the times are changin'
Powered by Blogger.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

2-week (i think) menu plan for two

HUGE DISCLAIMER: i have NOT done this plan yet. this is A PLAN for the next two weeks. i am sure there are some mistakes in this, but i will try my best to let you know changes that needed to be made (whether i bought too much or not enough, etc) along the way. 

i'll be the first to say...this plan seems like way too much food. and i may indeed discover this is a 3-week menu plan. i have to remind myself of a few things when i get overwhelmed by the list's length:
  1. i haven't really left any room in the plan for meals out. (there are two evenings that are "leftovers or out.")
  2. a lot of ingredients go into making meals from scratch.
  3. there a number of things on my list that are pantry "staples."
  4. i will have a number of things left over from this grocery trip that i can use in the second half of the month and beyond, making future bills smaller.
  5. food is kind of important. 
without further ado, here is the 2 week menu plan for 2. the menu plan (pdf doc) is a list of types of meals with no specific dates involved. once i actually have the food, i will probably try to plan it out a little bit to make sure there's nothing that will go bad, but with an awkward, inconsistent summer schedule, i have no reason to believe any strict plan i develop would be adhered to. let me explain how it works using the first meal:
Breakfast dishes:
Apple butter (lots of it) &; English muffins (2)
12 apples
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp all spice
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
½ cup milk
2 tbsp butter
3 cups flour
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup cornmeal

underlined is the "category" of meals. bolded is the meal/dish. after some meals/dishes there is number in parentheses--this number is the amount of times we will eat that meal during the 2 weeks; my example shows that we will have english muffins with apple butter for breakfast at least two mornings. underneath each meal/dish is the list of ingredients needed. 

after the list of meals with individual ingredients lists, there is a comprehensive grocery list. there are a number of items on the list that do no have quantities because they are a staple in my household; for example, olive oil. for some of the items, i went ahead and rounded (because i don't think anyone is going to let you buy 1/4 of a poblano chili pepper.)

but what about the recipes, you ask? because my laptop tends to be my cookbook (there have been so many near-accidents using this lil guy in the kitchen, i really probably should come up with a better system), i don't really see the need to make a separate document. i use pinterest. i have a board called "to cook" where i pin any recipe that interests me. i make a new board called "to menu-plan" each time i start a new weekly plan and pin the recipes i'm using there. i delete the board after the week (or in this case, the two weeks) ends, and then start a new one. because i know not everyone is on pinterest, i have listed the recipes i am using below with links to the recipes (if there are recipes needed). i hope this post inspires you to try some new things in your kitchen! 

Recipes Used 
(Comprehensive List of All Meals Here)
Breakfast dishes:

Lunch dishes:

Dinner dishes:
Salmon in a bag* & orzo w/ parm
Irish Stew
*Salmon in a bag did not have a website: Tin foil, lemon, salmon, butter, wrap it up tightly and bake for 25 minutes at 300 °


Sweet things:


Pin It!

