scares me. I have seen what it can do to people. Both of my parents are diabetic, both have heart problems, both are overweight and both refuse to change their diet to save their lives. That scares me immensely. I don’t want to put my children through that. I don’t want them to fear for my life. I don’t want them to watch me fall asleep and worry whether or not I am still breathing.

So, here is my goal: To fill in the blank with something other than ‘stomach’ each day.

I’ve done a lot for my ___________ today.

I pray for courage on this one.

I will keep you updated.

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Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

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Someday I will have a nice camera and be able to take nice photos of my food. Until then, I will have crappy pictures of yummy food and you’ll just have to believe me!

 

Holy hearty meal!! I had never made chili before so this was an adventure for me. I thought it was going to be a long, tedious process, but it was actually pretty easy. The hardest part was finding a recipe that I liked. I ended up just varying one a little bit to make my own version. So here is what’s happening:

1 yellow onion
1 large or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of black beans
1 can of red kidney beans
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 package of frozen red and green peppers
1 lb of ground turkey
1 bayleaf
3/4 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/8 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of coarse black pepper
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 red pepper (or cayenne)
1 cup of water

I used a slow cooker for this recipe but, you can absolutely make this on the stove.

Add all vegetables and beans into the pot first. The black ones I put the liquid in, the kidney beans I drained and rinsed first.
Then add your turkey, water and spices. I forgot my turkey, so I ended up cooking it and adding it after the chili was done cooking. Either way works.
I cooked my chili on high for four hours. If you want to, cook it on low for eight hours.
Once finished, stir and let sit for a little bit. Or don’t. I didn’t. I ate it right away. I was just too excited!!

Enjoy!!

Sweet potato turkey chili original recipe from: heandsheeatclean.com

Baked Pumpkin Pie Pear

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This is the story of how a pear fell in love with Nikki’s Pumpkin Spiced Donut Coconut Butter.

It all began on a lonely table. Pear was sitting there waiting for his destiny, but he just wasn’t quite sure what that looked like. Meanwhile, Nikki sat in her cupboard knowing that today was her day to break out, open herself up to the world and share her glorious butter. Well, she found herself on the same table as Pear and the two instantly hit it off. A match made in kitchen heaven. Here are the sensational details of their hot romance:

1 tablespoon of the Coconut butter mixed with a splash of almond milk
2 Tablespoons of gluten free quick cooking oats
A drizzle of honey (or maple syrup if you are vegan)
Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
For the pear: You can leave the skin on or peel it, it’s up to you. Cut your pear in half and remove the center (the seeds and such). Scoop out a fairly large sized chunk of each half of the pear. Keep this, chop it up and set it in a bowl for your filling.

For the filling: First, warm up the coconut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Next, add the almond milk and stir it up. Add this mixture and the oats to your diced pear. Season with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
Next, place your pears in a baking dish or sheet and drizzle each half with some honey. Then add your filling to the center. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.
I made mine a la mode with some Almond Dream vanilla ice cream.

MMmmmmmmm…. Pear…

I hope you like this recipe. Click on the link for the coconut butter. It is delicious!

Enjoy!

You’re beautiful

Caution: This post is about to get real. For some of you, hold tight, this might make you uncomfortable for a little bit, but read to the end. That’s where it gets really good.

“You’re beautiful.”

That’s what Jesus wanted to tell me last night. Yeah, to the average person, that sounds a little crazy, but I will tell you why it is not.

I am part of a community group through my church that is currently reading and discussing Zack Neese’s book How to Worship a King. This is only my second time in my 27 years on earth (the first time was only this past Fall) that I have ever been a part of a “Bible study” – I put that in quotes because, in this case, we aren’t necessarily studying the Word of God, but rather the worship of God, although, really, you can’t have one without the other.  God has been working diligently in my life to bring me closer to Him. However, it seems as though every time something big happens something else happens to diminish the Joy and revelation that I felt.  On Sunday, I asked God for guidance on something that I just didn’t have an answer for and I heard a resounding NO. That was huge for me. To really feel God’s presence and KNOW that my prayer had been answered. 

