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starting fresh #wholenovember

1 Nov

what just happened?

Life’s been a little nutso lately and I’m struggling to figure out where the last 6 months have gone.

I resigned from my job
I turned 30
I spent more time out of town then I did in town this summer
I hit my ‘goal’ weight.
I had surgery
I started working part time while finishing working full time
I got a new full time job at a new church
I’m leaving my beloved church (this Sunday is my last Sunday there) to go work at said new church

the list could go on and on.

With all this craziness let’s just say my eating habits have gotten all out of whack. Learning how to live and be after losing a significant amount of weight is soooo much harder than actually losing the weight. People told me this but I don’t think I believed them. Well I do now!

I’ve also noticed some less than desirable side effects (one is being played out right now…insomnia…yuck) and habits pop up because of all this that I’d like to see go away.

Basically…I need to

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So it’s November 1. I’m starting fresh. Getting clean. Going whole. I’m calling this #wholenovember .

I’m basing it off of the whole 30 diet but altering it some to make it non dairy vegetarian.

All I will eat is vegetables, fruits, lentils, chickpeas, some eggs and oats. nuts, seeds and other gluten free grains will be very limited. All of these things need to be in their whole forms. nothing processed and as plant based as I can get.

I am not going to weigh my self or track anything but my food for the entire month. This isn’t about losing weight. It’s about getting back on track.

I am under no illusion that this is going to be easy. Especially with the holidays around the corner…but I have to do something. I need to get back in the mind set of why I started this whole journey in the first place…to be healthy.

I’m sure I’ll be posting pics along the way of the journey on Instagram etc. so you can find those there. I’ll also try and give small status updates here on the blog too.

Do you need a fresh start? Feel free to join me in this journey too! Things like this are always more fun with friends. 😉 Just use the hashtag #wholenovember on your fav social media outlet so we can track with each other.

Y’all have been so encouraging to me on this journey thus far. Thanks in advance for continuing that.

Here’s to #wholenovember !

BTDubs. I’m going to start an Instagram series called #30daysofthankfulness where I attempt to post a pic a day of something I am thankful for. Join me, won’t you?

in the kitchen with Ruthanne!

13 Oct

Life’s been a little crazy lately and i haven’t been experimenting much in the kitchen. But with the cooling temperatures outside and the over and abundance of pumpkin recipes on pinterest I’ve been feeling an itch to do some baking.

When you have a gluten and dairy intolerance baking can be a challenge but I love a challenge.

As I was reading the most recent Trader Joe’s Frequent Flyer pamphlet I noticed they had a pumpkin version of their popular “…walked into a bar” line of fruit bars. I love these kind of bars. The graham crackery bar with the fruit filling are sooo good. but they almost always have wheat in them. And sometimes the filling as dairy in it. So I decided to give a homemade gluten & vegan version a try.

So here’s my basic graham recipe. You can make this into graham crackers or into a fruit bar. These are not as sweet as a traditional graham cracker so if you want them sweeter just add more sweetener. See, baking is easy. 😉

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Gluten free/Vegan ‘grahams’

1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons flax meal (soaked in 2 tablespoons of water as an egg replacement) or 1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon stevia or 2 tablespoons of sugar
3 cups of water
combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a silicone spatula until smooth.
if you are using this for a fruit bar you want it to be the consistency of muffin batter. if you feel like it is too dry or thick you can add more water until you reach that consistency. if you are making them into graham crackers you want it to be in the thicker side.
*note* These don’t rise a ton so don’t be alarmed.
baking:
Fruit bars – pour half if the batter in to a greased square baking dish or lined muffin tins. layer in your filling then pour the remaining batter on top.
bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. if you are doing your bars in a muffin tin you’ll want to rotate them halfway through.
Graham crackers – Pour the batter onto the lined cookie sheet, and spread it out evenly to the edge of the sheet.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until the edges are brown and the center is just starting to crack.
Remove the parchment paper or silicone mat from the sheet (don’t burn yourself!) and cut the crackers into squares. (I got about 30 crackers out of this recipe.) Stick them back in the oven for 2-4 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let the crackers cool completely so they can crisp up.

Fillings:

You can use your favorite fruit preserves (fig is particularly yummy *fig newtons anyone?*) for a fruit version.

*I just thought of this* nut butter & chocolate chips for a reeces cup feel. OR chocolate chips and marshmallows for s’mores. OR combine those two fillings! Amazing! Your options are limitless!

