Get by with a li’l help from my…tasty food!

 

Today marks another 3 pounds gone.

I’ll take it!

{That brings my total to 42.6lbs.}

I was emailing a friend this week, and randomly remembered this pic that I took the very first night I cracked open my Trim Healthy Mama book:

image

 

haha!

I think this pretty much says it all, don’t you?   Love me some peanut butter!  This gives just a glimpse of my usual approach to dieting and food-overhaul.  I call it the “I-know-a-food-crisis-is-about-to-begin-so-excuse-me-while-I-first-just-eat-this-whole-thing-of-Ben and Jerry’s” approach.

:)

This has made me think about just how much my go-to foods have changed in a relatively short amount of time.

So…..

Just for fun, I thought I would share a few random pics that I have taken in the past several weeks of some yum and easy foods that have become my “go-to’s” on a regular basis now.

{Disclaimer: These pics are pretty rough…most of them came directly from my phone!  Also…my “food styling skills” are, shall we say, Non-Existent!!  Most of the time I had no thought of taking a pic until the last minute, so……sorry in advance!}

Okay, now that I got that off of my chest….

This is one of my favorite Breakfast’s right now:

image

 

{For starters, Hope is always a good idea, is it not?! :)}

Non-fat Greek yogurt, mixed with a handful of fresh raspberries, chopped up dark chocolate (85% or greater), sliced almonds, and a little stevia or something to sweeten it just the right amount.

Total winner, folks!  Annnd….Completely easy.

Sold!

 

or this:

image

 

These are protein-packed, low-fat pancakes that I topped with Non-fat Greek yogurt, sweetened with Maple extract, Cinnamon, and stevia.

Those pancakes taste delicious!!  Total “comfort-food-feeling” food!  I honestly and truly did not miss the syrup, because the whole “maple yogurt” bit gave me something new to look forward to altogether.

I crave it and have them on a regular basis.

Then there is this little gem:

image

 

My own version of cheese-sticks!!  So good and super, super easy!

This is 1/2 of a batch of the coconut pizza crust recipe.  Instead of doing the full pizza, I brushed on some melted garlic butter and mozzarella cheese, and put them back in the oven until the cheese was melted.   They are really good!!  That crust, by the way, is something that I always have the stuff on hand to make.  It has about 4 ingredients in it, is easy to doctor up with whatever seasonings you want, and is versatile enough to use for lots of different bases to recipes….so good!!

This next one is a staple that I make at least once a week, due purely to my own laziness and being tired after a long day at work:

image

 

Nothing earth-shattering, and the entire meal only takes about 10 minutes to make!  I make some squash pasta (with my little Vegetti thing that my wonderful mother got for me), sauté it in a tsp of butter, onion, and garlic.  Topped off with sugar-free marinara sauce, and a small amount of mozzarella cheese.  I think my favorite part is knowing that I can always make that for dinner, and be safely nestled into my favorite chair, wearing my favorite comfy pajama pants, and eating this about 20 minutes after walking through my door.  Let’s be honest, when I get home I just want to unwind and c-h-i-l-l.  Quick and easy go a loooong way in my book!

That brings me to an interesting observation that I have made within myself: I find that I eat out a LOT less now.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love going out with friends, but for the most part, most of the time I just would rather eat what I have at home.  The food is better, I get more of it, and I like trying out new things.

The other thing: I have begun craving more veggies (no, I am not lying), and I get a huge kick out of seeing what restaurants DON’T carry for their customers.

Crazy things….like veggies.

(I was at a restaurant….I’m trying to think where it was…..hhhmm….Oh I know!!  A newer taco place here in KC called Taco Republic….not a single salad or fresh veggie offered that I could find!!  Another time I was at a BBQ place and our group ordered a cheese dip appetizer.  The restaurant did not have a single, solitary vegetable of ANY kind that I could use as an alternative to the soft pretzels to scoop up the cheese!!)

Am I crazy or is that just crazy?!?

Don’t get me wrong…I still rather enjoy their cheese skillet appetizer, but….what is wrong with our food demand that a restaurant sees no value in carrying fresh foods whatsoever?  They see no value because they have no demand for it.

Wow.

(Sorry…I Digress….)

 

Okay a few more and then I promise I’m done!

I had leftover steak one night and was craving something indulgent-feeling…this one completely hit the spot and did not disappoint!

image

 

 

I used zucchini pasta, and sautéed it in some butter, garlic, onion, and mushrooms.  When it seemed done I just added a bit of cream, and fresh Parmesan to the stock that was left in the pan from the “pasta” to make a quick Alfredo-like sauce.  SO. Good!!!

