Monday, February 25, 2013

I finally have a direction for my blog and I am hoping that this will keep me faithful. I'm going to be focusing on recipes for a single lifestyle and journaling my weight loss. Sometimes cooking can be discouraging because the leftovers last forever and I don't get home til later. It is so much easier to just stop and grab something. I am working on breaking my eating out habit. Why does food have to taste so good!!? Specifically, why do the foods I really shouldn't eat taste even better than what I should eat?!? I know, I know...rhetorical questions. Just like so many things in life eating has to be done consciously. I am learning to eat consciously which is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I've decided to work on my weight loss eating the South Beach Way. Have you heard about the South Beach plan? What I like about it is that it is more of a life style change than a "diet". Diets tend to only work for so long before you put the weight back on. South Beach helps change the way you think about food which is something I really need to do. I made a great spicy chicken soup the other night from the South Beach cookbook. It was very filling and lasted me for about 5 meals. The recipe says it will 4. Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup: Ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional) 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons ground cumin 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 cups mild refrigerated fresh salsa (I used habenero salsa and omitted the jalapeno) salt & freshly ground black pepper cilantro (optional) 1 can black beans (my choice to add...not part of the recipe) Directions: 1. Cut your chicken breasts into small strips about 2 inches long. 2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 5 minutes. 3. Stir in garlic and cumin; cook 30 seconds more. 4. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a rapid simmer. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir the pan making sure to get all the bits of onion, jalapeño and cumin are well mixed into the soup and not stuck to the bottom of the pan. 5. Stir in salsa (don't drain), bring back to simmer, season with salt and pepper to taste and top with cilantro if desired. The first phase of South Beach calls for No sugar, carbs, and starches and is supposed to last for 2 weeks. The no sugar thing is the most difficult for me to follow and I am weaning myself off this week. I'm going to extend my phase 1 to 4 weeks since I am struggling with the no sugar aspect. I've been freezing blueberries and eating those for my snack. They really work to crave the sugar cravings! If you're also on your on weight loss challenge let me know! ~JL

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giving it a try again

As you can tell by looking through my lack of consistent posts I am not very good at blogging. However, I am going to give this a shot again and do my best to be consistent. I really want to start focusing on "healthier" living. I have struggled for several years with my weight. I just don't have enough self control to keep the weight off. I know that I have got to start doing it now if I want a lengthier and happier life. I have started two major overhauls of my life this year. I am excited, nervous, anxious, eager, and "desperate" to see results!! This is going to be my year or so I keep telling myself. Have you heard about Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University? If not, you should look it up. Several of my friends have gone through the classes and it has made a significant difference in financial state. It teaches great principles in building a budget, basic investments, and avoiding debt. I am on my third lesson and have a long ways to go. Definitely excited to learn some great principles and put them into practice. The second overhaul is in my eating and weight loss. Have you ever heard of the South Beach program? I really like it because it is more of a lifestyle change than a diet. Another friend of mine has been doing it for a while and she has seen some great results. I did it for awhile last year and lost 10 lbs in a little over a month. Sadly I jumped off the bandwagon and went a little food berserk. :( I've just started back with it and can't wait to see the results. I love the extra energy and better sleep I have when I'm disciplined with food. Have you ever thought about how much better you actually feel when you cut out sugar? It is difficult when you first start, but if you can make it past the intense cravings you will feel better! I am also about to join LA Boxing! I've gone to a class and absolutely love it! Can't believe how good it feels to punch and kick a bag for about an hour. Talk about some serious stress relief! Can't wait to have updates on how the class is going. An item on my "bucket list" is to run a 5k. The kicker is I DISLIKE running! I found the Color Run last year and thought what a perfect way to get started. Sadly, the races were either too far away or filled up before I could sign up. The race has a lot of fun mixed in so I'm hoping that will help me get through it. The 5k isn't until September so I have PLENTY of time to train. (Which I'm going to need...) The plan is to do the Couch to 5k program and tomorrow am will be my first day. I really like the fact it starts out so slow. You should definitely take a look at the Color Run website. Next time I post I hope to have several updates on my exercise and weight loss progress. I've got about 35-40lbs that I want to lose. I am down about 4lbs so far. (Definitely have a ways to go!!!) Why does sugar have to taste so good!?!? LOL My plan is to use my blog as an accountability partner. I'll also be posting some of the South Beach recipes I find. Let's see how this goes. J