6 reasons i struggle with menu planning

i've done this before, but i'm doing it again. Menu Planning! you might remember from one of my recent posts about trying to greatly decrease our grocery bill each month. currently we are spending way too much on food mostly because we are not planning well. my goal for july is to not only to plan but to track what i spend purely on food when grocery shopping to see where we can start not only eating healthier (which is another one of my goals) but eating cheaper--which, honestly, are seemingly two very opposing goals in our culture these days. i think once you realize that you're struggling with something, it's important to figure out why exactly you're struggling with it, so here are the reasons i struggle with menu planning and making grocery bills smaller:
  1. time.  i have tons of time right now to scour the pinterest boards for recipes, meticulously plan a menu, and spend tons of time baking in advance or making snack foods rather than purchasing them...but i am not going to have all this time once the school year begins again.
  2. space. we have a very small freezer and very limited pantry space, so planning in advance or buying in bulk can be difficult because many of the plans i have come across require lots of storage space, which we simply do not have.
  3. health. it's difficult to find the healthiest choicest that also save you money. organic is so much more expensive, and cheap/processed foods, which are already cheaper, also tend to be on sale more often. further, buying fresh is so difficult to plan out because if you're anything like me fresh foods go bad before i even have the chance to use it all. 
  4. numbers. i honestly think it's very difficult to plan for two. it may be because so many things you buy are intended for families of four. our leftovers are either way too much--so we get tired of the dish and don't want to eat it anymore before it goes bad (i'd freeze it, but remember, we don't have a lot of freezer space)--or there's only enough for one person left--what do you do with that when you're trying to plan out all your meals, including lunches? 
  5. energy/patience. sometimes i just really don't want to cook and just want to go out to eat. although i think it's fine for this to happen every once and a while if you have some extra money to eat out happens way too often in our house.
  6. pickiness. there are some dishes i could eat anytime, anywhere. there are lots of dishes, though, that because of very specific tastes or current stomach-situations, i am not always in the mood for. 
hopefully the next couple of months can be a good period of trial and error, where i can learn the methods that work best for our family of two. i will be posting my theories and learned-lessons along the way, and hopefully they will help someone else out there, too, if for no other reasons than helping you realize that you're not the only one who struggles with wanting to be that awesome mother-of-five who has all these amazing methods for saving money while eating really good food and creating amazing crafts and being in really great shape--and who has the time to actually blog all about it at the same time! i just don't know how some of these women do what they do! but i must not do what i do to be like them but to be who i am and try to be living more sustainably and healthily and productively, resting in the grace that i am loved regardless of how cool my blog is or what size jeans i'm wearing. 
Pin It!


day 17 of project 365
Dear Blog Readers,
I am a distraction because of my cuteness, and that is what my mom claims as an excuse for missing a day or two this week in her blog project. I actually know it's because she forgets things when she's not in a scheduled routine. But, I mean, I am pretty stinking cute, so I guess it could be that, too.
Sincerely Yours,
Glazed Blueberry Halstensgard
Pin It!

Friday, June 29, 2012


day 16 of project 365
routines in the summer are hard.
Pin It!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars

day 15 of project 365
our a/c is it is too hot to function right now; therefore, my brain doesn't really have much to offer, but i will leave you with this. an awesome recipe that i tried today from Brandy's Baking. they heated up the house baking in the oven (believe me, i would not have been baking if i had realized the a/c was completely not working. had i realized my true predicament, i would have gone with an icebox dessert), but since they are refrigerated, they were refreshing and cool once it was time to eat them.

chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars
Ingredients (9-12 servings)

·      1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (Note from me: I had no graham crackers, so I improvised with an old single serving bag of Fudge Stripe cookies and a handful of mini almond biscotti cookies from TJs)
·      5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
·      5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
·      1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
·      3 tablespoons granulated sugar
·      1/4 teaspoon salt
·      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·      3/4 cup flour
·      2/3 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:
·      10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
·      1/4 cup sugar
·      1 large egg, room temperature
·      1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.
3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside. (*Note from Brandy: This mixture is going to be dry...that’s okay. It’s rather like a crumble topping. You’re going to crumble it on top of the cheesecake layer. Note from me: See...I might have just messed up the ingredients or something, but my mixture was far from dry. It was probably my mistake, but we'll see when i try this recipe again.)
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.
6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.
Source: My Baking Addiction via Brandy's Baking
Pin It!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

peacemaking attempts

day 14 of project 365
this stare-off lasted for a good 3 minutes or more. 
and then turned into this for another few minutes. blueberry would not move for anything. he's definitely just as scared if not more scared than samson is.
Pin It!