I have also been shocked at how accommodating most restaurants have been.  This is simply amazing to me and makes me want to eat at these places all the more.

I took one of my low-carb pita’s to a favorite pizza place of mine and they actually agreed to use it as my pizza base, and even cooked it in their wood-fire stove!!  It was AMAZING and I was honestly shocked that they agreed to do it!  (Pretty sure I had a huge grin on my face the whole time I was there!)

image

 

 

Bottom line: Life is good.

:)

Very simply: the blessings of Trim Healthy Mama far outweigh the Boundaries.  So what if I change up my crust in order to still enjoy the rest of the pizza?  So what if I now take my own chips in to the Mexican restaurant, or if I have peanut-butter yogurt with my cut-up apples (like I am right this second!), instead of the usual “several tablespoons” of PB that I used to enjoy?

News Flash: I was miserable that entire time, and now suddenly an entire new world of food has been opened up to me…and I love it.

 

I don’t miss the old way.

I don’t miss the hopeless feeling that I will always struggle with this issue my entire life.

One other weird, random thing?  When I say random, I mean…..random:  My fingernails don’t have ridges in them anymore!  It sounds more dramatic than it actually was, but for several years now, both of my thumbnails had this odd, ridge-like bump in them.  I have googled it and tried to figure out what it was from.

I noticed a few weeks ago that it is no longer there.

Like….after YEARS of being there….gone.

Interesting, huh?  I can only attribute it to overall better eating and the start of better health entirely.

Those things?  Those “small things”?…..those aren’t small to me!

 

Love it!!

 

Happy Sunday :)

 

 

Freedom

Have I mentioned one of my favorite new past-times?

It’s called the “try-all-of-your-old-clothes-on-and-see-what-new-things-you-can-fit-in-to” hobby, and it is a personal favorite of mine.

:)

Tonight, my friends, did not disappoint.

An old pair of Calvin Klein chino’s, that I haven’t been able to wear since my days of running 4-7miles/day, several days a week.

Yep.

Put those on tonight and did a little happy dance right then and there!

They are a tad snugger (yes, I do realize that “snugger” is not a word!) than I want them to be, but I cannot imagine it will take me any longer than a month to get them where I want them….which is safely on my person, allowing me to enjoy life while wearing an “oldy-but-goody” pair of pants.

There are nights when I absolutely have to pinch myself, just to ensure that this transformation is really happening.

Tonight was one of those nights.

I told my mom that I constantly have to remind myself that there is no fear of this going away.

Trim Healthy Mama is not going bust, bankrupt, or out of business……and if they did?

Nothing.

Absolutely n-o-t-h-I-n-g would change for me.

Nothing would change because this really has nothing to do with anything more than me learning a new way to pair my food groups.

That is honestly it.

I finally feel like I have found a way of eating that I can maintain for the rest of my life, and that my friends, is NO small thing to me.

I have often wondered, “why did I feel so compelled to blog about this area of my life?”

I’ve given it a lot of thought and want to simply say: Because this is really one of the single most vulnerable areas of my life.  My weight has been a struggle for years and years.  Something that I have honestly felt tremendous amounts of pain and insecurity from.

I know this topic quite well.

I don’t think I am alone.

Look around….most of us are overweight.

This is something that very much affects the majority, NOT the minority.

What I am about to share may sound crazy to some, but I am honestly okay with that.  I want to share it because I think it’s important.

A few years ago I asked The Lord one night what He had to say about my weight struggle.  It’s something that has weighed heavily on my heart for a very long time (no pun intended…haha!).  Anyhow, I sat for a long time, just quietly waiting, yearning to hear something…anything.  I don’t know how long of time passed, but after awhile I began to realize that an interesting image was on my mind.  I felt as if my mind was just wandering due to what I had mistaken as silence (how often am I guilty of that?!), but I began to zone in on it and realized that what was on my mind was one of those desert mirage-type images of water.  You know the ones…like from the movies where people are wandering thru the Sahara and think they see a huge body of water, but it turns out to be nothing?

What I felt like The Lord impressed on my heart that night was this: There are very real issues that I struggle with that I may be tempted to not address and deal with, due simply to the fact that I feel helpless in overcoming that area.  They seem huge.  They seem daunting.  They seem to be non-budging….BUT….

(and it’s a BIG BUT!)

If I am willing to keep walking…..head-on, right into the very thing that I felt too weak to overcome, the time would come when I would see that that huge thing was nothing more than a desert mirage.

