Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Counting Friends

Everybody needs friends.

I truly believe that one person cannot possibly have more than 5 friends.

And I mean REAL friends.

And yes, I just pulled the number "5" out of thin air. It's my own personal statistic from my own personal research.

Maybe I'm wrong, but. . .

Think about it, real relationships require you to spend time with other people in order for them to grow. Quality time. How can one person possibly spend quality time with 6 or more people on a regular basis? Ain't nobody got time for that!

I hold the personal belief that one person is super blessed if they can count their true friends on one hand.

So that makes me super blessed.

One of my one-hand-counting friends sent me the sweetest bouquet of flowers yesterday to thank me for, well, being a friend. Made my day.

Actually, when I looked outside to see who had rung my doorbell and caused my dog to hyperventilate, I saw these gorgeous flowers through the window and sitting on my porch. I then thought, "Oh, no. The florist delivered these flowers to the wrong house. Let me put on my not-too-hideous-to-be-seen-in-public clothing so that I can get them to their owner."

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw my name on the card.

Pretty, eh?

So, what do YOU think about how many true friends one can have? Are you a count-on-one-hand believer about friends, or do you think one person can be truly close with more than 5?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Holy Enchilada!

It's no secret, so I'm just gonna say it.

I am not a cook.

Baking has always been more my thing. I've just never been able to release my inner Rachel Ray.

But maybe she's emerging.

I'm constantly looking for recipes that are both good AND healthy. I mean, who wants to eat grilled chicken and veggies every. single. night?

Enter Pinterest.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my Pinterest addiction. I'm sure I'm not alone here, right?

I came across this recipe that looked interesting. And yummy. And healthy. (Insert fist pump here).

So I tried it. And loved it. And the hubs loved it too.

The original recipe came from Emily Bites, a great blog that you must check out. Like, for real. Here's the link to the recipe.

And here's a pic of my version:

I pretty much went by the Emily Bites recipe, I just omitted the corn (didn't have it on hand) and I used raw spinach instead of the frozen. Nothing earth-shattering.

So I made these little amazing rolls of goodness. And loved them. And ate them for leftovers.

About a week later, the hubs and I went on a cruise. One night our dining room was serving this dish that sounded like it would be a party for my taste buds, so I tried it. And guess what? I swear to you, the cruise ship chef must read the Emily Bites blog, 'cause the dish tasted just like the ones I made. But, what made the egg rolls (they called theirs enchiladas even though they were made with egg roll wrappers) even better than mine was that they were smothered with enchilada sauce. Oh, glory.

So, when I got home, I was on a mission to make homemade enchilada sauce to go over my veggie egg rolls. Pinterest to the rescue! I pinned a great enchilada sauce recipe from Cookie Monster that is both easy and good for you!

So, put these two recipes together to make one amazing dish!

By the way, you can freeze both the rolls and the sauce for those nights you just don't feel like cooking. If you have any leftovers, that is.

Happy enchilada making!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Baby Steps. . .

Ever have those "face palm" moments?

You're going about your day, thinkin' you've got it together, and then BAM! You realize you forgot to do something? You then "face palm" by smacking your forehead with your palm. It's a thing.

And it happened to me today.

I got up early and put together my grocery list, which was largely Pinterest inspired. Pinterest shout out! I loaded up my car with my reusable grocery bags and lovely DIY produce bag, 'cause that's how I am trying so hard to roll. I busted a few moves a Zumba and then headed to my grocery store.

I had gotten through about half of my grocery list when the "face palm moment" hit. Quite literally. I left my reusable bags in the car. Oh, holy snap.

Okay, no need to fret. I'll make do. And I did. I just had royal gala apples and a head of cabbage rolling around in my cart. No worries, though. I wasn't wasting a gazillion plastic produce bags, so a little produce "rollage" is okay with me.

There's always next time. Baby steps, right?

I did have the bag boy put my grub in paper bags, which I have already put in the recycle bin (and put a couple aside to use again). See, I am a little "green." Maybe not leaf green, but maybe a little minty?

You'll have to wait until next week's shopping trip to see if I remember my "green" bags. I know you probably can't stand the suspense.

Until then, enjoy this random video that always makes tears run down my leg:


Monday, May 6, 2013

Doggone Adorbs!

I flippin' love this! Happy Monday, everyone!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Smoothie My Badonkadonk!

We all have those days.

You know, the I'm-about-to-rip-your-face-off-if-I-don't-get-some-sugar-in-my-bloodstream-like-yesterday kind of day.

Been there?

Yeah, I thought so.

I mean, it's crazy. You're "good" all week, eating healthy, exercising, doing squats and tricep dips in the kitchen while your coffee is brewing. . . then, BAM! You have a moment (or two) of weakness and know that, for the love of everything that is good and sacred, you must bust down the door at DQ like the Kool-Aid Man. Ohhhh Yeaaaaaaah!!!

Somebody is gonna get hurt.

