Happy Valentine's day everyone!! Today, I'm thankful for a day to celebrate love :) Call me a romantic (because I am), but I just love that there is a day dedicated to showing people how much they mean to you. Whether you have a lover or just a good friend or family member that you love, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you today.
I'm thankful to spend the rest of my Valentine's days with my wonderful husband. This is our fourth together and I'm so lucky to have many, many to look forward to. I love him more and more each day and I'm blessed to have someone who really makes this day special.
Husband gave me an early present yesterday and it made me cry. This is one of the last good pictures we got of Meg before we had to put her down in November. She was on her way to her surgery the 3 days before her last day and she started feeling a little better so she climbed into to passenger seat to look out the window. Husband took a picture to let me know she was doing okay. Yesterday, he framed it in the most perfect frame that I put on my desk at work. Now I can always see her happy and enjoying her ride.
I'm thankful for St. Valentine for whom this day is celebrated. It is said that St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers when it was illegal for soldiers to be married due to the belief that men are better soldiers when they are single and have no ties. This day was not associated with romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer penned a poem referencing St. Valentine and love birds. The connection stuck and evolved into the modern day celebration of Valentine's Day. Either way, today was made possible because of the of its patron saint and the acts that
First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Mardi Gras! This Fat Tuesday (today), I hope you all take a moment to enjoy some sort of splurge before we head into the Lenten season. Though I'm not really one to partake in the craziness in New Orleans, I do enjoy the Mardi Gras season and believe we have something to celebrate. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some delicious King Cake at least!
As we move into Lent, many of us are wondering what we should give up. Many people will give up sweets, some will give up coffee **gasp**, and others will give up more personal guilty pleasures. I have decided to give up Facebook.
Now, some people (ahem: Cate) have questioned me on this particular sacrifice and what it really means to me. Others have argued why Facebook is a tool and why I should not give it up. I've decided to argue my case here (oh good ol' law school coming out...).
First, I believe that Facebook is a very valuable tool (you are correct, Harry), especially for those of us who have friends, literally, all over the world. I could never completely shut down my account because it is a way that I keep in touch with childhood friends I met while living overseas and friends I've met at different points in my life who live thousands and thousands of miles away. There are many benefits to Facebook in addition to a means of keeping in contact with people and I truly appreciate it.
However, there are also some serious negatives about it. I am hooked. I mean, seriously addicted. Sometimes, I pick up my phone and don't even realize that my thumb has tapped the Facebook icon until I see my newsfeed loading. I check it at least 10 times a day and I never start or end my day without checking Facebook to see what is happening in the Facebook world. I know, it's bad.
Also, it strains my personal relationships that I have on a daily basis. I am constantly distracted from daily activities because I'm checking the latest posts or pictures. When I am spending time with Husband, I'm usually also spending time with my 1000 online friends. It drives him crazy and it also keeps me from giving him my undivided attention. I'm sure I do the same thing when I'm with friends and other family members.
I've noticed that I'm checking it while waiting at the bus stop after work and while waiting for my food at restaurants. It's a way to pass the time -- at least that's what I tell myself. The thing is, this constant distraction keeps me from appreciating all of the little things in life. The little, daily blessings that God gives us as a reminder of his love. Instead of checking my phone while waiting for food at a restaurant, I could be watching a child and her parents celebrate a birthday or a new couple in that blissful new-relationship stage. Better yet, I could see an older couple still in love and on a date after 60+ years together! Those beautiful things are much better than what the latest person commented about the power outage at the Superbowl or the traffic jam on the way home from work.
After a lot of thought and reflection, I've decided that although it will be extremely tough, I will be deleting my Facebook app from my phone and I won't log on until after the Lenten season is over. In doing this, I will also be making a constant effort to look for the beauty around me. It will give me a chance to work on the relationships God has blessed me with, time to meditate on my own faith and the life I live, and remember that the world is a blessing and it is all too easy to be distracted by technology or gossip or what others are up to.
I've mentioned before my interested in eating clean and the health benefits of using organic foods and "clean" products. Now, I'm not the type of person that will ever use completely organic clothing, deodorant or green energy, but I do believe that there are small changes we can make to make our daily lives just a little bit healthier.
I've started buying more and more organic cleaning supplies (I LOVE Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in Basil and Method is also a great product). Recently, I've tried to buy a majority of my produce from local farmer's markets or the organic section at the grocery store. I don't always have the organic option, though, so not everything gets to make the cut!
Last week, I got an email from Fitness Magazine about when you buy organic. This list is great. It's not an organic-buying-bible or anything but it does provide some directions for those of us who aren't sure which products really make a difference. For example, it's totally fine to go mainstream with mascara but you should really go green when it comes to body wash - who know? Also, I use the thick-skin/rind rule when buying produce. If you're buying something with a thick skin, like bananas, it's okay to buy regular ones but if you're buying apples or peaches, go organic!. Check out the Fitness Magazine slideshow here to learn more.