It really had no power at all because it was a total and complete facade.

When I read my Bible, I read that I am Christ’s masterpiece.  I read that I am called to be free.  I read the He who began a good work in ME….He will see it through.  I am not hopeless, helpless, or at a place where I should despair.

Despair would be appropriate if I were still holding the reigns of my life….and (very thankfully!) I am not.

Sometimes, however, I spend years toiling and struggling with different “mirages” that threaten to consume and even define my life.

Worse yet, often I allow them to slow the pace of my life, sometimes re-routing myself entirely….having no idea that if I just kept pressing on….if I just kept walking steadfastly in that direction….the day would come when I would be able to look at that thing and declare that it had no power over me whatsoever.

Amazing!

My thought for the night?  May we run head-on to attack areas of our lives that hold places of power that were never meant to be.

I still have a long ways to go….but freedom in this area is a new “taste” for me.

I don’t intend to ever let go of it…And THAT is very much a “joyful something” to me.

:)

 

 

 

One, Two, Three….FOUR months In!!

 

***I have been having internet problems for quite some time now….leaving me starving for blog time!  I’ll spare you the story, but for now let me just take a brief second to log-on and celebrate by saying***:

Today is my 4-Month Anniversary of eating a “Trim and Healthy” way….and I am down

39.6lbs!!!

(Or, as is important to sometimes remind myself….)

I am officially down Nineteen Thousand, Eight-Hundred Cups O’ Kale

:)

To celebrate, I am off to enjoy some organically sweetened Greek yogurt, mixed with Red Raspberries, dark chocolate, and chopped almonds….(topped off with coffee and cream on the side, of course)….rough eating life, for sure  :)

Happy Friday!

Three Months Down!!

 

Well, I’ve made it 3 months.

(Me….at Christmas with one of my nieces):

 

photo (7)

(Me, taken randomly last week to show my mom a new haircut):

10351956_10152465638315450_2117268920098353687_n(1)

 

I see a difference.

I am feeling sooo much better.

It reminds me of a good friend of mine:

hope

Hope.

Hope for change.

No small thing :)

Three months of blending my foods differently, and staying away from processed sugar in any way.

{**This is me pausing to actually pat myself on the back!  pretty darn proud of myself over here!!  haha!!**}

 

I see often online these different forums where women will post blog links that contain their “Top 10 tips” for doing the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating….

I decided I would do my own as well :)

So….over 30 pounds down in 3 months time…..LOVING nearly every single minute of this way of eating…..without further ado:

Beth’s “Top Ten for Staying on THM” (so…it kind of rhymed, right? ;))

10)  Do NOT overthink this way of eating.  At it’s simplist state, it really is all about simple food combining: meat’s with veggies, fruits, and plan-approved breads…..that really is it.  All of the secrets, add-in’s, recipes….they are ALL secondary.  Every.  Last. One.  Keep it simple….it WILL work!!

9)  ALWAYS keep an easy form of protein on-hand….at ALL times!!  What are mine?  (sooo glad you asked!! haha!)  I have grown to ALWAYS have cottage cheese, greek yogurt, turkey-jerky sticks (target brand…very tasty) and canned chicken on hand.  At ALL times.  This gives me a bit of variety to pull a fast protein from, and helps to keep me from feeling desperate in any situation.  Those turkey sticks can be bought individually wrapped for easy storage in your glove compartment for times when you are out-and-about and get hungry.  I find if I know one thing I can eat, it is often easier to build from there.  They are lean enough that you can have 2, with an apple or something for an easy “E” meal as well…

8)  3 words: “Honest Fizz” and “Zevia”.   Soda that God sent straight from Heaven to help a self-confessed soda-aholic like myself!  haha!  Honestly, I am sipping on some right now…it has helped me get off Coke Zero, Coke, Pepsi Max….you name it.  Stevia-sweetened.  Some of the cans are actually  “Organic” certified as well, for anyone who loves stuff like that (how to “have-your-junk-and-eat-it-too!!”).  Get some.  I am sold.

7)  “Coconut oil, Egg, on-plan sweetener, cocoa”.  These are the basic ingredients that I have packed up OODLES of times to take to whatever party, or get-together that I am going to that night.  They allow me to make a quick, 1-minute dessert that I can enjoy with little fan-fair, or high-maintenance help from my guests that I am visiting….all I need is a coffee mug, a bit of baking powder, some water, and maybe some vanilla or something….and Wa-la!!  Dessert is served!  I rely on these….. a LOT!!  I have yet to find a single person who is offended that I am making my own dessert, and it leaves me feeling satisfied and easily able to take a “pass” on whatever they happen to be enjoying.  Total WIN in my book!!