But what if there was some sort of wonderful, heavenly snack that would curb those ridonkulous cravings? One that wouldn't contribute to the size of my "badonkadonk"? One that maybe, just maybe, might even SMOOTH it. What the what??

Enter the "Bestest Smoothie Ever". Okay, this may be an exaggeration, but hear me out. . .

Yes, I realize that my smoothie slightly resembles wet cement. Get over it. It won't fossilize your internal organs and it will make your taste buds be like, "hecks to the yeah"! The reason for my delightful concoction's grayish tone is actually my secret weapon. But more about that later.

Let's get it done. You will need this:

So, I'm assuming that you own a blender of some sort. I mean, if you want to jump into this whole I'm-all-healthy-and-into-fitness thing full force, you need one. Am I right? I'm pretty sure all of the trainers on "The Biggest Loser" have one.

I actually have a Ninja blender, which I highly recommend. I bought mine shortly after an early smoothie-making attempt that resulted in mutilated fruit, almond milk-soaked walls, and a smoke-filled kitchen. Let's just say the blender now resides at the big kitchen in the sky. R.I.P

I love the Ninja for a couple of reasons. 1. It works and chops up stuff like nobody's business. 2.The fact that the blender is a "Ninja" makes me feel all hard core and stealth. Like I could totally bust through a concrete block with my hand and sneak up on Chuck Norris.

For this smoothie, I'm using frozen blueberries, but you can pretty much use any frozen fruit you want.

Look, these little berries are healthy, fun, and firm--like me! Well, maybe not the firm part. Still workin' on that one. Don't judge.

A word about the almond milk: be sure to get unsweetened. The other stuff can be loaded with sugar. If you are going to ingest all of that sweet stuff, you might as well go to DQ.

Alright, let's whip up a smoothie. Mmmmkay?

Here's what you do:

Put 1 cup of frozen fruit, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (two if you like your smoothie thick), and a few drops of liquid stevia (powdered works too). Now blend, blend, blend.

Okay, remember that secret weapon I told you about earlier? You know, the stuff that makes you smoothie look a little like paper mache?

Well, it's spinach!

Yep, I love raw spinach, but I get tired of eating it after a while as my spinach salads tend to "grow". Anybody with me on this one?

Anyway, I found out that I can get sooooo much more raw spinach down the hatch if I put it in my smoothies. It doesn't change the taste of my drink and it's so good for you! I normally put 1 - 2 cups of raw spinach on top of the other smoothie ingredients before I blend them all together.

Btw, you can use this smoothie "base" to create all sorts of different flavors and combos. Just change out the fruit, protein powder flavor, etc.

If you find that your smoothie is too thick, just add a little water.

These smoothies really do help to curb my intense sugar cravings. Who knows, maybe they'll help to "smoothie" out my badonkadonk too!

Bottoms up!

UPDATE: Spell check does not like the word "badonkadonk".

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Embarrassment, Green Living, and Produce Bags Have in Common

I'm embarrassed.

For more reasons than one.

First, my latest blog post was titled "Merry Christmas". And to make matters worse. . . it is dated December 25, 2011.


I apologize to you, my readers. All 32 of you. I know you've lost sleep just waiting for my next post since the holiday season of 2011. Forgive me?

The second reason I'm embarrassed? Well, it all started a few months ago when my Bible study group opened the pages of this book that pretty much destroyed my life. In a good way. In an eye-opening way.

The book? "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker. Disclaimer: If you are oh-so-comfy with your modern conveniences don't even lay eyes on this book. You have been warned.

But, honestly, I'm so glad I did. Because now I'm different. Different in a way that makes me more grateful for the things with which I've been blessed. And the word that keeps coming to mind as I continue this journey toward living a life free of excess is "awareness". I'm more aware of the waste I produce. I'm more aware of how my decisions regarding the excess in my life has a ripple affect in my community and beyond. Awareness is all well and good, but it doesn't make things happen. For real change to happen, action must occur.  

Change. *shudder* I know, it's a dirty word. But positive change can help you to live a victorious life and motivate you to make a difference. Yes, ONE person can make a difference. Guess what happens when one person makes wise decisions and influences another to do the same? A snowball effect. I've never been a mathematical genius, but 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 and on, and on = A LOT of change! Yes, I have mad math skills--even without a calculator. Don't be jealous.

Okay, so back to the second reason I'm embarrassed. I can't shake the reality of the enormous excess in my life. The crazy ideas that I have held on to regarding my "needs". Jen Hatmaker talks about how our society has created these silly "needs" in our lives. Do bleach pens ring a bell? Do these types of things provide conveniences of sorts? Absolutely. Don't get me wrong--I love me some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. These types of products are convenient, but at what cost? So, that being said, I'm embarrassed that I have been clinging to unnecessary stuff for so long. I'm embarrassed that I am a part of the top percentage of wealth in the world who uses up the largest percentage of the earth's resources. I'm embarrassed that I didn't take off the blinders and do something about it sooner. 

But the past is behind me and my future will be different.