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Back In Action

So...I've been gone for a bit...awhile...longer than I intended too. However, I am back and I am in action. This will be a short post because my fingers just aren't use to typing blog entries, but they'll get use to it again. I decided to be crafty last night. Now I don't want y'all to think I haven't cooked, baked, or made anything crafty since my last entry cause I have. I've been a bakin/makin machine, but I forget to take pictures. (therein lies the problem) Don't worry, I won't regale (aka-bore) you with the stories of what I've been doing. Just wanted to take a moment and share with you the cute, spring wreath I made last night. Write this down--1. I was inspired 2. I made it. (drum roll please) and 3. I remembered to take a picture of it.
I also made a cute little flower arrangement for my office.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nutella Famine

If you had looked in my pantry a few days ago you would have thought I was preparing for a Nutella famine. Why does my pantry have over 3 jars of Nutella? I know the stuff is yummy, but 3 jars!?!? I think that is border line needing to attend a help class. Now, if we have a famine of Nutella you will all know where to turn...except for the fact that I am down to 1 jar of Nutella due to a super yummy recipe I found at the blog Buns In My Oven.
I absolutely love the recipes that come out of this blog. Karly is incredibly funny and extremely talented. Take some time to stop by her blog and look around. You will not be disappointed!!

I was scrolling through her most recent posts and found a recipe for Nutella Swirled Banana Bread. Eureka!! I absolutely LOVE Banana Bread. It just seems like a comfort food to me. So...Banana Bread + Nutella=a combination one should not ignore.
I am pretty much an expert on this recipe now. I made 18 mini loaves and 1 regular sized loaf in one weekend! And no...I am not now hoarding Nutella Swirled Banana Bread in my pantry/freezer. In fact, I didn't even get to keep a loaf of it!!

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 60 min
(40-45 min if making mini loaves)
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 min

--1 stick of butter
--3/4 c. of white sugar
--2 eggs
--1 tsp. vanilla extract
--1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
--1 tsp. baking soda
--1 tsp. cinnamon
--1/2 tsp. salt
--1 c. mashed bananas
--1/2 c.sour cream
--1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
--1/2 c. Nutella (microwave for at least 15 min to soften)

Instructions:1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x5 loaf pan

2. Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix well. Fold in the bananas, sour cream, and nuts until just combined.

3. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Drop spoonfuls of the Nutella over the top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter. Use a knife to swirl the batter around in the loaf pan.

4. Bake for 60 min or until baked through.

You won't be disappointed with this twist on Banana Bread!!!
**with my third batch I added some chocolate chips to the batter. Made it super chocolatey which is fine with me!!**

(Sorry no pictures. I was a little busy baking and I forgot about the taking) :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Frosting that will change your life!

My friend Candice was kind enough to have a birthday a few weeks back. So...I called another friend, we put our heads together, and came up with a semi surprise birthday party! (semi because Candice is pretty hard to pull surprises on) We got the girls together for a pizza and movie night...which turned into a pizza, movie, and royal wedding extravaganza. You put nine girls together the night before the royal wedding, watch a love story, and it is only natural to spend a couple hours looking at pictures, watching videos, and discussing every aspect of the upcoming moment of bliss. Come on! We got to watch a fairytale occur the next day. :)

All week long I knew that I was supposed to make the birthday dessert, but I have to admit to not even thinking about it until Wednesday night...after church...on my way home. I did a quick mental inventory of what we had in the pantry/fridge, thrown together with a few flavors I now Candice loves, and I came up Chocolate Oreo Bliss Cake. The cake and the filling were great! However, the frosting is what captured my heart!

The entire cake is super simple to make!


Cake: This part is so difficult :)
1 box of Chocolate cake mix
(I made it with a German Chocolate cake mix)

1 8oz brick of cream cheese
1 pkg of oreos

Fluffy Boiled Frosting:
1 1/4 cups sugar 3 egg whites, at room temp
1/8 tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp of salt
6 tbsp water

Making the yumminess:
Bake the cake in either two round pans. You can work on the other items while the cake is baking.

Crush oreos in a ziploc until they are small chunks, but not a fine powder.
Blend the cream cheese and the oreos together and set aside.

Once the cake has cooled slice off the rounded top a cake to make a flat surface. That cake will be the one on the bottom.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the bottom layer all the way out to the edge.
It does not have to look perfect since the frosting will cover it up completely. However, you want the filling to be at the edge so the cake does not break. Set the top layer on.

It is now time to make the best part of the cake!!!
1.Use a 1 quart sauce pan over med heat. Heat together, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water to boiling. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer until it reaches 260 degrees F. If you don't have a candy thermometer heat the syrup until a small amount, dropped in cold water, forms a hard ball.
2. In another bowl mix, at high speed, egg whites until soft peaks form.
3. Pour syrup slowly into the egg whites while blending. Add vanilla and continue to blend until stiff peaks are formed.

Spread the frosting all over the cake and down the sides. The entire cake will disappear in these fluffy goodness! You can either chill the cake or go ahead and serve.
(I think it tastes better after being chilled for a little bit.)