So, last night, as we were discussing the second chapter of our book, I listened to my peers referencing scripture, other books of relevance, podcasts/sermons that they were listening to and I started to think, “why don’t you know all this stuff?” “How come you can’t quote scripture?” “Why aren’t you good enough?” “You need to read more.”

These thoughts started to take hold of my attention. Soon that was all I could think about. I was beating myself up for not being on the exact same journey as everyone else. I knew what was happening and how ridiculous it was, but I just couldn’t fight feeling that way.

I knew I needed to intercede, so when it came time for prayer requests, I made sure, as hard as it was, to share my thoughts. I couldn’t leave there without some comfort.  As my friend started to pray for me, the first words out of her mouth were, “Father, I just want Becky to know how beautiful she is.” Now, at first, I heard that and thought, “Oh, that’s nice” But, then another friend told me that he felt God wanted to tell me that I am beautiful. Beautiful? Why that word? It seemed totally unrelated to what my concerns had been. What did that mean?

I went home and kept thinking about it, looking at myself in the mirror, asking if I thought I was beautiful or not because I thought He meant physical beauty. I mean, yes, almost everyday I look at my body and nitpick. I see my belly protruding, I see the love handles that could be flatter, I see the stretch marks that I think shouldn’t be there, I see the keratosis pilaris on my legs that has embarassed me since I was a child, I see the abnormal curvature of my spine that makes me look like a hunchback and I see the dark circles under my eyes that just never go away, even with makeup on. I could keep going, but, honestly, that wasn’t what He meant. Not completely.

The word ‘beauty’ means “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”  Now the word ‘exalt’ means to elevate by praise or in estimation : glorify.

So, beauty, in this case, is the quality of a person that pleasurably exalts/glorifies the spirit.

Wow.

Yes. I am so full of Beauty. I am. I pleasurably exalt/glorify the Holy Spirit. I desire to be more and more beautiful in the eyes of God every single day. God just wanted to remind of that.

So, no more comparing myself to others. I don’t need it. God loves me for me (and you for you).Image

 

Chocolate peanut butter smoothie

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I did my workout from home today. I don’t have much room for it, so I make do by doing moves I know won’t make me run into things. As if I need more of a reason to do that! Walking through doorways is hard sometimes, don’t judge me.
Anyway, even before my workout I knew I wanted a really yummy smoothie. I had to stop myself twice from just going to the kitchen to make it. “No, Becky! Do those squats and THEN make your smoothie.” Oh, the ever pesky internal monologue.

Chocolate and peanut butter smoothie:
1/2 cup to 1 cup coconut milk, depending on desired thickness
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tbs of cacao powder
1 banana
1 spoonful of peanut butter
Ice
Shredded coconut on top

**Other than the banana there is no sugar in this smoothie!**

I poured it into a wine glass because I’m fancy like that. I’m thinking maybe I should get a challis for next time.
Either way, take that mason jars!

Protein Breakfast Cookie

ImageGood Morning, world!! I love mornings that don’t involve an alarm clock. Unfortunately, this one did as I forgot to reset my phone alarm. Oh, hello, 4:10am! I wasn’t expecting to see you today. Thankfully,though, I can easily fall back to sleep. (I can pretty much sleep anytime, anywhere – just ask my family or roommates).

I have been playing around with simple ingredient cookies lately… as in, two or three ingredients. I first got the idea from my friend Gracie who writes Girl Meets Life. I started off with just bananas and oats and holy moly, were those cookies good! So, I started adding some other things to spice them up a little bit. I even did strawberry banana cookie. Yum!

