time to get personal.

I’m going to get personal.
It’s going to be a long post.
<Deep breath>

Over a year ago I was not in a good place.
If you know my story, you know that I have struggled with depression for a long time.
This time last year I was on two anti-depressants to help with anxiety and depression.
It was okay. It helped. The side effects sucked.
(pardon my French)

I was also spending every weekend evening drinking too much.
And I don’t mean water.
I drank too much alcohol which is a no-no with anti-depressants.
I then would pass out or be sick.
Every weekend. And I had been doing this for a while.

I look back and think “how foolish!”.
What did my kids think? (yes, I’m crying as I type that.)
How did my husband feel having to take care of me?
Why did my friends remain my friends when I got drunk at their house and then sick at their house over and over? (I let those friends slip away despite their care and love.)

Last summer I began my journey to good health.
And I don’t mean just exercise, but really good health.
I wanted to be off of the anti-depressants.
I wanted to feel good.
I wanted to not drink so much on the weekends.
I wanted to be happy.
I wanted to be a good mom, wife and friend.

So I took a leap of faith.
I bought this bag of Shakeology with a paycheck from my cleaning job.
I was a skeptic but I was also ready. Ready to give it a try.

Within 2 weeks I was off of my anti-depressants.
I was renewed. I was excited about life. I was full of energy.
I was happy again. And I wanted to help others feel that too.
I knew I wasn’t alone.

So from that came a new career that stemmed out of my passion for this product.

I stopped getting drunk every weekend.
I started being me again.
It might sound silly, but it’s true: a shake changed my life–good nutrition changed my life.

And now, I’m a good example to my kids.
My husband doesn’t have to carry me around unless he wants to.
And those friends? I’m working on making that better to.

I still have times when I struggle with depression.
Like right now when it’s February (freezing cold) and I have too much on my plate.
I can’t do a damn thing about February (or the cold) but I now need to tackle that overloaded plate.
And in order to tackle that, I know I have to eat good food and exercise to take care of me.
I’d appreciate your prayers as I figure out a balance for life, family, work and home schooling.

But all in all?
Life is pretty darn good.

Cincinnati chili.

My husband loves Cincinnati chili. Skyline is his preferred.
We live in Bloomington.  There is no Skyline here except in a can at the grocery.
And you know how I feel about “food” in cans.
So I try to replicate it about 10 times a year.

I have made some good ones but I think this one is the closest I have come.
I am sharing it here so that it never gets lost.
This recipe made it to my home via my husband who brought home the IndyStar section that covered ice wines.
Somehow, the same section of the paper also had this recipe.
Coincidence? I think not.

This is the key–you must make it ahead of time.  One day. Two days.
Make it ahead.
I made it on Saturday.
I let it chill.
Skimmed the solid fat off the top.
Chilled it some more.
Reheated it for dinner on Monday.

I made noodles and shredded some cheese.  The family likes it that way.
Me? I had mine over a baked sweet potato.  HOLY YUM.

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All credit goes to Sarah Croft at the IndyStar: http://www.indystar.com/story/life/food/2015/01/22/solid-gold-eats-chili-cincinnati-spin/22178037/

Cincinnati Chili

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 pounds ground beef

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons chili powder

2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

2 cups beef broth

1. In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes or until onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2. Brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon. Once browned, drain grease and return beef to the pot.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Let the chili come to a boil, then cover and simmer for at least two hours. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and refrigerate overnight.

4. When you’re ready to eat the next day, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook some spaghetti per package directions. Plate the spaghetti and spoon the chili on top. Add shredded cheese and diced onions to serve.

a new tool for a better me.

My sweet little pea is getting her 4th grade Bible tomorrow.
(which I guess means she’s not so little anymore.)
We have been meeting before church service this past month–just 3 Sundays–to learn more about the Bible and how to use it.

My Bible knowledge is not strong.
I used to feel very ashamed about that.
Then I realized that it’s okay.
That there are lots of folks out there like me.
Lots of folks who can’t tell you if you Job is in the New or Old Testament.  (It’s Old. I think…)

What I have come to realize is that it is important to me.
It is important for me to know God’s word better.
It is important for my daily life–how I interact with people, how I raise my kids, how I deal with struggles of home schooling, working, marriage, parenting and LIFE.
It is important that I realize I don’t know the Bible very well and then I do something about it.
Not because of my shame in not knowing it, but because I have realized that knowing God’s word better will make me a better person.
A better mother, wife, friend, coach…

God’s word is no longer that “thing I’ll get to when I get a chance”.
God’s word is a tool.
A tool to make me a better person.

I understand that it’s written by many people over many years and they are stories told, not specifically God’s word written by Him.
That doesn’t make the lessons in it less valuable.
It’s good stuff to ponder, discuss and put into practice.

Does “turn the other cheek” mean you let someone beat the snot out of you and be okay with it?
I learned in college that it actually has to do with the fact that in that time and culture, one used their left hand to wipe their, ahem, youknowwhats. AND it was to only be used for that.  NOTHING ELSE.
To turn the other cheek to someone who had just smacked you with their right hand was like saying “come on. use that hand you aren’t supposed to to smack my other cheek. i double dog dare you.”
A challenge of sorts.  Standing up for yourself without saying a word or laying a hand on someone.
I dig that.
Now, do I know if that’s true? Nope.
But I like it.  It helps me.

