simple blog

A simple blog about seeking the Lord, savoring life and joyfully serving.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easiest Healthy Meal You will Ever Make

This meal is so easy, so quick and so simple that it has become a regular feature on our weekly meal plan. It requires only 2 ingredients and the use of a blender.

Simply take two cans (or 3 cups) of black beans, measure 1 1/2 cups of salsa and blend until smooth (I have used both a regular blender and an immersion blender). Pour into a pot on the stove and warm to desired temperature. That is all. Easiest meal on the planet. And healthy. And frugal. My favorite things!

Super Food Soup  
Black beans are packed with protein, rich in antioxidants, iron, folate and the detoxifying mineral, molybdenum. Black beans contain soluble fiber to improve cardiovascular health and lower your risk of colon cancer. Black beans balance blood sugar because of their high protein and fiber content. Pregnant and nursing mothers would benefit their babies by consuming black beans due to the vitamin B6 (folate) to support brain development. Black beans are high in iron as well, a plus for pregnant women whose blood volume increases by approximately 50% during gestation.
As far as the benefits from the salsa, there is lycopene provided by the tomatoes, vitamin c prevalent in jalapenos and the antiseptic properties of the onion to name a very small few. I'll save the majority of the benefits for another post when I share my simple homemade salsa recipe :)
Thank you to my dear, sweet friend, Jocelyn who made this soup for me using a more sophisticated recipe when I was pregnant with my sweet boy. She served it with sliced green onions and sour cream.
My family enjoys this black bean soup served with chips and salsa, fresh fruit and a small salad. A dollop of fresh guacamole is my favorite garnish but my husband prefers sour cream. We have been known to eat this soup cold with chips and it makes a nice bean dip! It is a simple, delicious, healthy and frugal meal. From our table to yours, we hope you enjoy!
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anybody Out There in The Mood For Some π

This is one of our favorite songs so in honor of Pi Day we thought we would share it with you. We have about half of it memorized but hope to get all of it by summer!
 Hope it helps you celebrate 3-14-15!

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How We Add Fruits & Veggies to Our Diet

Good day, friends! I have been doing a whole lot of this...

And a bit of this while my lil' Bro Bro is visiting us for two weeks!

So I have been a bit busy but enough of that, onto our post for the day!

5 Ways to Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables, especially raw, should be an integral staple in your diet. There are live enzymes found in raw fruits and vegetables that aid your body in digestion. Antioxidents and vitamins are at their highest level when the food is consumed raw. Heat destroys some of the nutrients of these foods which is I why I aim to feed my family at the very least five raw fruits and veggies per day. I do not feel a meal is balanced without the consumption of raw fruits or veggies. Here are five easy ways to add fruits and veggies to your diet.
1. Green smoothies.
What's all the rage about green smoothies? Nutrients in fruits and vegetables are found in the cell walls. In order for our bodies to properly assimilate these nutrients, the cell walls must be broken down. Chewing your food is how we break these cell walls down however, blending or pureeing breaks down the cell walls of the food  more effeciently than chewing alone which allows for better nutrient absorption. Green smoothies are best enjoyed first thing in the morning before your digestive system gets clogged with a lot of other foods that are more difficult to digest. It is also best to add a healthy fat to your smoothie to help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients. I usually add coconut oil, almond butter, sun butter or avocado. I have developed a unique take on the typical green smoothie found here.

2. Carrots for mid morning snack.  
Raw carrots not only balance your hormones as discussed in this post but they also support ocular health. The beta carotene has been reported to slow down development of cataracts.
3. Replace a cooked side with a raw veggie or fruit at dinner.
We serve both a raw veggie and a raw fruit with lunch and dinner. This helps momma tremendously because I know my family is benefiting from life giving nutrients found in these living foods but it is also easier to plate up fresh, raw veggies  and fruits than cooking an additional side dish. Some great options are sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and  asparagus. I simply wash, cut the ends off and assemble a few on each plate. For fruits, a small cluster of grapes, cherries, sliced apples, strawberries, sliced avocado or cantaloup. Of course, a small side salad frequently graces our plates.

4. Sweet treats.
My husband says that frozen grapes are almost as good as ice cream! Have you ever tried this easy, fun treat? Just place a few in a bowl and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. My husband and children are delighted when I serve this sweet snack on a hot summer day. Speaking of ice cream, we love Banana Ice Cream. We have all seen the pins like this one floating around Pinterest but have you tried adding a little avocado to your banana ice cream? We enjoy 1/4 avocado, 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 banana , 2 Tsps. Cocoa Powder and 1/2 almond milk puréed and frozen. The avocado adds a creamy texture and contains large amounts of vitamin E for beautiful hair, skin and nails. It also contains high quantities of oleic acid which helps prevent breast cancer. As if one needed an excuse to consume the avacodo it also contains high levels of lutein which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. 

5. Over the top salads.
When my husband and I were first married I learned what a delicious salad looks like. His grandmother would add sunflower seeds, avocados, small pieces of broccoli, finely chopped onion and sweet peppers. That opened my eyes to the delicious world of beautiful salads. Now we add artichokes, chives, olives, fresh jalapenos and feta. Sometimes we have a sweet spinach salad with strawberries, grapes, avocados, pecans and chèvre. We have found the combinations are endless and the more eclectic the better.
We hope you find this information helpful and the ideas fresh. Please comment your favorite ways to incorporate raw fruits and veggies into your family's diet :)
Grace and peace,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Clean Eating No Bake Cookies

We whipped up this small batch of no bake cookies and adapted it to a clean eating recipe for a tasty afternoon treat. These cookies were amazing and went too fast. I am already craving more! They had a satisfying, chewy texture with a slight crunch and a creamy chocolaty, peanut buttery sweetness. It only took about twenty minutes from start to finish. I love how simple and quick this recipe is which is a must if I am going to be making it in my kitchen :D

 Clean Eating No Bake Cookies

 1/2 Cup Honey
 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
 1 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

 Bring first four ingredients to a boil and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and add oats and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Let cool 10-20 minutes. Makes 12 cookies. Just enough but not too much :)

Nutritional values: 169.81 Calories 11.12 g fat .9 g sodium 25.66 Carbohydrates 2.5 g Fiber 11.63 g Sugar 5.47 g Protein
We have already talked about the benefits of honey and coconut oil here. These cookies have the added benefits of cocoa powder which provides zinc, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Cocoa powder also contains the flavonoids epicatechin and catechin which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation. This causes blood vessels to relax and lowers blood pressure which is one reason experts claim dark chocolate is good for the heart. 

