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Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I've been planning this post for a while, but I hadn't actually got up the nerve to write it until today. The title might sound kind of scary or daunting, but, trust me, it's not.

So why am I writing about fear?

Because lately that's what I've been struggling with. Fear of all kinds. The biggest one being "What if you get sick again?". As soon as this thought crosses my mind I feel it. The dull ache in my intestines, the nausea climbing up my throat, and, most importantly, the doubt. This could be a continuing thing and you were just having a really good period. Since you didn't know how it started it can come back anytime and now it has. And I feel myself slowly slipping down the mountain I have just triumphantly climbed. Down into this big, black hole that will be impossible to get out of the second time.

So here's the thing. I can deal with what life throws my way. As long as it's different every single time. My thought process here is that sense I am a Christian, people/life will always be trying to trip me up. I expect that, in fact, I welcome it. But the one thing I don't want to ever have to deal with again is the sickness I went through. It'd be like a slap in the face if I had to. I worked so hard to break free from those chains only to be chained up again.

I don't know what it is. I hadn't been feeling this way all summer. Maybe it was when I realized, "Hey, I actually am better" that doubts started to creep in. For the longest time I thought, "Well, I'm better, but I'm not completely better." I thought I still had a ways to go when the truth was I didn't.

Now I realize I thought that, because I was scared. I'm not exactly sure of what, but I know I was afraid. Even when I was sick and I thought I wanted to get better, I didn't really. I didn't want to change. I had grown into this routine and didn't want it to leave. It's a sick horrible thought, but it's true.

And then, a few days ago, I decided to make a change. I'm not going to be afraid anymore. I refuse to let fear rule my life. It's time to end this. I might as live without regrets while I can. Sure, easier said than done, but that is my one life goal. Everything else that I want falls underneath it. We're here for such a short while, we don't have time to let fear take control of us. Fear that no one likes us, fear that will never be loved, fear that we'll never lose that weight, fear we won't succeed in our jobs or families, all this fear. But it's really all just crap. Fear doesn't exist. It's when we start thinking of all our failures and all the things that could go wrong that it starts to live. It starts to thrive.

So why do we let it live? We can shut it down. It's hard, I know, but it's possible. And I'm not saying it'll be gone forever, it'll always be a continuing battle. However, you can do it. You can beat all those doubts that are hounding you every single day. I believe in you and when you start believing in yourself  is when change will actually happen.

Wow, so that turned it a really, sappy post. #sorry #notsorry I hope it could help you in some way, though. Especially if you're struggling with some things now.

Inquiry of the Day:

What're some things that you're afraid of right now? I don't mean snakes, or thunderstorms, or sharks, I mean things like facing people at school, failing a job interview, etc. They don't have to be big things. Just stuff that's holding you back. Yes, I realize this is a very personal question, so you don't have to answer if you don't want to.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Inside Out Pork Burgers

I love burgers. Juicy, thick homemade burgers. Really. Nothing can beat them. Plus, you don't have to limit your toppings to just ketchup and mustard, there are a whole variety of toppings out there. For example, the swiss and 'shroom burger. Not my favorite, but, hey. Some people like it.

However, one thing remains pretty consistent with the cheeseburger- the cheese is on top. That can get a little boring, though, and sometimes the cheese doesn't get very melted or it's just a hassle to keep on the bun (or even on the burger if you don't use a bun like me). The solution? Stuffing the cheese inside the burger of course!

Trust me when I say that for some reason, having the cheese inside the burger makes it taste completely different and gives it a whole other level of flavor. The cheese inherits some of the smokiness from the grill and the burger tastes faintly of cheddar. Ahhh. Perfection. :)

Using ground pork instead of ground beef also takes these burgers to new heights. Pork tends to be more juicy and tender and not as tough as beef. Of course, I'm also biased for pork, but I really think pork tastes better as burgers than beef does.

And remember, don't limit your toppings to ketchup and mustard! Expand your horizons by using BBQ, spicy brown mustard, sriracha, thousand island dressing, ranch, be creative!

1 lbs. ground pork
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
white cheddar cheese or smoked gouda (I can't really give an exact amount for this, so just cut a bunch of cheese into slices or 1" cubes)

1. Stir together all the ingredients, except for the cheese.
2. From into equal sized patties. You want these burgers to be on the thicker side.
3. Place a slice of cheese onto the middle of each patty.  Be generous with the cheese! You want it oozing out the sides.
4. Fold the meat over the cheese.
5. Cook on the grill or stove top. I'm not going to give directions for this, because I'm terrible at grilling and cooking red meat on the stove. But I recommend going 3-4 minutes per side.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever had a burger with the cheese inside of it instead of out?