Today, I made a chocolate, peanut butter protein cookie. I have a tendency to just throw things together without measuring, so this is an approximation. Here is what you shall need:

1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup of quick cooking oats (mine are gluten free)
3/4 scoop of chocolate protein powder (I used Garden of Life)
1 tbs of ground flaxseed
1 tbs of cacao nibs
1 tbs of dried currants (raisins will work, too)
1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter (I used chunky for this one)
a pinch of salt (if your peanut butter is unsalted)

I like to put mine in the toaster oven, I find it is quicker and more convenient for such a small batch. Set your oven to bake at 350 degrees. While it is heating up, mash your banana first and then add in all of your dry ingredients. Just stir it together, making sure to incorporate the peanut butter very well. It will start to form a ball/clump which actually makes it easier to transfer to your tray.
Line your tray with aluminum foil, wax paper or a silpat, if you have one. Roll your cookie into one big cookie or do a few smaller ones – totally up to you – and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.  Once done, let it cool a bit and chow down like cookie monster. Actually, don’t do that. Most of his cookies end up on the floor. You’re going to want to enjoy every last bite of this.

**Now, my cookie was made without any added sweetener, but you are more than welcome to add some in if you like it a little bit sweeter. The banana and currants were totally enough for me.

This was such a filling cookie. It was exactly what I needed to start my day.

What are some of your favorite breakfast recipes?

As always, enjoy!!

Rice cakes excite me

ImageRice cakes don’t have to be boring!! I actually love them! My favorite brand is Lundberg’s – you can find them at most grocery and health food stores.

I haven’t had processed sugar in about a month, so now when I crave something sweet I try to find new ways to satisfy that craving. I don’t have much in the house right now, so I got creative with my rice cake. What you’ll need:

1 ricecake
a few frozen strawberries, warmed up
1 spoonful of peanut butter (any nut butter, really)
A splash of Almond or coconut milk – I used a mixture of both
Cacao Powder
Shredded Coconut

There aren’t many steps to this, just warm up your strawberries, mix your almond milk in with the peanut butter (if it is hard to mix, warm it up a little) and dust on some cacao powder and sprinkle on some coconut. 

Now, this snack is not very sweet, so add your sweetener of choice if you so desire.

How do you like to decorate your rice cake?

 

Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day idea

For those of us that do not have someone to give something to or receive something from this Valentine’s Day, I encourage sending Random Gifts of Love.  When I moved to NYC I decided that it would be really nice to keep in touch with people through post cards, cards and letters. This past Christmas was the first time I had ever sent out Christmas cards. Yes, I know, I’m 27, I probably should have done that long before. Nevertheless, the feeling I had of pure joy and excitement knowing that my recipient would soon be opening their surprise was quite lovely. I couldn’t help but giggle with joy. I believe that doing something nice for someone else is incredibly rewarding. Especially when they are least expecting it. So, this Valentine’s Day, consider sending something special to a friend, a loved one, an acquaintance or even a stranger, maybe your barista or the shut-in down the road.  It doesn’t have to be much – a postcard or even some homemade cookies will do nicely. Sometimes, words of encouragement and love can really help someone through a tough season.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.      2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Take a picture and send it to me on here or on Instagram with #RandomGiftsofLove, @beckybaker6.

A writing challenge

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I never considered myself super smart or overly eloquent. The fact that I am blogging and writing my thoughts down when my thoughts are often too jumbled or lost in space whilst searching for the right word is practically a miracle. Perhaps I sell myself short. Perhaps I am far more intelligent than I think I am. Mind you, I don’t think I’m dumb by any means, but gosh, sometimes words are so hard to come by.  I fumble and falter when speaking. I take awkwardly long pauses when trying to remember a word that for some reason has left my brain in a state of borderline chaos. Ask my friends how long it takes for me to tell a story. I know that eventually they get bored with me speaking (at least, that is what I presume is happening) and move on to a new conversation, new quips, new jokes and a bunch of words that are spoken rapidly in succession. How do they do it so quickly and with such big words?? Then, I just give up on my story. My moment has passed.

