ladies! No belt loop? No problem!

I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this, ladies, but for those that haven’t, this could be a “why didn’t I think of that?” moment.  I have not purchased belts that go around my natural waist simply because the end of it just hangs there, swinging in the breeze. I have also cut a belt because I wanted it to behave. I tied a black ribbon around one of my thicker ones to get it to stay in place. Today, however, I put one of those small plastic hair ties on the open end and voila! Instaloop! No more sticky-outy belt!Image

That’s it. That’s all I wanted to tell you.

Enjoy your week!!

Sun dried tomato chicken sausage with sauteed veggies

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This was ridiculously easy. Ridiculously tasty. If you have a Trader Joes near you, you can replicate this exactly. If not, the ingredients are so simple, any grocery store should have something similar.
You will need:
Sun dried tomato chicken sausage
Package of kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage and purple cabbage (TJs sells as a whole mixed package in the leafy greens section)
Yellow pepper
Olive oil
Seasonings to taste

1. Start searing your chicken sausage in a pan with a little bit of olive oil.
2. In another pan, heat up some olive oil, add your veggies and your seasoning.

Seriously, that is it. Once it is done cooking, plate it and eat it!

Now, you can make a lot or a little. It depends on how many people you are serving. The raw veggies that you may still have leftover will make a great salad.

Enjoy!!

My Starbucks “secret menu”

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By this point you have probably heard about the Starbucks “secret menu.” I won’t go too far into my opinion on someone asking for a snickers Frappuccino and expecting me to know the recipe. Let’s just say, you need to come prepared with the recipe. We don’t know them. However, I will go into the fact that these recipes are soaked in sugar. I love sugar, but they’ve gone too far. So, as a barista I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to have a delicious beverage without the unnecessary added sugar.

1. The Pooh Bear
It’s one honey packet, steamed soy milk (or dairy if you prefer) and cinnamon sprinkles on top. If they have cinnamon dolce sprinkles, throw some on there, too. You will want to stir everything together to incorporate the honey. Here is how you order: Tall one honey packet, cinnamon (and/or cinnamon dolce) sprinkle, steamed soy milk.

2. Peppermint Hot Chocolate with a twist
No, there is no alcohol in this. The twist is to use refresh tea. I know, right? Weird. But, it is so not weird once you taste it. To order: Tall, one pump mocha, soy (or other milk preference), no water, refresh tea misto.
*our soy is sweet, so if you use dairy, you may want to add a half a pump of vanilla because mocha is a dark chocolate. Or, get super fancy and do a half a pump of white mocha and half a pump of mocha to get a milk chocolate taste. It’s up to you.

3. Tea misto/tea latte
A lot of people don’t know about this, but you will have one up on everyone else. I recommend sharing the love and telling your friends. This is so simple. Choose any of our teas (except passion tea – milk with passion tea is gross) and just add your choice of steamed milk. The secret behind this drink is that many people order a tea latte without the sugar added. That’s great, but you are paying for syrup that you aren’t getting. That’s silly. Stop paying for that. So, I will give you my favorite: Tall, soy, no water, calm tea misto. Soy is sweet, so no need for honey. If you get dairy, ask for a honey packet and you can add it to taste.

4. No sugar chai tea latte
This is going to sound very familiar. That’s because it is the same as the last one. I made it separate so that you know you have a sugar free option if you love chai tea lattes.  You can sweeten it a little bit if you like. Use honey or my absolute favorite combo is chai and cinnamon dolce. Just ask for one pump of cinnamon dolce (or sugar free c.d. if you are okay with splenda). To order: Tall, soy, chai tea misto. To order it like me: Tall, one pump (sugar free) cinnamon dolce, soy, no water chai tea misto.

* My recipes are for a tall size, but adjust it accordingly if you want a bigger size.

** If you do want something off of the secret menu, I suggest lowering the amount of each syrup that goes in. It will still taste the same.

That’s what I have for now. If I discover more, I will be sure to post it!

Enjoy!!

Puppies, kitties and babies, OH MY!

There are certain things that will always make me happy. My four year old nephew telling me that I am so special to him and he thinks that I am pretty is definitely one of them.  Now, granted, he has also asked me if I wanted to go home when I had just gotten to South Carolina for a visit. When I asked him if he was trying to get rid of me, he said, “yes.” So, him telling me that I am pretty is a big step.

Cute videos of anything small and fluffy will always make me happy. Hearing a baby giggle – oh, I’m done for.  Seeing an elderly couple holding hands while walking down the street – cue the strings to tug on my heart. Watching a kitten playing and something suddenly scaring them making fly into the air – I can’t not laugh hysterically.

Honestly, it’s the little things in life that make me so happy. I’m so grateful to be able to experience all of these things. What makes you happy? What are your “little things” in life?

Enjoy life, friends! I leave you with this video of cute animals.

 

Incredibly on purpose

I have been pretty good about posting at least once a week, if not more. However, March has been really busy for me. It’s not that I haven’t thought about posting, I have, but my time just seemed to be more important elsewhere. Until now. I still have lots to do, but I needed to get some of my thoughts into writing. For some of you, this might get weird. It might make you uncomfortable. I say good. Keep reading.

A friend of mine came to stay with me last weekend. On Friday night we saw Kari Jobe in concert. I even won free tickets through their Facebook event! So, a couple more of my friends got to go. The concert was amazing. It was so great to see so many people coming together from different churches and different places to worship God with Kari. A lot of amazing things happened that weekend.

During one of the songs (I wish I could remember which one) I had closed my eyes and the lights from the stage kept flashing across my eyes, bright and then dark, bright and then dark. At the time, I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing in the dark was real or not, but I strained my eyes to see (with eyes closed still) the image that was forming. There were letters. Huge silver block letters that kind of looked like the surface of those fake tiaras a little girl would buy from Claire’s at the mall.  The last three letters were very clear – IVE. I waited a few more flashes of light to make out the first letter – R. RIVE. Rive? I wasn’t sure that was even a word. So, I Googled it and sure enough, it is a word. Rive means to rend or tear apart, to break into pieces, to split asunder. I was curious why I would see a word that I don’t know. Rive isn’t very commonly used these days. But, I just let it be for a bit.

I told my friend about it the next day and we tried to figure it out, but to no avail. It wasn’t until we got to church on Sunday (we were a little late, oops) and started singing that all of a sudden it hit me. Here are some of the lyrics (and a link to the video) to the song we were singing: Spirit break out, break our walls down, Spirit break out, Heaven come down.

Whoa. That’s it! Spirit, rive our walls down, rive the Heavens apart and get down here! We need it! We need You!

Now, I have never experienced this before. I’ve never gotten words or images that I thought were coming from God. Obviously, I daydream, I play images in my head all the time, but this was different. At one point in my life I would have thought this was crazy and just disregarded it. But, the revelation that I got on Sunday was so clear. When I truly listen to what God wants me to know I get this peaceful feeling – a feeling of rest, like I don’t have to keep looking.

I realize that some of you will probably say that’s just a coincidence, but I don’t think God does coincidences. God is incredibly on purpose.

I think God wants to rive the Heavens open and pour down on us and fill the earth with His presence. I truly believe that God has great things in store for NYC and the church as a whole.  It is pretty awesome.Image

Source: kellymcilvenny.com

 

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.

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!