Oats are considered to be a heart healthy food as well due to the unique fiber beta glucan. This fiber helps clear bad cholesterol from the digestive system which prevents it from entering the blood stream. Beta glucan also stabilizes blood sugar and heightens your body's immune function. 

Could these cookies be considered a "super food"?  They certainly are a super treat to my family! Let me know if you try them :)

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Exhibit Grace and Poise

Occasionally I am faced with a social situation that puts me slightly outside of my comfort zone. Before I succumb to uncomfortable apprehension, I remind myself that I can exude grace and poise in any situation if I remember to focus on three things: speech, action and countenance.

1.Only say what is helpful and uplifting.
Be tactful yet honest.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

2.Think before you speak.
It is perfectly acceptable to take time out to contemplate your words before speaking them.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1:9
3. You have the right to remain silent.
Over the years I have come to realize that a peaceful silence is often welcome. Don't feel like you have to talk to fill the quiet.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
Proverbs 17:28


4.Serve others.
Look for ways to contribute good in every situation.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalm 90:17
I have a beautiful friend who I often share social experiences with.  When the room is full of  noise and often chaotic, you will find her sweetly humming as she finds something useful for her hands to attend to in order to serve others.
5.Move slowly, calmly & gracefully. 
Speak gently and softly. Take deep breaths and do not feel hurried or rushed. Try to maintain a serene, peaceful composure.
 1 Peter 3:3 -5 says,"Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5
6. Focus on being kind to others.
Smile. Be lighthearted and friendly in conversation.
Ask questions, show interest in others. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."- Maya Angelou


7.Display a pleasant countenance.
Think pleasant thoughts. See the beauty in the world around you.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

8.Fill your mind with goodness.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16
9. Maintain graceful posture
Strengthen your stomach muscles and back to make good posture effortless. Try holding a 30 second plank 3 times daily. Practice holding your belly button in toward your spine. Keep you shoulders up, back and down. I enjoy Barre exercises which not only improve posture but strengthen the body. I will be posting my Barre routine so stay tuned :)
With practice and quiet confidence, you can exude grace and poise in any situation.
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

2 Keys to Success

My dear husband is the inspiration for this post (and let's be real, most things in my life). He possesses a unique wisdom, character and integrity. I cannot tell you how many times people have called upon my husband for his perspective which he graciously offers with humility. I am so thankful the Lord saw fit to make me his wife. They say you become like the one you are with and I couldn't be more honored than to become like my man.
Manly men :)
We recently discussed two things that were on his heart:
Be intentional and deny yourself.
He believes these are the keys to success in all areas of life.
Face your day with intention. Deny yourself, press on with diligence. This applies for home, church, school, family, friends, work and health.

Be intentional
My husband always says to begin with the end in mind. Luke 14:28 says, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" 

Think of the end of your day, what would you like to have accomplished?  My husband says, "Failure to plan is a plan to fail." Write your goals down. This ensures you will not forget them or get distracted. Create a schedule and fit those goals into time slots throughout your day. Pray for strength, grace, and discipline to carry out your tasks. "Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3
Being intentional is not only reserved for our "to do" lists. What attitude will you exude? Determine before the days starts what type of character you will display. Same goes for health and fitness.
A healthy strong body requires nutrient dense, healing food and a steady workout schedule. 

At the end of the day, I want to lay my head on my pillow knowing that I served my family joyfully and healthily. I begin my day with the end in mind (actually my plan usually starts the night before but that's another post)."Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope." Psalm 16:9

Deny yourself.
To be intentional we will be faced with the decision to cave in to our desires or deny ourselves and press on to reach our goals. Luke 9:23-24 says, "And he said to them all, If any will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."  
We are called to deny ourselves. We are not to be weary in well doing for we are promised to reap in due season if we press on as promised in Galatians 6:9.

There is a glaring difference between writing goals, making a plan and actually following through and putting that plan into action.  Believe me, this momma struggles to sit and indulge my flesh. "I discipline my body and make it my slave," as 1 Corinthians 9:27 says. If I begin with the end in mind it will be easier for me to push myself to put the dishes away when I would rather snuggle up and watch "I Love Lucy" or deny myself something to eat that I know will make me feel sluggish and instead, opt for the healthy treat that energizes.  

I believe as parents
we are called consider our children's needs before our own.
 Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
This calls for self denial. We are to serve our families as a whole before serving ourselves. This does not mean we neglect our own needs but we must plan carefully to ensure all needs are met.
 This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. So we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16 
Deny yourself. Be faithful in the little things. Be steadfast, abound in the work of the Lord and know that your labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10)!

 Please understand, there is balance in all things. This doesn't mean we never have down time or enjoy an occasional slice of cheesecake. We merely understand that in order to achieve our desired results, we must face life with intention, self discipline and a preference for others. I hope my husband's wisdom is impressed upon your heart today and that you find the same value and inspiration in his words as I do.

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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