Here’s my pumpkin spice filling recipe. I like to really taste the pumpkin so mine, again, is not super sweet. Adjust to your taste.

3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not the pie filling – just 100% pumpkin)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (you can use pre-ground but fresh is really better)
1 teaspoon stevia or your favorite sweetener
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir to combine.

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Note: I made these into little bites in mini muffin tins but you can use a baking dish for bars or regular muffin tins or a loaf pan. If you use a loaf pan you may need to adjust your baking time.

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There you have it!!

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They’re not super attractive but they are so easy and really versatile. Have fun and let me know what versions you make!

recipes

10 Feb

Don’t you worry…i’m not turning this into a food blog. But I have had some successes in the kitchen that I wanted to share.

643ef55c722d11e293dd22000a1fb194_71. Loaded Quiche
This was kind if a fluke. I had this gluten free pie crust that was leftover from thanksgiving and was taking up room in the freezer. I was trying to think of ways to use it but not make something sweet. I wanted to do some kind of pot pie but then landed on a quiche. I’ve now got breakfast or lunches for a week or so! Here’s the details.

The goods
1 pie crust – store bought or homemade…I’m not picky
6 eggs
3/4 cup of milk – I used almond milk but if you don’t have to be dairy free regular milk is fine.
1 1/2 cups spinach
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1/2 of a red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup diced tomatoes – canned is fine…but don’t use the juice
3 slices of cooked bacon – I used turkey bacon but you can use regular too
Salt and pepper
Optional – 1/2 cup of your fav cheese.

what to do
Pre heat the oven to the specifications of your pie crust.

Sauté the garlic, onions and mushrooms over medium heat in a pan with a bit of oil or cooking spray. You want them to be nice and browned.

When the garlic onions and mushrooms are done dump your spinach in the pan and turn off the heat. This will start to wilt the spinach but not cook it.

Beat together your eggs and milk and a pinch of salt and pepper

Add what’s in your sauté pan as well as the bacon and tomatoes (and cheese if you are using it) to the egg mixture.

Prick the bottom of your pie crust.

Pour egg mixture into pie crust.

Bake in oven until the center is done. About 40 minutes.

You can eat this warm or cool…whichever you like!

2. Very Berry Oatmeal

I love Oatmeal! My good friend & team-mate Drew is my oatmeal guru. He makes the best oatmeal and has taught me a lot about oatmeal making basics that you can alter to make tons of different flavors (even tips to cleaning up after your oatmeal! Hint…use cold water! You won’t fighting with that gluey paste in your bowl or pot)

My latest version of oatmeal is a very berry oatmeal! I’ve shared another fall themed version here.

the goods – this is a one person serving…adjust your quantities accordingly.

1/2 cup of oats

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of milk (pick your poison here…i drink almond milk but any kind of milk would work.)

1/4 cup of blueberries

5 strawberries sliced

1 tsp vanilla extract

a dash of your favorite sweetener (mine’s sweet leaf stevia)

what to do

Cook the oats according to the instructions on the side of the container. Mine says 1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup liquid. I use half water and half almond milk.

As the liquid is heating up throw your fruit, vanilla and sweetener in. You don’t have to do it right at the beginning but definitely before it comes to a boil.

When your liquid comes to a boil (and be careful here…it can have a tendency to boil over) add the oats and stir to combine.

I use quick cooking oats so they cook for 1 minute then you turn the heat off and cover it for another 2 mins.

Then you get to eat this yumminess! The blueberries give the oatmeal a fun purple color and the strawberries are delish and soft.

YUM! And bonus…this whole thing is only 210 calories (if you use almond milk and a calorie free sweetener)

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I hope you enjoy these kitchen successes I’ve had!

What I’ve been doing – part two

4 Nov

*click here to check out part one*

Click here to read part three

While exercising and staying active is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle it’s not the only thing you need to do. Your body needs fuel to run well so it can keep up with the activity that you are putting it through.

enter food.

now’s a perfect time for my disclaimer! I would like to say one thing before I start. This is what worked for me. I am not you…you are not me…everyone is different and that is what makes this a little tricky. Some of you may look at what I did and be all…”You’re cray cray! I’m never doing that!” Do what works for you. No one person’s diet is going to look exactly the same as someone else’s. I’m no doctor or nutritionist either. So please take what im saying with a grain of salt…its my opinion and nothing more. Got it? Cool.

