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Easter

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I have been a Christian for most of my life and have heard quite a few Easter services, always knowing that Easter meant more to me than the Easter bunny and an egg hunt. This year it all hit closer to home. Maybe it is the fact that I lost my Grandpa this year…I always associated Easter with him, as I spent many Easters growing up in his shop, dying eggs with my cousins. Or maybe it is just the fact that life has a way of making heaven seem more like, well….heaven….as the years go by. Maybe it is the fact that I am so incredibly thankful that when my time does come, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am going to spend the rest of time not only with my Savior but with my most loved…this year, that meant my Grandpa. I am so thankful to know that he is going to be there with his stories and his big hugs to greet me. I have become more and more thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us. I learn more every day just how much I am in need of a Savior. Thank you Lake Pointe Church for the touching service this morning…if you didn’t get the opportunity to go to an Easter service, you should consider going to http://lakepointe.org/Message/MessageLibrary.aspx in the next few days and watching the service.
I hope that each of you had a wonderful and meaningful day. Happy Easter, my dear friends.

Clean Eating isn’t so scary…I promise!

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm

It’s been 23 days of gluten free, clean eating…and I have to say that there are things that I love about it and things that I’m struggling with! For those who don’t know, clean eating is a focus on eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods and chemicals, as well as sugar and unhealthy fats. I think the most challenging part of it has been either balancing making and having foods that everyone in our house will eat and going out to eat. It has made me appreciate those who have food allergies and have to be aware of all of these things every day of their life! Although I love eating at places that are not chains…in fact, prefer and seek out places that aren’t chains…I have to say that chain restaurants are much more allergy/gluten free friendly. Many of them have gluten free menus on their websites, which is amazing! Fast foods are pretty much eliminated with clean eating…which his ok with me for the most part, although it makes traveling hard. Not impossible, with careful planning but hard.

All that being said, I have to say that I love knowing that what I am putting in my body is healthy and fueling it, not just putting empty calories in. I thought the hardest part of this whole experiment would be giving up gluten, because I have always thought that I was both a sweet and salty girl and would never pass up bread, crackers, or any carbs for that matter! But, it must have all been in my head, because it really hasn’t been that much of an issue! Also, before trying this experiment, I probably got 3-5 fruits and veggies a day, which I thought was pretty good. Now, I am getting 7-9 a day, which is what is recommended, but I always thought was a little extreme! So, I am super proud of myself!

It is an entirely different kind of cooking, but I have to say that it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be! Or as boring as I thought it would be! None of these are my own recipes (Pinterest!!!) but I wanted to share a few of my favorites from the past 23 days!

Unfortunately, I didn’t think about taking pictures, because I didn’t really know I was going to write this blog, so you will just have to try them!🙂

For breakfast, by new favorite is Blueberry Cinnamon Quinoa, from Martha Stewart. I’ve always loved the idea of quinoa, but hadn’t found a recipe that I just loved. Well, this is it! And Nolah loved it just as much as I did!

Blueberry Cinnamon Quinoa

2 cups whole or low-fat milk, plus more for serving

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving (i subbed honey b/c I eliminated sugar)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving

1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving

Combine milk and quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When most of the liquid had been absorbed, add honey, cinnamon, and blueberries. Stir well and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Serve warm.

I also added a dash of vanilla just because! It was awesome!!!!!!!!

Tonight I made my new favorite appetizer…and ate the entire thing (shhhhh)! I don’t feel too guilty considering that it was all cauliflower and mozzarella cheese!🙂 Cauliflower Cheesesticks…are you suspicious? SO WAS I!!!! But it was really good! It is from the Brevard’s Personal Training and Bootcamp website and you have got to try it!

Cauliflower Cheesesticks

1/4 of a large head of cauliflower “riced” (I used the whole head)

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 large egg (white), lightly beaten

1/2 Cup low fat mozzarella cheese (I also threw in a bit of Parmesan cheese)

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning, divided

Preheat the oven to 350. Grate the head of cauliflower and put in the microwave for about 5 minutes. While that is cooking, put the oil and garlic in a pan until it is golden brown. When the cauliflower is soft, add the garlic, egg white, about 3/4 of the cheese and about 3/4 of the herbs.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour cauliflower mix onto pan, then flatten. Bake for 30-40 min, until it is golden brown. Take it out and put on the extra herbs and cheese, then bake for another 5-10 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce. YUM!!!!

So, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth…it’s a problem. Before my month of clean eating, I would eat WAY more of my daily calories from dessert than is healthy for anyone. I blamed pregnancy for my jeans all being tight, but the truth is it was the sugar!!! That being said, I have had a hard time giving up everything sweet, but have cut back a TON and made sure that any sweets I have are also clean. (yes, there are clean desserts!!!) I made these cookies last Friday, and the entire batch was gone by the end of the day. And if Greg eats a gluten free, clean dessert and says that it is good, it must be good! (He didn’t know that it was gluten free or clean when he tried them!) These vegan, gluten free banana peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod are awesome!!! (even so, I still wouldn’t advocate eating the entire recipe in a day)

Vegan Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 large, very ripe bananas, peeled

1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon coconut oil, slightly warmed, but not melted

2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (not all oats are gluten free…make sure it is labeled)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I did extra cause I love cinnamon)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used regular ones…depends on how careful you are wanting to be)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a smaller bowl.  Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop out spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until set. Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 2 min.

And consider yourself forewarned! They are addictive!!!!!

Again, sorry for no pics…I know it’s not as much fun to just read recipes. But I just had to pass these along!

Gary Dean Jensen

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I want to start out by saying how blessed I am to have 4 grandparents who have been such a major part of my life. They have attended choir concerts, track meets, musicals, graduations, weddings, and have been cheerleaders of me all along this journey we call life. They have each played such a part in shaping me into the woman that I am today.

Last Wednesday, January 8, I was so blessed to get to spend a few last hours with my Grandpa Jensen before he went to be with Jesus.

One of my absolute favorite things about Grandpa was that he was a wonderful storyteller. It was usually around the dinner table, and the family would linger long enough that something we were talking about would spark a story from his childhood or life. And those stories just brought him to life. His eyes sparkled and by the end of it, we would all be laughing so hard there were tears in many eyes. My favorite story was one about him when he was a boy, being chased around the barn by his older brothers and sisters, until someone stuck a 2 x 4 out the barn window and he ran smack into it. As I write that, it really doesn’t sound that funny, but somehow it always was when he told it.

Grandpa’s eating was always the one of the family jokes. He was one of the slowest eaters I have ever met. Everyone else at the table would have finished their first plate and get ready to go back for seconds while he had just taken his first few bites and was enjoying his Pepsi…always Pepsi, never Coke, if he could help it. While everyone else was finished with dinner AND dessert, he meandered through his first helping. About the time everyone was ready to clear the table, he would decide he might want seconds.

Above all, Grandpa loved Grandma and loved his family. One of my favorite things was to hear Grandma and Grandpa sing the song that they wrote together on their honeymoon….Oo oo my honey, Oo Oo my honey, couldn’t get along without you now…a song that I sang to Nolah before she was born and while she was a tiny baby. He spent hours and hours refinishing furniture that he then gave to those he loved. I use daily a 12 drawer dresser that he refinished for me years ago. He was always so thrilled to see his great-grandchildren…even after falling a few weeks before passing away, he was smiling and tickling with Nolah from his bed when we went to check on him.

I’m going to miss his big hugs and his “good to see you, kiddo.” I’m going to miss dying Easter eggs with him, even though I hadn’t taken advantage of that time for several years. I’m going to miss lunches at McDonalds where he would spend most of the time making crazy faces, trying to get Nolah to smile.

But I have to say that even with the loss that my family and I are feeling, I have never been more comforted in knowing that this isn’t the end. I will get to see Grandpa again. Not having ever lost someone that I was really close to before, I never truly understood how great a gift our salvation is. Thank you Jesus for giving us this amazing chance.

Until the time we meet again, as the old song says, Grandpa, you are so incredibly loved and missed. There is a hole here on earth that no one else can fill.

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