6) Go-Too “Fatty” Foods.  This one sounds a bit odd, but one of my favorite things about THM is that I am able to truly enjoy a grilled burger, with cheese and bacon.  Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that in my book!  I love to grill, and I love to enjoy a burger, or steak or whatever….and NOT have to worry about weighing, or cutting back on my go-too “fixings”.  In my mind, I would rather start my grill and enjoy my awesome burger, instead of stopping at nearly ANY place to grab something for dinner on my way home.  My grocery store has these great little pre-made “burger mignon” burgers…they are cheap.  They are already made.  They are delicious!  My tip:  find your go-to splurge meal and always keep the items for that meal on-hand at ALL times….it will be a total life-savor for you!!  Every single time I make something like that I am reminded of all of the diet variations I have tried that would have made me modify that simple meal in some way…..but not THM!!!  I am loving this and see no end to the possibilities of eating this way!!

5) Go-Too “fatty” dessert.  I mentioned above my little cakes that I have made all over the tri-state area(!!)….but when I am at home, there are a few other desserts I rely on as well.  I blogged about my peanut butter cheesecake pie, but haven’t done one yet on the little mini pies that I whip up on a moment’s notice as well.  I do a simple version of that pb pie and have it with dinner…often.  Just last weekend, I was home visiting my parents, and knew we were having people over for dinner.  Without a single special trip to the grocery store, I somehow managed to make a mini-blackberry, cream cheese pie for myself to indulge in that day after dinner.  It was honestly delicious, and took me all of 5 minutes to make in advance…..well worth the time.  So, while everyone else was enjoying their homemade peach pie and cake….I was sitting there with a smile on my face knowing that I was enjoying mine….while losing weight as well.  It doesn’t get much better than that!!  haha!

4) Coffee.  I love coffee so very much that I decided it needed its very own section.  Coffee.  Coffee mixed either with real cream for an “S” setting, or blended with a tiny amount of coconut oil, protein powder, and almond milk for an “E” setting.  Either way: it is hot, tasty, and satisfying.  I simply love it.  If I ever go out to eat and am at a total loss as to what I could have for dessert…..ordering some great coffee and cream always seem to do the trick.  It is cozy, and tides me over until I get home and am able to sneak a little treat to cap-off my meal!!

3)  Laughing Cow Cheese.  These little guys go a loooong way in my book!  The Light ones are a total life-savor and have helped me make a meal on a moment’s notice many times.  My current fav?  Wasa Sourdough cracker, slathered with French Onion Laughing cow, and topped with a small can of shredded canned chicken, sprinkled with salt and pepper.  So, so, so good!!  Had it for lunch literally every single day this week!!  LOVE it!!  If you have some leftover ground beef that needs to be used up, heat a small portion and then add some laughing cow cheese to it when it’s hot.  It is so creamy and good!  That, with some taco sauce or salsa, mixed with lettuce or whatever you have on hand….thrown into a Joseph’s Pita….Easy and tasty as a “taco”!!

2)  Don’t spend too much time on online forums.  I know.  This may sound odd, because I LOVE the Trim Healthy Mama FB groups….but, let’s face it, they can get to be a bit exhausting!!!    Someday’s the best thing I do is to NOT get online and see all the different posts and recipes that everyone is talking about.  Take a break.  Take some time to just focus on the great recipes in the book, or to enjoy your “old-faithful’s” that you know you already love.  Too much….can simply be too much!!  Reading too many of other people’s thoughts can make my head spin before I know it!!  I can’t tell you how confused I can easily become from reading other people’s opinions on whomever’s meal they happened to post in hopes of seeing if it was “on-plan”.  Overload and sometimes even annoyance (yes I said it!), can happen quickly!  It can be overboard and can lead you to feel easily entangled in bondage to food rules, rather than focusing on the enjoyment of the “food FREEDOM” that this awesome book promotes!!!  Never forget who authored the book.  These women, though I do not know them, seem full of grace, fun, and easy-going ways.  They want this to be a way of life.  So what if you couldn’t hold out three hours before eating your next meal?  Tomorrow you can!  I once had a lady critique my meal, telling me that it had “2grams” higher carbs for an “s” setting than it should……you know what?  Eat it anyway!!  You are not eating that meal every single day, and your life is going to last a very long time.  Enjoy the meal.  Next time you can tweak it or change it or opt for a different choice!!!  (and I still managed to lose weight that week, by the way :))  I honestly believe that they all mean well….but just remember that this is your thing.  Ask God to help you to learn your body and cling to the impressions that He gives you along the way….He will be my biggest help and advocate, any day of the week.