Not today friends. My moment is here and at my fingertips. Literally. The Daily Post has given me (and all bloggers) a writing challenge. To write freely about a photo. Whatever it means to us. The photo above is entitled “Relaxation.”  I’d like to subtitle it and call it “Love.”  Yes, I see the peace and tranquility, but when I imagine myself in this man’s place I can only think of love. I think about how my much I loved going to a family friend’s cottage every summer as a kid, taking the paddle-boat out to the middle of the lake and letting myself sway to the movement of the water. I think about my trips to California to visit my sisters as a teenager and loving the breathtaking mountains of the desert. I think about how much I love laying on my back and soaking up the sun in a small park in NYC. I love letting the breeze play with my hair while thinking about everything and nothing as the clouds above me slowly make their way across the sky. I can’t help but think about how beautiful our earthly home really is – when I actually slow down enough to notice it. But, most of all, I think about how much I am loved by Jesus Christ. I know, I totally went there. But, oh man, He is doing some great things lately. I truly believe that I moved to NYC to be closer to Him. He knew all along that I would find Him here. Of ALL places! It would make sense if I had moved to the South! But NYC? He knew that was where I wanted to be, He knew that I wanted to start a life on my own, He knew that I wanted to find a church that I connected with, He knew that I was an actor (still am) and He knew how to get me into church. Especially THIS church. I walked in there and knew instantly. They met at a theatre, red curtains and all. The music was amazing and the preaching was out of this world. I had never taken notes in church before. I used to be so bored in church. I don’t think I ever paid attention. That might be a slight exaggeration, but only slight. Yes, I grew up in a Christian home, but eventually we just stopped going for some reason. I believed in God and always did my best to be a “good Christian” but honestly, the thought of actually being a real follower of Jesus Christ scared me. I remember thinking, “I’m an actor, am I going to be able to play all of the roles I want to play?” I didn’t want to be limited. Actually, a friend of mine recently asked me if I feel limited or restricted because I am a Christian. A year or two ago I might have said yes. But, now? No. Absolutely not. Quite the opposite, in fact. I cannot begin to describe the happiness, the joy and the FREEDOM that I feel. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says that the Lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. I would like to add LOVE to that.

I am so thankful and blessed to be living in this city, being able to call Liberty Church my home and seeing all of the amazing things that God is doing in my life and in those around me.  Last night, my pastor Andi Andrew spoke about Jesus’ relentless love. She reminded me that Jesus loved us so incredibly deeply that no matter what was thrown His way (i.e. fasting for forty days in the desert while the devil tried to tempt Him) His focus was always on us and His love for us.  We do not deserve His love. I do not deserve his love. Yet, we have it because we have God and God IS love.
And you know what? Coming back to my original thought, I think that God loves my inability to tell a story sometimes. God knows I cannot always finish my prayers or find the right words to share with Him. It doesn’t matter to Him because He knows what is in my HEART and I love that.

~ I realize that not everyone will share my sentiments. But, that’s okay because we are all at different stages in our lives. I’m certainly not going to push anyone to go Church (but seriously, check Liberty Church out because it is ridiculously awesome and amazing and they have podcasts that you can listen to, vimeos to watch and even a live streaming of the 11am service, just shamelessly plugging) because I know that would totally turn me off. I simply invite you. Do it, don’t do it, ask me questions, don’t ask me questions – the choice is yours and I respect that.

As always friends – Enjoy!

Begin Simply

ImageI love to begin my day by taking my time to wake up, enjoying the quietness in my apartment, praying and making myself a simple breakfast. I wish I could do this more often but working at a coffee shop means that I have to be there before the sun has even thought about shining on NY. So, the days that I get to, I relish in it.

This morning I made Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oatmeal with warm apples, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and coconut/almond milk. You can use a microwave like I did or cook it on the stove. Whatever makes you happy.

Speaking of happiness, I can assure you that cute videos of puppies, kittens and babies will always bring a smile to my face.

What’s your happy?

Enjoy!