Monday, June 25, 2012

glazed blueberry comes home

day 13 of project 365
cuddle time.
he can actually be quite the model.
this was the only toy we could find without a squeaker (the squeaking encourages the "prey instinct" in dogs, which we don't want to encourage since he's living with a kitty). he took right to it, thank goodness.
 they're not exactly best friends, but samson has been so brave and held his ground. blueberry might be a little more afraid of him than samson is of blueberry.
our dear friends sent us this picture as a "welcome home" for blue. we can't wait for blue and tobes to be bff's.
Pin It!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

home sweet home

day 12 of project 365
there are 3 things on my mind:
1) i am so incredibly glad to finally be home again. st-arts was great, but i'm very glad it's over.
2) according to a blog i read this week, 2-member families should only have to spend $150 a month on groceries. i do not know how on earth someone does this unless they are big into coupons or something. i know we could easily cut off some expenses, but i just don't know that $150 is going to cut it for every single meal for a month for two people. that's $2.50 each per day. i just don't know if i'm buying it. i'd like to try, though. here are some pins i found today that might help:
3) blueberry comes home tomorrow!
also, this is how samson decided to ride home from being away from us for 3 weeks.
i hope samelton and berrilton will become best friends.

Pin It!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2 year anniversary trip

day 11 of project 365

Pin It!

Friday, June 22, 2012

fail, or summer

day 10 of project 365
oops. i forgot yesterday. it wasn't laziness or a decision that something was more important...i just forgot. that's what makes it annoying for me. alas. the 3-week camp i taught it is now at a close, so we're getting ready to transfer back into "normal" life, except that it's summer, so i don't go to work.
in other news, we get this guy on monday:
and in early celebration of our 2-year wedding anniversary, we get to see dolphins, penguins, and otters at the best aquarium ever tomorrow! yaaaaaaaay summer!
Pin It!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


day 9 of project 365
that whole routine i wrote about? yeah, i haven't done that in days. when i was sleep alone on campus, it was so easy to be in routine. staying with the hubs at in-laws? really hard to be in that routine. taken out of the on-campus context, i went right back to sleeping until the last second, being groggy and feeling unprepared for the day. it's very frustrating. i've just gotten very tired. oh so tired. but that's the worst time to lose healthy routines. i haven't been drinking as much water, or eating as much fruit, or taking my vitamins. counter-productive. hopefully once i get home for real, i can get into a routine that works for me in that environment.
Pin It!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

inspirational fabrics from hawthorne threads

day 8 of project 365
one of my favorite people in the whole wide world has recently introduced me to a fantastic website: hawthorne threads. it's  been so helpful for me coming up with ideas for our new apartment. i've been browsing by theme and by color. so exciting! i can't fully explain how awesome this is, so let me just show you.
first you pick a fabric you like, and you'll find an enlarged picture and other important information.
then below this, you have all of these amazing options: coordinating prints (if there are any), the same print in alternate colorways (if there are any), and then--my personal favorite--a filter for finding coordinating prints by COLOR.
i chose the mustard color and came up with all these color choices (that actually continue for a really long time, but i can't get a screen shot like that):

so needless to say, i am having lots of fun looking at this overwhelming amount of awesome fabric choices, especially i am specifically trying to find prints for curtains, lampshades, cushions, but i keep getting distracted by prints i want to use for skirts, bags, aprons, etc. i am going to post below some of my personal favorites, and i'd love to hear your feedback on some of the choices!

 i have, obviously, found lots of prints that i really like, but i still feel as though i have a lot of looking to do. hopefully some sewing projects will be starting soon!

Pin It!

Monday, June 18, 2012

7:365, or checkpoint 1

day 7 of project 365
i have accomplished blogging everyday for one week. it really wasn't that difficult, but i don't foresee it continuing to be this easy. i have one more week at the arts camp i am currently teaching, then it will be back to greenville for the rest of the summer until we move to clemson in august. i will no longer be in a set routine/schedule, so this goal will rely on my self-discipline of committing to a routine/schedule. my self-discipline has never been that reliable in its consistency. what i have to remember is that i am capable of much more than i think i am capable of--this is true mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. for example, i am starting that oh so difficult process of getting into shape. there's a huge part of me that thinks that it is impossible for me to get into shape to run (and survive) a 5K. that doubt is based on my past experiences of never getting anywhere with working out. but i know intellectually that my body is capable--capable of even more than a 5K. my body is capable of waking up earlier than it wants to, functioning on fewer calories than it's used to, and performing more than it imagines possible. well, with that short almost-too-cliche-for-my-taste pep talk, i'm off.
Pin It!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