The frosting is incredibly easy to "mold" you can make all sorts of neat designs on the top or the sides with it.

Lick the spatula...and the bowl for me! Yeah, it is that good!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Carry the Light

My church just finished Missions Conference on Sunday. This is always a special time for me and it goes by too quickly. I love hearing about the various mission fields and seeing the many needs. My suitcases always try to come out of the closet and pack themselves. One of these days they'll finally get their wish!! I can't wait to be the one sharing my ministry and field. (Lord Willing) For now I can work in my mission field in the States and pray/support the ones who are on the field.

I wish I had a video from the Sunday AM service when we do the Parade of Nations. All the teens bring in the flags of the countries where my church has missionaries. Pastor Pittman reads the name of each missionary with each flag. It is quite impressive and touching. I believe Temples have missionaries in 90+ countries, but there are so many more places for laborers to go. We also have 10 families from our church on the field/on deputation. It is so exciting to be a part of this growing ministry!

Here is a video from the PM service. I love how they blend the children, teen, and adult choirs. All 4 missionaries came in behind the flag of their country. Pastor and several other men all gather around and pray for them and the ministries they are involved in. Hope you enjoy!

We also have an International Dinner after the PM service. I think we had over 40 countries represented this year. There is some good food going down at this event. I worked with three of my friends to put together a Greek table. I'll be sharing the yummy recipes in future posts. I absolutely love the food!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Hang It Up!

I. am. in. LOVE!!!! Yes, I admit it. I know some of y'all have been wondering if you'd ever hear me say those words! I'm even willing to shout it from the housetops! Cause I am in LOVE with jewelry! That's right friends, I love that sparkly, glitzy stuff! It makes my heart melt, puts butterflies in my tummy, and brings me a lot of happiness. (or something like that)
Somewhere along the college way I realized that jewelry was more amazing than purses. purse collection shrunk and my jewelry put on a few lbs. :) However, I have a SMALL upright jewelry box. Ya know the kind that sits on top of a dresser and has four drawers. I loved it when I first got it and it worked perfectly. It is so full now that I lose stuff in it.

The little drawers were crammed so full that I eventually discovered that I owned two pairs of the same earrings. (Apparently, I really liked those earrings) A good friend of mine was the recipient of the 2nd pair since I didn't really need both sets. (She had to pry it out of my fingers...but we won't go there j/k)

I came across this idea for an earring holder on a blog many months ago. I wish I knew which blog I saw it on so I could give due credit, but I have no clue. This earring holder is easy to make, can be personalized, and makes a great gift for the jewelry fanatic.

Earring Holder:
Picture frame (size of frame depends on how big you want it to be)
Fabric (lace, mesh, organza, etc. Anything that's easy to hang earrings through)
Hot glue gun
4 Wood cubes
Flowers, sparkles, embellishments

1. Lay the picture frame on the fabric and cut the fabric around the edges of the frame.

2. Place a line of glue along the middle of the frame edge. Place the fabric on the hot glue. Roll a pencil over the glue and fabric to secure the seal. As you glue the remaining 3 sides down pull the fabric to make it taut. You do not want any sagging or looseness to the fabric. Repeat this process on all four sides.

Trim off any excess fabric after all 4 sides are glued on.

3.Glue 1 wooden block to each corner. These blocks give room for the backs of the earrings. I did not put these blocks on the first one I made. Every time I took an earring off 3-4 more earrings would go flying off as well. (which is pretty annoying)

4. Cut your ribbon to the length desired and glue to the back of the frame. Make sure you glue it so the pretty side of the ribbon is touching the back of the frame. This will ensure the ribbon looks right when hanging up. I always hot glue the ribbon to the frame and then place some added reinforcement on top of the ribbon.

5. Now it is time to work on the front of the frame. You can decorate this side however you like. I normally add ribbon and flowers to it. I put sparkles on one for a teenager. Here are some ideas:
-I added hooks to the bottom of mine to hold necklaces. However, they are very difficult to screw in. You'll want to drill a tiny hole first and then screw in the hook. Otherwise you will give up after doing half of them. (I cleverly cut that out of my picture--well, kinda cut it out) :) -

-This purple one is mine. Mine originally had blue lace, no wooden blocks on the back, and several other mistakes. So when I found the silver netting for my friends I decided to re-do mine. I love the 2nd one so much!
I made the flower out of 2 different synthetic flowers that I pulled apart and reassembled. I hot glued the ribbon to the frame-

-This one is for a friend of mine-

-I made the flower out of ribbon-

-A little bit of sparkle never hurt anyone-

These earring holders make great gifts and are so easy to make.
Hope you enjoyed today's blog!