God’s word gives me examples of how to be a good person in a not-always-good world.
This Bible class that was made for my daughter has taught me so much about myself.
I want to learn more.
I want to put it into practice more.
I want to be more.
I want to love more, give more, help more.
I am ready.
And now I know I can do this.
God’s word is my guide.

And after tomorrow I’ll have a really cool Bible to use.
It’s made for kids but it is perfect for me as I start this journey into God’s word.
Like a child…I open my heart and mind to learning more.

always the skeptic.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I am skeptical of anything that sounds awesome and easy.

Too good to be true? Me: Probably
Too simple to make a difference?  Me: Probably.
Too easy to work? Me: Probably.

Many times, I’m right.
Several times, I have been wrong.
Brace yourselves.
Today I am going to share a time when I was wrong.
And I might still be kicking myself about it.

I have always enjoyed using the workout from Beachbody.
Insanity, T25, PiYo…you name it, I have probably done it.
That was easy for me.
I have seen the before/after pictures.
I have seen the infomercials.
I have done the workouts.
They work and they involve work–no magic pill there.
You buy it, you do it, you get in shape.

I heard about Shakeology.
I thought the name was dumb. (strike 1)
I had already decided long ago that shakes were dumb. (strike 2)
I had no idea what was in it. (strike 3)
I kept hearing about Shakeology.
I got curious and read up on it.  (Google rocks, I don’t care what anyone says.)
It seemed to be more than just a protein shake.
I decided I might try it.

Friends that I trust were drinking it daily.
They were raving about it.
Here’s what I heard:
-gives energy
-tasty
-helps with weight loss
-sleeping better
-cravings gone
Well, that had my attention.

I was still skeptical.
How in the world does a shake do all that?
I needed to know what was in it.
So I went back to Google.
It had some really good stuff in it.
Really good stuff.
Superfoods, whole foods, probiotics, vitamins and minerals.
(this video helped explain it: Shakeology Ingredients)

You get the idea. I was skeptical. I educated myself.  I decided to try it.
I bought my first bag last July.
I drink it daily for my breakfast.
I haven’t missed but 5 days in over 6 months.
Why?
Glad you asked.

1.  I feel great.  Eat real food=feel really good.
2.  I am off of my anti-depressants thanks to the nutrients and superfoods.
3.  I have lost weight and maintained that weight for over 4 months.
4.  My energy rocks.  Up at 5 a.m. and go full on until 9:30 p.m.  Then I sleep like a baby.
5.  Cravings are just about gone.  Not just for sweets/bread but cigarettes.
6.  I haven’t been sick.  Not once. Not even a cold.
7.  I am getting the nutrition I always knew I needed but never got.

Now ask yourself….
do you feel great?
do you need to lose weight?
do you want more energy?
are you tired of cravings?
have you been sick lately?
do you really get the nutrition you need?

If you answered no to any of that, we need to talk.
Seriously. Chat, discuss, review, chat some more.
I don’t want you to order it.
I want you to talk to me about it.
Go on.
I’m waiting for your email, text or Facebook message.

a cabbage recipe for those who hate cabbage.

I like cabbage as coleslaw and that’s about it.

love roasted vegetables so when I saw a recipe for roasting cabbage I decided this might just be good.

The original recipe has a dressing you toss on the roasted cabbage….well,
I don’t have time for that and really wanted to just try the cabbage roasted.
Plain. Roasted.

I often get asked about the recipe so rather than sharing the recipe I kinda-sorta followed, I decided to post my recipe here so you can give it a go the exact way I do.

And you can follow this recipe for really ANY vegetable. Brussels sprouts are my kids’ favorite, carrots are tasty, sweet potatoes are fab…you get the idea. Pick a vegetable and follow this recipe.

Roasted Cabbage
adapted from Cooking Light
2 1/4 pounds green cabbage, core removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup vertically sliced yellow onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°. (yep, get it hot!)

2. Combine cabbage, onion, oil, sugar, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl; toss to coat. (It’s OK if the cubes start to separate.)

3. Divide cabbage mixture between 2 foil-lined jelly-roll pans. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes, stirring and rotating pans after 10 minutes.

What’s next?  Eat it. Share it. Make it again.

secret weapon.

this is not about a secret weapon you can use to lose weight.
this is about a secret weapon that you might be using against yourself.
a secret weapon that is keeping you from losing weight.
*cue dramatic music*

i’m talking about liquid calories.
soda. pop. coke. beer. wine. mixed drinks. kool-aid. chocolate milk.
i will make this short and sweet:  stop drinking your calories.

if you are struggling with weight loss, the first thing you need to do is look at what you are drinking.
is what you are drinking full of calories and sugar?
stop drinking it.
cut back.
pay attention to those liquid calories that are keeping you from losing weight.

sidebar:
i hate to mention it but sugar is bad for you.  
like “ohmygosh!” bad for you.  
stop drinking it. stop eating it, too.

how to start?
  • cut back–drinking 6 a day? drop to 3.  then 1. then none. take your time. make it happen.
  • try other drinks.
    • carbonated waters.
    • flavored waters.  ICE was a favorite for us when we were transitioning.
    • iced tea.
    • look for zero or low calorie options.
  • make your own flavored water with this infuser ball (I love this big one by Jokari).
  • help with the cravings for soda by drinking Shakeology. it worked for me. and a few thousand others.
find a zero calorie, no sugar added drink and drink it. 
stay hydrated.  lose the liquid calories.  lose the weight.