day 6 of project 365
people--family, friends, neighbors--have been so generous this week to help provide for us during this life transition. we've been given furniture, money, opportunities to work, etc. and everything has been coming together so easily. this is such a blessing when i've been spending the last week looking at budgeting our money for the next year. it seems like everytime i get overwhelmed and don't understand how on earth this is all going to work out, someone steps in and helps provide for us in a very unanticipated way. this is also such a lesson. the hubs and i had been reading through the book of hebrews together and were both overcome by the passage below. people have been providing so graciously for us, and we ought not be misers with the blessings, but freely live and bountifully give without fear because the Lord will (obviously, as he has indeed shown this week) provide for us. thank you to all who have dealt bountifully with us without fear; may we also embody that same spirit as we build relationships with other people.

Hebrews 13
 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
     “The Lord is my helper;
                      I will not fear;
                        what can man do to me?”
Pin It!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

new direction, or goals for moving

day 5 of project 365
i have failed to announce to blog readers a brand new direction the hubs and i are taking. in august, we will be moving to clemson, sc for the hubs to start an internship with a local church. he'll be working at the church for 40+ hours a week and also be taking online seminary courses. this internship is a fantastic opportunity to learn the ins and outs of pastoral ministry and help refine his vision for the future. the internship is paid through support raising, meaning, you make the amount of money that you raise. i will still be teaching full-time at the same school next year, so although we would love to raise beyond the base needed for seminary tuition costs (about $5,000), we aren't pressured as of yet to raise all of our living expenses; however, we do have student loans and the desire for a second car so the hubs won't always be relying on the bus system to get where he needs to be. although we have loved greenville, we are excited to feel a strong direction forward after a couple of years of (frustrating, for me) waiting. if you have any questions or would like to help support us, feel free to send me an email!

so with this new move comes packing up our current apartment and moving somewhere new. the past 3 times i've moved, i've felt like i never actually finished unpacking and that i never got the apartment "finished." it's hard, though, when you've lived in a different room/apartment every year for the past 5 it will be six. because of this it is my plan to make this apartment different, to make every room in the apartment functional within the first couple of months of living there (rather than being frustrated for a year, then moving with high hopes and then getting frustrated again for another year). my obstacle, though, is that i only have a week and a half in the apartment before i go back to school full-time. so it is super important for me, being the planner that i am (see yesterday's post if you want to know more about that struggle), to go ahead and think about what i really want to be using the rooms in our new apartment for and seeing what crafts, "recycling" projects, and/or Goodwill trips i can go ahead and accomplish before moving. we are oh so excited about a blessing of absolutely free furniture. the in-laws' neighbors are moving and are giving to us for free all kinds of furniture: a new bed (which has a memory foam top! woo!), 3 dressers/chests of drawers, a corner desk, a cute lil 1 drawer stand, 2 night stands, and a floor lamp. that just saved us several hundreds of dollars that we were planning to spend this summer, and all of the furniture looks really good or has some great potential! see? the bedroom set has yet to be moved over to the in-laws' for storage, but once it's moved, i'll post more pics.
i'll be posting any projects that i'm able to accomplish over the summer.

does anyone have advice about painting furniture? i've never really done it before with more than just some random gold spray paint on an old dining room chair. comment with any advice! happy saturday :)

Pin It!

Friday, June 15, 2012

celebrating life, or this story is not actually about me

day 4 of project 365
first of all, thanks for the comments about running shoes! i am planning to go to a running store this weekend and will definitely keep me eye out for asics.

i am going to use today's post to celebrate a new little one! two of our best friends--our MOH and best man, in fact--met their first child face-to-face last night. i just cannot believe it! it has been SUCH a joy to have known and been able to walk through life together with BK from dating MK, to engagement, to the first few years of marriage, and now she has a baby. ever since i got to really know her heart, her deep desire to be a mother has always been apparent, and how beautiful it is to see that desire met by the Lord! i am so proud of these new parents and CANNOT WAIT TO MEET LIL KLICKERS!
it's so bizarre to see your friends become parents. everytime i saw BK fully pregnant, i always had to take a double check. it didn't help that we moved just a couple of months before they became preggers, but still. that could be me pregnant. crazy town.