1)  Grace.  Giving myself grace.  We have heard it before and will hear it thousands of times throughout this journey….but longevity really is the key to success.  Slow.  So what if I mix-up a meal?  So what if I had too many cashews with my “Eggroll in a Bowl”, and threw it in to Crossover territory?  {{I didn’t know!!!!}}  Next time will be different!  Or maybe, you just have to tell yourself that a Crossover meal….any day….is better than the 2000+ calorie meal that you would have easily consumed at your old favorite food-spot in town.  Eat. Enjoy.  Relax….Repeat!!!  This is working for me and will work for you!!  One day at a time….one pant’s-size down at a time.  That really is what it is all about.

 

Here’s to enjoying the journey, the Trim and Healthy way!!!

Monday Morning Weigh-In!

 

33 pounds lost as of this morning!!!

{{Woohoo!!!}}

I previously stated my weight-loss in terms of sticks of butter, but today I had something else in mind.

Last year I wrote a blog about how many cups of spinach are equivalent to the different foods that we eat (particularly to a certain salad that I love at Chili’s).

I thought for fun that I would revisit said topic…. :)

So….

I could just say that I am 33 pounds down, celebrate, and move on….

OR…..

I could tell you that 33 pounds equals out to be roughly 115,500 Calories saved on my eating changes since beginning THM on March 11.

OR….

I could tell you that 33 pounds equals out to be roughly 16,500 cups ‘o spinach that I have spared my body from digesting……since March 11th.

hahaha!!

Okay, sorry…couldn’t help myself :)

Happy Monday!

Garlic Parmesan Fries

 

Garlic, Parmesan, and Butter?….{oh my!}

squashfries4

I love french fries….but traditional fries do not seem to love my waistline :)

So, I have been experimenting with some new versions.

We have all tried sweet potato fries, which I love, but I wanted a fry  that would allow me to butter it up, put some sort of cheese on it, or dip it into some sort of yum-sauce if I wanted.

Basically, I wanted to be able to have it in a savory setting.  Because I am learning to eat in a “Trim and healthy way” (THM), I am learning that sweet potato fries are best kept to a meal that is higher in carbs, but not higher in fat.

Let’s face the facts, though: sometimes I want a meal that is higher in fat, and I am more than willing to sacrifice the carbs in order to get it!

 

Behold:

Butternut squash fries

(For THM’ers reading this…butternut squash is a member of the “winter squash family”, which is allowed in an “S” setting….yay!!)

squashfries3

Most of the time when I am craving fries….I am craving them to pair alongside something like a bacon cheeseburger, or in tonight’s case, a Tri-Tip Steak with savory garlic butter.

{It was good}.

{It was really good!}

:)

I found a link on the Food Network regarding how to cook these, but ended up abandoning it and ad-libbing a bit (such a rebel, I know)

So…grab a butternut squash next time you are at the store and try babies out!

butternutsquash

 

Cut them into “fry-size” pieces….make sure to pat them dry before baking.

squashfries

 

Basically, once they were dry, I placed them on a greased broiler pan (I used spray coconut oil).

Bake them at 425, for about 20 minutes on each side.

When they were soft, and beginning to seem done, I transferred them into a saute pan, added a small pat of butter, some fresh garlic, and let them crisp up a bit more.

squashfries2

 

And then I thought about the fresh Parmesan that was calling my name from the fridge…. :)

freshparm

 

A little of that, sprinkled over the top of those little squash fries??

Let’s just say that, for once, my steak was not the main event of dinner.

These were.

And they were delicious!

What can I say?  It’s important to get your veggies in for the day….. :)

squashfries5

 

Try them.

I know you will like them!

Garlic Parmesan Fries
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic, or to taste
  • 1 TB butter
  • Grated fresh Parmesan
  • Sea Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the Squash lengthwise to reveal the seeds. Scoop pulp and seeds out and discard. Basically...just start chopping! It's not as bad as you think...I just kept cutting lengthwise until I got the sizes that I wanted. After squash is cut, place between 2 sheets of paper towel, and pat until dry. Spray a broiler pan (or baking sheet) with coconut oil (or oil of your choice). Lay squash out in single-layer. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Bake 425, for 20 minutes. Take out of oven and flip fries. Bake additional 15-20 minutes.
  3. When fries seem to be turning brown and crisp, transfer to a saute pan, add butter, garlic, and a bit more sea salt...saute for approx. 5-7 minutes, or until tender to your liking.
  4. Top with grated Parmesan....enjoy!!!