So, I'm on a quest to make a difference. A quest to be more resourceful, content, thankful, and giving. While I still intend to enjoy God's blessings in my life, I am vowing to no longer abuse them.

But I believe in baby steps. I want to throw this whole get-rid-of-excess thing up against the wall and for it to stick, so I'm gonna eat this elephant one bite at a time. Yum.

Which leads me to my latest excess-related, conviction-inducing experience:

I was grocery shopping yesterday and purchasing quite a bit of produce. I was all proud of myself thinking, “Heck, yeah, (insert hair flip here) I am so healthy, green, ______, and ________ (fill in the blanks with any green movement-related buzz words you like. Then I saw them. You know, those metal-thingys that hold the unending rolls of *gasp* thin-plastic-one-time-use-then-throw-them-away produce bags. The sight of these contraptions had never caused me to feel such a weird sense of guilt laced with nausea before. I’m pretty sure the lady standing next to me caught me staring at the bags as if they were a giant hairy spider. Just to be clear, and I am not implying that you are the scum of the earth for using these bags. What I am saying is that, for the first time, I personally felt convicted for using these bags. So, when I got home I began searching for a cheap, resourceful way to end my unrelenting use of the dreaded plastic produce bags. And here’s what I came up with:

 I want to give credit where credit is due. I didn't invent this idea, but I was inspired by a couple of other blogs that have great tutorials for making similar bags. They rock my face off. You can find them here and here.

Back to the bags. Let's make one, shall we?

 Okay, you will need a t-shirt of some sort for this project. I used a tank top, but you can use a plain old t-shirt from your hubby's closet. Just make sure it doesn't have pit stains. Eww. I rescued this shirt from the pile of clothes I had collected (from closet purging--another post in itself) to donate to Goodwill.

If you are not using a t-shirt with sleeves (like me), you will need another t-shirt to make the drawstring bottom of the bag. If you are using shirt with sleeves, cut the sleeves off of the shirt, following the seams. Then lay the sleeves flat and cut 6 1" strips of fabric from the sleeves (3 from each sleeve). You will have 6 "circles" of fabric when you are done. Then cut open the circles at their seams and stretch them to produce 6 long strips of material. If you are using a regular t-shirt, cut the neck out of the shirt by cutting along the seam of the neckline. You can make this opening as big or as small as you like. Whatever floats your boat. I skipped this step because I dig the braided look of my shirt's neckline.

As you can see below, I used a hot pink fabric strips to coordinate with my turquoise tank top. Next, attach a safety pin to the end of one of your fabric strips. Do it.

Moving on.

 Here's where it gets a little tricky, but you can do it. I believe in you. Cut slits in the hem of your shirt as shown above. I'm not sure why the slit that is supposed to be on the left side of the shirt isn't there. It's a phantom slit. Spooky. Btw, these slits don't have to be perfect. We don't do perfect around here. Can I get an "amen"?

 Okay, let's get to threading. Thread your pieces using your handy dandy safety pin as the threading tool, as shown above. If you get super frustrated with this step and feel your blood pressure rising, I suppose you could always cut a longer strip of fabric and thread one piece through the entire hem. You just won't get the cute "fringe" look that we're going for. But, if that's how you roll, I won't judge.

 Okay, start cinching up your fabric by pulling the strings and the fabric around the hem. You may have to play with this a little. Once you're liking how it looks, tie knots to secure the fabric. If you haven't figured it out yet, we are going for a drawstring-like effect. Your creation should resemble a squid at this point. But a cute, colorful, fashion-forward squid. Go ahead and trim your fringe to the length you like.

 I just realized that I have scraps! Save them, people! I'm sure I'll find some use for them. . .

 Alrighty. I wanted to test my bag for its how-much-produce-will-it-hold capability. Don't want to fill my bag at the grocery store only to have my roma tomatoes falling out of the bag, rolling past the organic food aisle, causing someone to slip, thus triggering a massive grocery cart pileup that makes national news. Yes, I may be exaggerating the outcome of a faulty produce bag a teensy bit, but, hey, it could happen. Clean up on aisle 9. . .

The good news is that my bag holds a lot of produce! Booyah. The bad news is that this picture reminds me of how my backside probably looks in spandex pants during Zumba class. . . like two cats fighting under a rug. Sheesh.

 Remember those scraps? I found a use for them. Embellishments make me happy.

Here's how the finished bag looks. Pretty cute, eh? A lot cuter (and greener) than those plastic ones! So, get your craft on and make one of these bad boys!

Sure, using produce bags instead of plastic ones is a small thing. And yes, I've got a lot to learn and a long way to go on my "Seven" journey. But I'm taking the steps. I'm initiating change. I'm doing it. I want to thank God for the blessings He gives by taking care of what He has entrusted to me.

By the way, I highly recommend "Seven" by Jen Hatmaker. She is an excellent author who delivers an amazing message regarding the excess that is so prevalent in our country and how we can overcome the madness. Ready for positive change? Get the book. Right now. You can get it here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's His birthday.

Invite Him to the party.

I pray that all of you have a blessed and very merry Christmas!

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