i had ice cream with a dear friend last night. we had conversations about lots of things, but as we anticipated the text revealing lil EK's arrival, we kept coming back to the topic of babies. what a comfort it was to find someone else who is having very similar struggles to mine. there are days where my heart just longs for motherhood. there are days where the thoughts of pregnancy and little ones terrifies me. there are days where i desperately want to go to grad school and pursue my art at a higher lever and am, therefore, content in the waiting for kids. it's overwhelming to think about all these things and plans and desires and callings and timing and...all of it. my partner in ice cream patronage spoke words of deep truth that are still resonating in my mind--truth that overwhelms yet completely frees my heart, truth that i love yet constantly rebel against in my anxiety and attempt planning out my life. this thing you're doing, this life you're in, you think you planned it out. you think you got yourself to where you are. but you're wrong--you are part of such a bigger story than any of what you're trying to accomplish. and this story is not about you, and it's not about what you want. the world does not revolve around you, and it does not revolve around me either. rest in that. that truth should free us up to live our lives, allowing what will come to come when it comes. this truth ought not lead us to apathy but to freedom to love more recklessly, live more fully, and breathe more deeply because we get to commit our entire lives and being to living and not to trying to figure it all out and control it all. we can't control it. we can't figure it all out. stop wasting time trying to figure out exactly what you'll be doing in 20 years. this right now, this moment, this season, this is life. and, yes, it's hard not knowing what's in 20 years. it really, really is, especially when it seems like everything is so deeply and intricately woven together in a way that i am afraid of taking the wrong step or signing the right contract. but the answer to that is not obsession, anxiety, or planning. i've tried all those methods, and, you know what? none of them work. they usually, in fact, make things worse. 

i have so many more thoughts about these things. and so many other things to add about how taking risks and walking in a direction are so important and are actually not contrary to anything i have already said, but, alas, it is time to teach middle schoolers how to use their voices.
Pin It!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

headaches and running shoes

day 3 of project 365
whew. i am not in the mood today. it was so difficult to get out of bed this morning. and yesterday by the end of lunch i was done. i've been getting headaches. a lot. i think they are part-tension from fatigue and part-sinus because i'm never without sinus problems. i'm on the lookout for some other headache solutions other than OTC drugs. acetaminophen doesn't work and ibuprofen damages the stomach lining. once i get a paycheck, i'll be going on the search through some homeopathic and herbal remedies and save the drugs for the big migraines i have every so often. i get headaches way too often to be relying on the OTC drugs all the time. i will be tracking any research or awesome remedies i come across here, so be on the lookout if you are anything like me with headaches and meds.

in other news, once i get a paycheck i will also be purchasing new running shoes. yes, running shoes. i am not a runner. but i think i could really enjoy it if i could get to a good rhythm. here's my dilemma other than the fact that i'm out of shape. i have really bad feet and knees already for my age. is running going to be a sustainable form of exercise? i'd like to find something i can start and continue for a long time. but maybe that concern is just null and void until i actually try it and see what happens. the hubs and i are going to start the couch-to-5K program (i think) once i have some good shoes to support these feet of mine. here's a link for the program if you are interested in finding out about it.

do any of you have suggestions for great running shoes? especially for people who need a lot of foot support?
Pin It!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the new routine, or being a morning person