 

Joy Unspeakable

 

Joy.

 

It’s been on my mind all week long.

Actually….for the last several weeks now.

It is absolutely one of my favorite of all favorite things.

It’s tangible.

It’s contagious.

It’s Life-Giving.

It’s…..so real.

 

A few years ago, I had the privilege of going to India on a short, two-week trip.

There were so many memories made in that time, but one of them stands out to me above all of the rest.

 

lepercolony

Yes.

A real, live Leper Colony.

(I pretty much had no idea that they still existed….I know, probably sounds a little ignorant on my part, but it’s the truth!)

 

I’m not quite sure how to say this, without just coming out and saying it:

It was the closest I have come to feeling like I got a glimpse of actual “hell-on-earth”.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not trying to downplay Hell…..I’m just saying: The Leper Colony was absolutely the worst thing imaginable.

Quite literally, it was the darkest place I have ever been in the world.

I’ve never seen human beings in mass that had their fingers, hands, toes, feet and other various body parts eaten away.

It was hot.  Humid.  Dry.  Dirty.

Desolate.

People were just sitting in clusters all throughout the area.

Other’s were wandering around, with no destination in mind.

One look in their eyes and their story was made plain to you.

Proverb’s says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”…..

That day I met a lot of sick people, living long after hope had passed….all around us….like dead men walking.

I’m not being dramatic, I promise.

I remember it so vividly and think of it often.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there were overhead speakers that projected throughout the village.

{We were there for several hours.}

The entire time that we were there, one single, solitary line of a Hindu song  was being played on repeat.

All.

Day.

Long.

Same line.

Over…and over…and over again.

I felt as though I was experiencing water torture, only without the water.

I saw, in those hours, some of the saddest states of humanity that you could possibly imagine.

People were crowded into different buildings.

The cast-away’s of society.

Literally.

I sat with one woman who had flies buzzing around in her eyes.  They were actually walking on her eyeballs and she laid there doing nothing about it.  She was so listless and completely empty that I was left wondering how much longer she would be alive.

Even now as I write, I easily feel that same sick feeling that was with me the entire time we were there.

I walked through that village, asking the Lord questions like:

“Where are You in all of this mess?  Why do you allow these things to go on?”

Honestly, I would love to talk about ministry and how it was such a great experience that day.

I would love to share about what we did for those people that we knew to be created in and made in God’s image.  Those people that the Lord sees, knowing their entire life stories.

I would love to talk about the aid devices that we were able to hand out to many of them, in hopes that they would be able to eat their food easier (and how they had to hide them from the colony director’s, who would have confiscated them to sell for money…soooo sad.)

I would love to talk about how we quietly sat with some, prayed with others, and simply passed out balloons and candy to the kids (yes…they live there too).

If I were to be honest with you, though, I would just tell you the truth:

I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit it but it is the truth.

I absolutely disdained the entire experience.

And then………we walked in to a building and met this man:

joyfulleper

 

I still cannot believe it.

In the midst of the greatest human misery I have ever experienced, when I couldn’t imagine staying in that place for a single hour longer than required…..there was this man.

Completely blind.

I know for sure that he was missing a full foot on one leg but I am actually thinking it may have been the same on his other one as well.

He sat there….living in a total dump.

And yet….he was unmistakably Filled to the absolute fullness of nothing less than total and complete joy.

He sat there, grinning from ear to ear.

He loved the Lord and he loved to sing.

He sang us a hymn that was one of his favorites.

I was at a total loss for words.

I still am.

I couldn’t do anything but cry.

If God took me to that place for no other reason, it was to teach me a huge lesson about the power of joy.

Joy Unspeakable.

Joy Undefinable.

Joy that simply cannot be explained or understood.

Joy given only from the Spirit of God Himself.

Joy that is able to transform any situation that we find ourselves immersed in.

 

We had the most amazing time with that man, and I literally felt uplifted just by being around him.

I sat here tonight looking at his photo, and smiled at how fitting it was that he was wearing an outfit that was all white that day.

In the midst of such filth and suffering….there he sat.

Shining, beautiful, and full of life.

He shared with us that he actually had a family that lived outside of the village.  He had (honestly and truly) asked that they put him in the colony because he didn’t want to be a burden on his loved ones any longer.

Ohmygosh!!!

I cannot even imagine.

Can you?