I actually got the idea for this from a  restaurant. The burger was amazing and I knew as soon as took that first bite I would definitely have to try it at home.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pumpking Recipe Round-Up

Do you know what September 22nd is? You don't!?! It's the fall equinox! (Don't worry, I didn't actually expect you to know that ;)

And why is this so important? Because it's officially the start of pumpkin season! Yay! For some reason, I'm craving pumpkin a lot more than usual. Like, I think about it constantly. I'm always racking my brain for more ways to incorporate it into meals.

Yesterday, I tried to make pumpkin scones. They didn't really turn out. I hope to have them perfected in the next couple weeks, though. So be on the lookout for them and lots of pumpkin recipes! :D

And, now, the pumpkin recipe round-up to celebrate the beginning of fall!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Cheesecake from Elana's Pantry

Picture taken by Elana Amsterdam

Pumpkin Cookie Dough Ice Cream from Chocolate Covered Katie

Picture taken by Katie

Pumpkin Frosting from Chocolate Covered Katie

Picture taken by Katie

Picture taken by Julie

Creamy Pumpkin Curry from Everyday Paleo

Picture taken by Sarah

 Pumpkin and Ginger Soup from Elana's Pantry

Picture taken by Elana Amsterdam
Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from the Paleo Parents (Yes, these aren't pumpkin, but you could certainly make them with pumpkin)

Picture taken by Aimee

Inquiry of the Day:

Are excited for the start of pumpkin season?

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Boot Camp At Home

Boot camp and I have a love hate relationship. I love it's always different and gives me a good workout in a short period of time. But I hate how much it hurts during and after. Especially tabadas. Those are the worst.

Anyways, I thought I might expand the blog a little bit more. In addition to posting about food, writing, and other miscellaneous things, I'm going to try posting about what I do for exercise. Maybe, if you want some inspiration, it'll help you guys keep your work outs from becoming boring? I don't know. I'm just trying it out.

My dad is a big fan of boot camp. He goes to a class twice a week and then comes up with a routine for the rest of my family on Saturdays. Yeah. I know. Boot camp on Saturdays. At 8:30 in the morning. I think the rest of my neighborhood thinks we're crazy. They're probably right.

Boot camp outside is definitely more enjoyable than doing it indoors (hence why my neighbors know we're doing boot camp). And I especially recommend doing it with friends and/or family. Suffering together is better than suffering alone. That's my motto in life. ;)

If you've never tried boot camp before, they first thing you're going to need is some nice work out clothes and (if you're a girl) an exercise bra that holds "everything" in place. A good fitting exercise bra is very important, so, ladies, please invest in a good one.

Secondly, gather all your equipment. Whether you're doing boot camp outside or indoors, make sure you have everything you need close by. And make sure to take a variety of weights and increase and decrease the weight as you need to. But remember, the goal is to try to challenge yourself. So if you know you can use a 10 pound weight, try bumping it up to a 12 and see where that takes you.

Now, for the routines, it's crucial you add both cardio and strength to your routine. Work as many muscle groups as possible. My dad decided to work on upper body and legs for the most part, but do a tabada at the end to get that cardio in. A tabada is four minutes of pure Hell, for those of you who want to know. However, it's four minutes and then you're done.

Here's an example of a boot camp routine. We did this one this past Saturday.

It's hard to read my dad's hand writing so I'll type it out for you guys:

  • 10 back lunges with weighted ball- 10/side
  • 10 front lunges with kettle bell- 10/side
  • 10 jump squats
  • 10 sit ups
  • 10 bicycle crunches- 10/side
  • 10 plank squats (get into a yoga squat, then jump your feet back so you land in plank pose, jump your feet forward so your back in your yoga squat, then stand up)
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 triceps dips
  • 10 bicep curls- 10/side
  • 10 shoulder presses- 10/side
  • shuttle run tabada
And that's basically it. If you're planning on doing boot camp regularly record the exercises you know how to do so you can pick and choose for your routine. Jillian Michaels has a great exercise method, it's called the 3-2-1 method. Basically, it's 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs and it's three circuits of that. So, if you have no idea where to start, try her method. 

I highly recommend boot camp, though. It's fun, but torture at the same time. If that makes any sense. ;) I'm a big believer in high intensity work outs, so this is great for me. Just don't do a high intensity work out every day. Make sure to give your body some rest. 