day 2 of project 365
well, so far so good. we are two days in a row now. yesterday i mentioned this blogging being a part of a new daily routine. the word "daily" is a bit of a misnomer. yes, it's every day, but i've really only worked on the first 2 hours of the day. baby steps. the new routine is based on things i've read on blogs or in magazines, things i learned in movement classes as an actor (wow, that sounded pretentious. haha), or things i've come to find help me be a little bit more of a morning person. my biggest obstacle to being a morning person is the initial process of getting out of bed. ah! it's so hard! i have been known to hit the "snooze" for TWO HOURS. this is not a daily thing...but it happens. and unless i'm sick, i always feel worse for doing so. and yet, i still snooze. (why oh why?) the past two mornings i have woken up naturally at 6:30. buuuut i stayed in bed. oops. i find it difficult to get out of bed that early when i don't have to be at work until 9. the mistake i have made in the past when trying to become more of a morning person is waking up earlier but not having a routine or a task. if i get up, get ready and still have an hour to just read or something i will totally crash again. i have to have things to do in the morning that are varied. i really, really, want to become a morning person. my normal full-time job takes way too many hours from my day for me to not savor the mornings. alas, without further ado, here is a basic outline of the new routine. i'm sure it will be tweaked again and again, especially once school starts in august and i have a longer commute, but this seems to be working for now.
  • alarm goes off 1 hr and 45 min before i need to leave for work
  • if i feel groggy, snooze at most for 20 min
  • put in my earbuds, play some tunes, and isolate stretch--here's the best get to do this lying down. roll the ankles, bounce the knees, rotate the hips, rotate the shoulders, move the elbows, rotate the hands, stretch the face (big face with mouth and eyes open as big as possible, little face with everything squished up, and repeat). i go through this several times to help wake up the body.
  • sit up and stretch the legs/back muscles. you still get to be in bed for this. it's lovely, but you're totally waking up.
  • by this point, i'm feeling energized enough that standing up isn't painful or enraging--like it is most days. then i do some other stretches and really, really light exercises. well, exercise is a strong word. it's really more like a warm-up.
  • drink a glass of water.
  • (shower if i'm taking one in the morning that day)
  • eat an apple while i get dressed and put on make-up
  • drink a glass of warm lemon water. why? check out this post
  • check e-mail/facebook
  • read the Bible
  • blog
  • make a cup of coffee
  • pack lunch, if necessary
  • go to work
it's important to note that things that help make this successful is knowing the night before what clothing options i have as well as what lunch options i have. i also tend to shower at night. okay, i am cutting it really close with my time limit this morning. have a lovely day :)
Pin It!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

stevia, or the FDA is ridiculous

i have a deep love/hate relationship with the internet. it's so hard to find blogs or websites you can trust. i've been searching for what are good replacements for sugar that aren't artificial. i don't want diabetes but i also don't want cancer. how do you avoid both of these things without abandoning sweetening things altogether?

i had NO IDEA that there was such a controversy surrounding stevia (pictured right). apparently the FDA has not approved it completely as "safe." it's allowed to be sold as a supplement, but you're not supposed to put it in food (i.e. food manufacturers aren't allowed to put it in stuff). the conspiracy theory is that their ban is purely due to powerful people in washington protecting sugar and other artificial sweetener companies. according to The Food Renegade (my main source for this post), the FDA began to sing a new tune about stevia once coca-cola and pepsi came out with their own versions of stevia (truvia and purevia). hmm...that sounds really fishy to me. we go from unsafe to safe as soon as huge corporations can make money off of it. south americans have been using this super sweet yet virtually calorie-free sweetener for literally centuries and plenty of other countries have had it approved, so there's a really good chance the FDA has ulterior motives for banning it until coca-cola came up with their version. according to the original studies that the FDA used to ban stevia have now been deemed unreliable. more recent and reliable studies have concluded that the negative effects are either inconclusive, insignificant or nonexistent. interesting. some research even points to it having great health benefits, such as curbing cravings, lowering blood pressure, and assisting with insulin production. and can we be real? surely it's safer than the pink stuff that definitely gives hamsters cancer. why has that not been banned yet?

so i find that the FDA is ridiculous and really annoying. and yet...can i really trust anything i just read on the internet? how are we REALLY supposed to know what's true and what's not? there seems to be a lot of evidence pointing to the ban being politically based and the studies about stevia in the last few years being reliable. but what information am i missing, if any? oh internet. oh america. i think i am sticking with the conviction that surely it's better than fake stuff. right?

i have decided to start experimenting more with stevia, especially for baking, and i plan to give up truvia; first out of principal because politics make me mad, second out of uncertainty surrounding the mysterious way they chemically get stevia to be in that granulated form, and third out of frugality, considering i can buy it in a liquid form or even grow it myself, which should save money as well as be the healthier, natural approach. i will share discoveries and mistakes i make along the way!

if this intrigues you, here are some sites to consider: on the FDA controversy
The Food Renegade on Truvia
The Food Renegade's list of preferred natural sweeteners
EZ Gro Garden on growing your own stevia

Pin It!