There are so many, many passages in the Bible that talk about the “least of these”.

Verses like,

“The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

Or,

“He has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong.”

I could go on and on.

 

That day, however, I had the honor of meeting an unknown man, who had riches that most people know nothing about.

 

Joy cannot be faked.

It cannot be made-up, or dressed up as something else.

I’m talking about deep, Living waters of Joy.

A well that is easily replenished.

Jesus Himself.

 

The amazing thing?

With Him, there are no exclusive clubs.

None.

“But I don’t know Him, Beth”

{Ask Him to reveal Himself to you}.

“I don’t know how to pray, Beth”

{Tell Him that and ask Him to honor the fact that you are running to Him, regardless of your feelings or abilities (they amount to nothing anyway)}.

“I think the Bible is boring, Beth”

{Tell Him….and ask Him to bring it to life for you….and then start somewhere…anywhere (I started in Luke, years ago….1 measly little chapter a day.  Sometimes I “got it”, and other times I didn’t.  Just keep reading….It will change your entire being.}

He is more than able.

His understanding is without limit.

He sees us whether we are surrounded by great riches, or living in total squalor.

He sees.

He hears.

He knows.

It’s both comforting and sobering, all at that same time, isn’t it?!

 

Tonight’s “joyful something”?

Joy itself.

In its rawest form  :)

I look forward to meeting the man from India again, someday…when he is able to walk and see…..now that will be a joyful something.

27 pounds down…

This morning I celebrated 27lbs down!  (Woohoo!!)

I’m not even going to tell you that this equals

one-hundred-and-eight sticks of butter.

108!

Not bad.

I’m still completely excited about how things are going.

I’m still intrigued with all of the recipe variations that I keep coming across.

I’m still grateful that I am not having to weigh, count, or tally my food selections in any way.

However, aside from the weight-loss, I just wanted to take a second and mention a few of my current “non-scale” victories.

Some of these were so subtle that it took me awhile to begin to notice them.

And they might seem like small things to you…..but that is why they are called “non-scale victories”.

:)

First, I am rather enjoying wearing jewelry again.

This may seem like an odd one, as you are obviously more than able to wear jewelry at any weight….but when I don’t like how I am feeling, typically the last thing I want to do is put on some pretty jewelry to add to the not-so-pretty outfit that I may feel is not-so-flattering, to the body that I am not-so-happy about. (that was a mouthful!)

I know this about myself.

So, I always know I have turned a corner in how I am feeling when I find myself rummaging through my “sparkly pretties” in hopes of adding a little something to my outfit.

I notice the difference.

Then there was this last Friday.

I finally decided that I couldn’t take it any longer and went shopping for some new Spring clothes.

I purchased a cute pair of girly, frilly, foo-foo-ey type of sandals.

(Unhappy, depressed-about-her-weight Beth does not purchase said sandals.)

This, my friends, is another sign that things…..they are a changin’.

Thankfully!

I’ve noticed other things as well.  I don’t shudder as much at the thought of having my picture taken, for one.  This is no small thing to me.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I said the words as much, because I am still very much aware of just how much weight I have left to lose.

And how many times I have attempted to lose it all before.

And before again.

:)

However, I was just telling a good friend today that this time, as opposed to all of my previous times, I am not holding my breath….secretly wondering just-how-long I can keep whatever diet or eating plan going.

I’m also not running a crazy amount (for me, anyway) of miles every day in hopes that my exercise will outweigh my appetite.

By the way….that last sentence?….that one about exercising “outweighing” your appetite?

It doesn’t.

Learned that one the hard way, and let me just say:  No true life-change can come about until you tackle the very act of putting your fork to your mouth….just a thought.

:)

So, life is very good.

It’s always been good.

But very good is always a great thing.

I still have a long way to go, but contentment feels wonderful and I don’t plan on budging from this place.

Ever!

Thank you Trim Healthy Mama…this girl is forever grateful to have discovered your way of eating!!

 

Happy Sunday, friends!

 

Spiced-Walnut Cake

 

spicewalnutcake2

 

I decided it was time to share this one :)

 

Am I alone in my extreme love for Saturday mornings?

I crave this morning…

all. week. long.

I love taking it slow.

I love leisurely walking my little Shih-tzu.

I love making a great cup of coffee and not hurrying through it.

Last but not least, I love enjoying said cup o’ Joe with something tasty and delicious.

Enter: Spiced-Walnut Cake.

I could eat this one every day…it’s that good!!