Inquiry of the Day:

So what did you guys think of this post? Would you be interested in having me post another one like this? Or did you totally hate it?
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pesto Green Beans

I know, I know. It might not sound good at first. In fact, even I was a little hesitant to try them when my mom said that she wanted to make pesto green beans. But, trust me, you have to give these a try. Especially if you're bored with the same old green beans.

And I was bored with green beans.

A few weeks ago, my mom, sister, and I went to an apple orchard to pick apples. Along with the apples, the orchard grows lots of other produce including green beans. You can pick your own green beans for 88 cents a pound! Needless to say, we picked a lot of green beans. Like, five pounds of them. And one can only have sautéed green beans so many times before they get tired of them.

My mom first heard of pesto green beans when she took a vacation in Texas. She had dinner one night at my uncle and aunt's house and that was where she first had them. I don't know if she thought it sounded as weird as I did, but she tried them and loved them. Now, several months later, we finally got to testing the recipe out. We even took these to a picnic and all the adults loved them. The kids didn't, because they green beans, were, well, green. And vegetables.

Anyways, I recommend using fresh pesto. We used jarred from Trader Joe's the first time and they were good, but the second time around the pesto became bitter. Hmm... Not as good. I want to try these green beans with fresh pesto, but we don't have any fresh basil. And I'm just lazy. If you're up to the challenge, by all means, make your own pesto! I'm sure it'll taste even better.

about 1 1/2 lbs. fresh or frozen green beans
1/3-1/2 c. pesto, fresh or jarred
2 T. basil or regular olive oil
salt, to taste

1. Pulse your green beans in the food processor, until they look like they're french cut green beans. Do this in two or three batches.
2. Next, heat your oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
3. Add the green beans and stir around to coat with the oil.
4. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then salt to taste.
5. Cover and let cook for a few more minutes, about 6-7. When they're soft, but not mushy, remove from heat, salt some more if desired, and add the pesto.
6. Stir the green beans around and the pesto evenly coats the green beans. They're best served warm.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever tried pesto green beans?

I'm not sure if pesto green beans is a normal thing, or if I'm the only one who hasn't heard of it before. ;)
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte

It's that time of year again. Starbucks and Einstein Bagels have started advertising their pumpkin lattes. I used to love those things. Unfortunately, they didn't love my body back. With nearly 40 grams of sugar and 300 calories in a tall Starbucks latte, they weren't doing me any favors.

Last year, I couldn't miss out on the pumpkin spice latte so I tried many different recipes, but could never find one that replicated the pumpkin lattes I love so much. Either they were too pumpkin-y, didn't have enough pumpkin, not enough spice, too much coffee flavor, etc. I just couldn't find one I liked.

This year I was determined to have a delicious pumpkin latte. And I decided it was up to me to create one. So today I made some decaf coffee before I worked out and by the afternoon, when the craving for a coffee drink hit, I had some already made.

This drink is super easy, cheap, and has about half has much sugar has the Starbucks version. The true test was seeing if my mother (who is a pumpkin spice latte Nazi) liked the drink as much as I did. Annnnnd.... (drum roll please) she did! She said it was really good. Yay! Now I have a pumpkin spice latte to last me through all of fall. :)

little over 2 c. brewed coffee (hot or cold)
3 T. milk of choice (I used coconut cream)
3 T. pumpkin or butternut puree, if making a cold drink use frozen
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1-2 T. honey or agave
5-7 ice cubes (if making a cold drink)
optional: whipped cream and/or caramel ice cream topping or dash of cinnamon

1. Add all of your ingredients to a blender. And blend!
2. Divide between two glasses, reserving the foam. Then divide the foam. If desired, add whipped cream and caramel.

Inquiry of the Day:

Have you ever had a pumpkin spice latte?
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sending It Out To the Beta Readers: Step Four of Revising

It took me two months to fix the minor problems in my novel. Two whole months! Which is a lot longer than I wanted it to take. I think my biggest problem was procrastination. I don't know why I procrastinated, though. Reading through my entire WIP (again) wasn't that big of a deal. But it is sort of overwhelming, so maybe that's why?

Well it doesn't matter now, because I've finished! Woo hoo! It's just a matter of typing everything into Scrivener (the program I use specifically for my novel), which could take another two months. But hopefully not, because I am determined for it not to. However determination can only got you so far, before the thrill starts to fizzle out and you loose momentum. That's how it is for me, anyway.