1:365, or the 365 project

i have always been terrified to commit to anything as overwhelming as committing to blogging once a day. consistency of routine is not my strong suit. i would like to change that, though, and maybe, just maybe, if i have the accountability of the world knowing and expecting something, i will get better. maybe. here's my problem with blogging. i go two weeks without posting anything, then i have a day like yesterday and i blog for like 2 hours. i have got to find the middle ground. maybe this is it. maybe. there are a number of things i am trying to add to my daily routine, but as i wrote about with changing food/exercise, these changes have to be sustainable for longer than two weeks or even two months. i would write about some of those routines now...but i have to get to work and, besides, i need something to write about tomorrow, right?
Pin It!

Monday, June 11, 2012

low calorie high protein

i have really been struggling with being hungry all day. i'm also trying to cut down on calories. not the best combo, especially when you don't have a lot of extra time or energy in your schedule to be working out everyday (this is going to change, though, i have decided.) i have been on the lookout for high protein but low calorie foods. i found this list on and decided to share it. mostly because now i won't forget where i found it:

1. Seafood. This is a hit and a miss. But I'd like to add more fish to my diet not only for the low-cal, high-protein business, but also for all the nutrients it also has.
2. Cottage cheese. See...I don't know about this one. I haven't had it in a really long time, so I don't remember what it tastes like, but apparently I need to reopen this door in my life.
3. Eggs. Eating just the whites cuts down on cholesterol.
4. Chicken. 6 slices of the deli meat I have been eating for lunch is 98% fat free and only 50 calories. Word.
5. Soy. Edamame is cholesterol-free, too.

i will be looking for recipes for these 5 things soon.
Pin It!

lemons & blueberries

lemons and blueberries are two of my favorite things. ever. i only discovered this fact in the last couple of years, really, and i am trying to make up for lost time. the more i learn about them, the more i adore them, and now i am going to share with you why you should love them, too, if you don't already love the taste.

I keep reading different things about the warmth of water you should have before adding the juice. I've read articles that specifically say the water must be warm and nothing more, some articles say the water should be as hot as you can tolerate, and still others mention nothing about temperature at all. Certainly most of these benefits will not be null or void simply because of temperature, but I think I will vary the temperature throughout the day to help make sure I am getting all the benefits. here they are:
1. Wakes you up. A lot of people claim drinking it in the morning kicks the coffee habit. I as of yet have no desire to kick that habit, but it does definitely help wake me up in the AM. 
2. Boosts immune system. High in vitamin C. Also helps with antibodies which fight infection.
3. Balances pH. Apparently your pH levels have a lot to do with your body's susceptibility to disease, even cancer. It's also going to help with your acid levels.
4. Helps with weight loss. Lemons have pectin fiber, which apparently help fight cravings. I need to research what other foods have this fiber. I have really been struggling with a lot of hunger recently. 
5. Aids digestion, especially your liver. This concerns me most because efficient digestion limits heartburn, which I get a lot. 
6. Gets rid of toxins. It's a diuretic, so you are going to, well, go more often, but that helps purify your body!
7. Clears skin. I had no idea, but vitamin C helps with wrinkles and blemishes. Also, since lemon juice gets rid of toxins, it helps clear bacteria from yo face.
8. Cleans your mouth. Helps with breath, plaque, toothaches, and gingivitis. It can also affect your enamel, though, so be careful. 
9. Relieves respiratory problems. Phlegm is reduced by lemon juice. It apparently helps asthma and allergies, too. 
10. High in potassium. Potassium apparently aids in a lot of things, but the things that really caught my attention were brain/nervous system health as well as heart health. It lowers blood pressure and helps with anxiety. Potassium also helps with dizziness and nausea. Who knew?
11. Dilutes uric acid. This acid has to do with arthritic pain. 
12. Stops internal bleeding. Have a nose bleed? Stick some juice on a cotton ball.  (Note: I only read these facts; I have not tried them.)
13. Relieve burns. Apply juice to a burn. (Note: Again, I only read this; I have not tried it.)
14. Hydrates lymph system. Drinking lemon water in the morning helps keep you from dehydration and adrenal fatigue. All of this affects stress, digestion, and energy (among a million other things).
15. Tastes so good! I have found that I am much more likely to drink water if it has lemon juice in it, especially at meals 