Some of my favorite green products I'm using right now include: Organix Cherry Blossom body wash, Mrs. Meyers Basil dish soap, counter spray and room spray, Origins GinZing eye brightener and Tree Hut Hawaiin kukui body butter. To name a few.
Do you have a favorite "green" product that you use?
I love the Fourth of July! It's one of my favorite holidays! (Thanksgiving is number one and Fourth of July comes in a close second!). Since next Wednesday is the great birthday celebration for America, I likely won't be posting recipes for you. Soooo, to prepare for next week, I thought I'd share a few fun holiday recipes! Hope you can use one for your celebrations!
Star-Spangled Fruit Tart Recipe
1 slice equals 213 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 177 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Nation's B-day Nachos
All-American Bacon Cheeseburgers Recipe
1 burger (calculated without optional toppings) equals 472 calories, 25 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 98 mg cholesterol, 947 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 33 g protein.
Happy Ash Wednesday everyone! For those of you that celebrate Ash Wednesday, don't forget to go get your ashes today! For those interested in a little more information about today, visit here. Today marks the beginning of Lent which is a time to reflect on Jesus and his 40 days fasting in the desert before his public ministry. Today (and the next few weeks before Easter) are a time to reflect and repent. It seems that during this time of year, I am able to truly give up something and not feel the same temptation I normally would.
In honor of Ash Wednesday, I am going to provide a seafood recipe for those who don't eat meat today. Today's recipe is fish tacos. An easy/tasty/healthy meal!
Fish Tacos with Corn Salsa
Recipe from Fitness.com
Hey Everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and new year! I know it's been about a week since my last post (and two weeks since consistent blogging) but I'm back now! I haven't been around the computer too much the last two weeks because I've been off work and had my nose in a book :) Now that I'm beginning to get back into the groove of things, I will be sure to update you (and my blog) more often!
What did everyone do for new years? Do you have any good resolutions you plan to follow?? I have a few including: pack my lunch more often to save money/eat better, plan more healthy meals for the hubs and me, and exercise 3-4 days/week and record it on the calendar. Husband and I are share those resolutions. I also have a few of my own personal ones but I won't bore you with those!
Since it's Wednesday, and I always do recipes on Wednesday, I thought I'd share with you one of my all-time favorite morning meals. It's easy, healthy, and the husband loves it! I made this (and a delicious latte with our new espresso machine) for New Years breakfast. And sorry guys, since I've made it so much over the years, I just kind of estimate the amount of ingredients I use.
Waffles with Ricotta and Berries
Waffles (I just use frozen waffles - cuts time)
Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese (about 1/4 c. per waffle)
Maple Syrup (about 1-2 Tbsp.)
Nutmeg (a dash)
Toast the Waffles. Combine the Ricotta cheese, maple syrup, and nutmeg and stir until smooth. Top the waffles with the Ricotta spread and then top with berries. Enjoy!
It will fill you up with protein, fiber, and deliciousness!!
One cannot have Thanksgiving dinner without pie!! Each year, we have several different kinds of desserts but there isn't a year that goes by without the traditional pecan pie and pumpkin pie. We use the Joy of Cooking pecan pie recipe but I don't have it on me right now so I'm using the Better Homes and Gardens version. It's very close. When it comes to pumpkin pie, I find it easiest to use the recipe on the back of the Libby's pumpkin pie mix can. It just cuts out the prep time and still tastes delicious. To make it even easier, you can buy a graham cracker crust at the store.
Southern Pecan Pie
From Better Homes and Gardens
Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 35 mins
Bake: 350°F 45 mins to 50 mins
DIRECTIONS:1.For pastry, in a bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups flour and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in finely chopped pecans. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push to side of bowl. Repeat until all is moistened. Form dough into a ball.
2.On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough with your hands. Roll dough from center to edges, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Wrap pastry around a rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Make a fluted edge. Do not prick pastry.
3.For filling, in a mixing bowl beat eggs lightly with a rotary beater until combined. Stir in corn syrup, sugar, margarine, the 1 tablespoon flour, the bourbon, and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the pecan halves.
4.Place pastry-lined pie plate on the oven rack. Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
5.Serve with whipped cream. Cover and chill to store. Makes 8 servings.
*To make your own whipped cream, use a container of real heavy cream and combine with a few drop of vanilla extract and sugar to taste. Beat until you are able to make peaks with the cream.
Easy Pumpkin Pie
Recipe found on the Libby's pumpkin pie mix can
Loving and learning a little more each day.