{A friend of mine even tells me that this is far better tasting than my Crisis Cake, that I blogged about awhile back (whenever she makes something that doesn’t sit that well with her, she reminds me that “surely your taste buds must be changing”.  hahaha!!!  Love my friends!!)}

You can enjoy it with, or without frosting…..

spicewalnutcake1

But I still can’t figure out why you would choose to go without :)

And, yes….it is made in a mug.

:)

Translation:

Perfect ease in making.

Perfect clean-up.

Perfect single-serving.

I just enjoyed mine yet again this morning, and still cannot believe that I get to eat amazing treats like this and lose weight….but, hey, I’m not complaining!

 

Here’s to hoping that your Saturday morning is off to a great start as well!!   :)

 

Spiced Walnut Cake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 TB water
  • 1 TB coconut oil
  • ½ TB Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Allspice
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 TB Truvia
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 TB Flax Meal
  • 1 large TB Almond Flour
  • Small, half-handful of chopped walnuts
  • Frosting:
  • 2tsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp softened cream cheese
  • dash vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Truvia to taste
  • *garnish with a few more chopped walnuts*
Instructions
  1. I make the frosting up first: in small bowl combine all frosting ingredients. I never plan ahead to set out the cream cheese to soften, so I just microwave my desired amount for about 5-7 seconds, until soft. Makes for a much smoother frosting. Then add the Greek yogurt, Truvia, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Cake:
  3. In large coffee mug:
  4. Add egg and water and beat well. Add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, Truvia, and salt. Beat well with fork until mixed through. Add Baking powder and stir again. Add Flax meal and Almond Flour. Stir with fork until mixed through. Lastly, add coconut oil...solid or liquid works fine, just make sure and beat it in with your fork until it looks well-combined. Once all ingredients are well-mixed, add the chopped walnuts. Give a quick stir just to combine nuts. MIcrowave on high for 1minute.
  5. Once done, transfer to small plate, cut in half, and add your frosting and garnish of walnuts.
  6. Enjoy!!

 

Lazy-Girl Lasagna

 

easylasagna

Let’s face it: When I get home from work, it is usually at least Six o’clock (if I’m lucky!).

I leave for work at 5:45.

This equals…..a long day.

This equals…..a tired day.

This equals…..sore feet.

:)

All of this often adds up to me not wanting to make dinner….in any form.

But I do love me some lasagna… :)

Pioneer Woman has the absolute best lasagna recipe that I have ever tasted.  It is super delicious, and a total crowd-pleaser.

It also, unfortunately, takes time.

And I don’t usually spring for recipes that take time during the work-week.

So….behold: My “time cheat-version” of  a tasty Lasagna!

**It is also extremely low-carb, making a perfect “S” meal for THM-style eating (if this sounds like a foreign language to you….just assume that it is, shrug it off….and move on to the recipe section! haha! :))**

easylasagna2

The other night I decided to ad-lib and came up with this….and I have been eating off of it all week.

My version makes a 9×9 pan, but you could tweak it if needed for a 9×13, etc.

Enjoy!!

Lazy-Girl Lasagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Large Yellow Squash, thinly sliced length-wise (one of those mandolin slicer's works perfectly)
  • 1½ cups, low-fat cottage cheese
  • Approx. ½ of a 24 oz Jar Spaghetti sauce (whatever sauce you like...I like Classico because it is no sugar-added!)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 4, pre-cooked sausage patties, crumbled (or if you have time you can cook your own!)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Dried Oregano, to taste
  • Dried Thyme, to taste
  • Dried Basil, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, salt, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and basil to taste. I admit that I am a bit of an over-doer when it comes to these seasonings, but it makes for a tasty finish! The rest is simple. Slice your yellow squash. Take out a 9x9 pan. Start with a thin layer of sauce on the very bottom. Align sliced squash to cover the sauce. Next, top with half of cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle liberal amount of Parmesan cheese. Apply another thin layer of sauce. Add any remaining squash (I had enough for two layers). Next, layer the crumbled sausage. Add remaining cottage cheese mixture. On top, add one last thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle liberal amount of Parmesan and top with Mozzarella Cheese. Bake 350 degrees for 35-40minutes, or until cheese topping is bubbly throughout. *my only tip is to go easy on the sauce, as the squash will cook down in its own juice, so it could get soupy quick if you had too much sauce to begin with!!*
  2. *also...feel free to sub out ricotta cheese if that is all you have!*
  • Meet Beth

    Originally from Northern Iowa, I now work and reside in the Greater Kansas City area. Having struggled with my weight for over 16 years, I am finally “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. (read more)
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