Now I began really getting into blueberries for two reasons: the whole superfood trend and their taste. I have fallen in love. (Have I mentioned I love lemons and blueberries?) I have read a good bit about lemon juice, but I have yet to really read that much about blueberries, so I am here learning with you as I write. Let the research begin! I think with blueberries there are aspects of their benefits that you can get from just juice alone, but, as with pretty much all fruits/veggies, there are some benefits that require you eating the whole thing.
1. Fiber. Fiber helps digestion and reduces risk of heart disease.
2. Vitamin C. I should just do a whole blog post on how awesome vitamin C is. 
3. Antioxidants. These little guys help protect your cells from damage. They also help protect from disease. Like vitamin C, antioxidants do a lot and probably deserve their own post. Apparently blueberries are packed with more antioxidants than any other fruit or veggie!
4. Brain health. Everywhere I'm reading, blueberries help yours brain A LOT, even helps keep you from things like Alzheimers and Parkinsons. I don't think that is actually conclusive, but blueberries help keep the brain really healthy. Research with animals showed an increase in motor skills. 
5. Protect vision. Blueberries boost lutein. I don't know what that is...but it helps your vision.
6. Prevent cancer. Yeah...I like that fact.
7. Heart health. I don't understand a lot of what I'm reading...but it's good for your heart. Even better than red wine. 
8. Gastrointestinal health. Who doesn't want help down there?
9. Catechins. Tonight is the first time I am hearing about these things. These guys activate fat-burners, especially in the abdomen.
10. Age well. Blueberries help with things like wrinkles and brain degeneration. 
11. Fight allergies. Apparently they can help with the development and/or severity of allergies. Thank you, please. 
12. Pain killer. Blueberries have salicylic acid which thins the blood, like aspirin does. 
13. Anti-inflammatory. Especially for the brain.
14. Dopamine. Blueberries help with your body's production of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter.
15. Taste awesome! Especially with lemons. 

Align Life
La Jolla Mom
New Nostalgia
The Sneaky Chef
Girl Get Strong
Advanced Health Concepts

well...i spent way too long on this post when i should have been prepping for tomorrow, but hopefully this post will help me stay committed to two awesome superfoods as well as help educate the masses on these two great things, which i think go best together. but that's just me.
Pin It!

healthy choices

well, here we go again. i want to be healthy. it's not all about losing weight, either; although, i would like for that to happen concurrently. it's not about starting a diet or some phenomenal 30-day challenge. the change needs to be sustainable and allow for new developments along the way. i want to start eating and living the way in which i want to teach my children to eat and live. it's really hard sometimes to keep out of the mentality of "well, is eating that going to help me lose weight?" when considering a new food or beverage to add into my routine. i'm so guilty of thinking about health only in terms of weight or in energy levels. i think i get super overwhelmed when i start trying to think beyond those two things and onto the ideas like bone support, heart health, cancer prevention, etc, and, therefore, i pretend that those things don't exist, like i'll just have to deal with those things when i'm older. my goal is to learn what my body needs long term for the upmost performance and health, not what i need to eat or not eat to gain, lose, or sustain weight. my hope is that i will learn things, blog them and then actually live them. so, without further ado, here we go.
Pin It!