Now, about step four, I'm pretty sure I've discussed beta-readers before, so I'll just do a brief summary of what they are.  Beta-readers are basically editors. Except they don't get paid for what they do. (That's what makes them so amazing and awesome. ;) With that said, anyone can be a beta-reader, as long as they enjoy critiquing other people's work and are good at it. I just happen to enjoy critiquing, so I like to swap stories with other people and edit their work while they edit mine. It's really a good system.

But this might just be the step I am most afraid of in the revision process. Imagine, sending your carefully crafted masterpiece out into the world only to have it slaughtered into a million pieces. Terrifying, I know. I haven't met anyone who deals with criticism well, so we all know my reaction to this slaughtering- I get defensive. I deny that I ever said that, and that "no, it's not stupid, you just can't see my reasoning behind it because you're too dumb". And all that is totally untrue. The fact is, when it comes to getting my novel (that I've worked on for almost a year and a half, mind you) critiqued, I can't accept that I did something wrong. It registers with failure in my brain immediately. I know I haven't failed, but it sure feels like it when reading those edits for the first time.

This is where a little trick that's been used by millions of authors around the globe comes in: forget about the critiques for a couple days. Don't do anything related to your novel. Go walking, running, biking, or shopping. Read books for fun. Bake. Anything but work on your novel. When you come back to it in a few days you should have a much clearer head and be able to see what your beta-readers are talking about.

So, here I come step four! And now I'm that much closer to finishing my novel and sharing it with you guys. Yay!  :D

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rhubarb Pie

Guess what my grandma brought us a few weeks ago? More rhubarb! We had rhubarb muffins, of course, and two pies. The first was a complete flop, because the crust was completely burnt. But the filling was still good so we scraped that out and ate it in yogurt and chia seed pudding.

For the first pie crust I used a recipe from the amazing Elana Amsterdam's Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Normally, her recipes work like a charm, but this time the oven temperature was too high and we had to bake the pie for too long and.... The crust was black. Completely burnt to a crisp. *sigh*

But yesterday I was determined to make a pie with a flaky, buttery crust and not too sweet, not too tart filling. I succeeded! The pie crust recipe is adapted from Paleo Cooking From Elana's Pantry and it worked beautifully. Baking the pie at a lower temperature helped tremendously. The crust was golden brown instead of black and the rhubarb cooked up nicely.

I'm sure my gramdma has more rhubarb too give us (I'll have to take pictures of it for you guys) so they're going to be more rhubarb recipes to come. I'm almost sure of it.  ;)

1 1/4 c. almond flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. butter, softened but not melted
1 egg or flax "egg"

3 c. rhubarb, chopped
2 1/2 T. arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
2 T. milk of choice
1/2 c. honey

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate.
2. In a food processor plus together the salt and almond flour.
3. Add the egg and butter. Pulse until completely mixed together.
4. Wet your fingertips then press the dough up the sides of the plate. Make sure it's evenly spread all over the plate
5. Bake for 6-8 minutes.
6. Meanwhile beat together your egg, milk, and honey in a large bowl.
7. Stir in the rhubarb.
8. In a smaller bowl, combine the arrowroot powder and nutmeg. Add to rhubarb mixture and stir well to combine.
9. Once the pie crust is done, pour the filling into it. Bake for 80-90 minutes. To test for done ness, stick a knife in the center and if it comes out clean it's done.

Tomorrow is my blog's birthday! Yay! I had an idea for a recipe, but unfortunately I'll have to wait to try it because I am currently on a weekend vacation. So you'll just have to wait a little longer. ;P
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Labor Day Recipe Round-Up

In Indiana, for the past three years, it's rained every Labor Day weekend. And this is so remarkable, because up until Labor Day, for the past three years, Indiana has suffered from drought since June or July to the end of August. I just think that's really weird. For a while, my family and a couple other families would go camping on the Labor Day weekend, but we stopped doing that after it rained every single year. It took the fun out of camping. )Not that I'm much of a camper to begin with. I prefer glamping. ;) So now we just have a cookout, and that's tons better. Mostly because it's indoors.

For Labor Day tomorrow, my family and I are just going to have ribs, do boot camp, and then relax for the rest of the day. Sounds like a good day to me. Well, except for the boot camp...

What are your Labor Day plans? Are you going to any cookouts? Or are you just staying home?

French Silk Pie (this recipe belongs in every recipe round-up ;)

I hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend, and, enjoy the day off work or school! 
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