Our body’s are not made to survive and thrive on no food. It just doesn’t work that way. They are also not made to survive in crappy food. You’ve got to give your body food…but not just any ole food. It needs to be good food! Food that makes your body run well…in the right quantities. I mean you could work out like crazy all the time whilst eating horribly all the time. But I bet at some point your body will revolt on you in some way shape or form.

I would say when I started this journey I ate OK. Not horribly but not awesome either. I don’t think it was what I ate that gave me issues…it was how much I ate and why I ate it. So lets look at those two things.

How much…
My portions were totally screwed up. I had no idea what a serving size really was supposed to be. “you mean a serving of chips is not eat as much as you want until you are full?” no. not at all. So I taught myself how to read nutrition labels. Now I read the back of EVERYTHING. (or look it up on my phone…more on that later) This took a while to get used to. At first I was horrified as how bad my portions were and how many calories where in some of the things I used to eat (and how much of it I would consume in one sitting!) And be careful! nutrition labels can be sneaky! My sister and I were at the grocery store today and we were looking at those cups of soup…you know…the ones you just peel off the metal lid and pop in the microwave. Well it said that one serving was 200 something calories…not bad for soup…but there were two servings in the one container! And if you are anything like me you rarely eat just that cup of soup for a meal…maybe you’ll have some crackers or carrots and hummus or a dessert with it. Well pretty soon you’re way up there in your calories. ANYWAY! All that to say…I’ve now gotten vigilant on eating one serving size of most things at any given time (salsa would be an exception…I’m sorry but 2 tbs of salsa at one time is just not a realistic serving size for me) It’s not hard…it just takes some time to get used too.

One resource I cannot recommend enough is an app/website called My Fitness Pal. I can honestly say this app has totally changed my life. I started using it at the beginning of my journey and it has not left my side. It not only helps me keep track of my food and calories. (I have a calorie limit for the day and the app adjusts it as I intake food and burn calories with exercise…and yes I put everything in there…everything.) it also helps me choose what to eat. This is especially helpful when eating out. I’m often using the app on my phone while looking at the menu to help me make smart decisions in what I eat. I can’t tell you how important the keeping track of what I eat has been for me.

While we are on the subject of reading food labels lets talk about allergies. Yup…I’ve got em…which makes reading the labels all the more important. I’m allergic to shellfish (not a huge issue…it’s pretty easy to avoid) and all dairy products. This has been a new one for me this year. And can be a little complicated. When i say all dairy products i’m talking milk, cheese, cream, butter, milk chocolate…basically anything that comes from a cow. I used to just stay away from lactose with the occasional ice cream treat…now…my body pretty much rejects all forms of dairy…in one of two ways…I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. 😉 So this has bee a pretty big part of my dietary needs…finding dairy free alternatives to things and really reading the ingredient lists for dairy or dairy bi-products. On the plus side…dairy can be pretty heavy on the calories so this frees me up quite a bit. *if you’d like to read my story of how I discovered an alternative to milk you can read that here.*

Why?
Another big thing for me in taking control of my food is understanding why I’m eating. This may sound silly but it can be a big thing. I didn’t just eat when I was hungry. I ate when I was bored, I ate when I was stressed, I ate to not offend, I ate when I was upset. I basically turned to food to comfort instead of fuel. This is still something I struggle with. But now that I know where my weakness is I’m better able to conquer it. Food will never satisfy your emotions the way you think it will when you dive into that bag of chips or pint of ice cream or that package of cookies. Search your heart to figure out what issue you are trying to solve with food. Change like this doesn’t happen over night. It will probably be something I struggle with my whole life. But knowing your triggers and how to deal with them is huge.

What?
OK. We’ve talked about how much we eat and why we eat it. Now lets chat about what we eat. I’ve chosen to (as much as I can…there are always some exceptions) eat clean. This basically means if my food doesn’t come from the ground or have a mother I try not to eat it. Like I said…this isn’t a hard and fast rule…it basically means I try to not eat a ton of processed food and I to eat as much vegetables, whole grains and protein as I can. I avoid dairy and refined carbs as much as I can. This is what has worked for me. I do love looking into my grocery cart and seeing the majority of it taken up with fruits and veggies! So colorful! Something fun I’ve started doing is if and when I shop at trader joes or the farmers market I always pick a fruit or vegetable that I’ve never had before to try for the first time. It keeps me on my toes and helps me not get stuck in food ruts. Some successes have been spaghetti squash, golden kiwis and pomegranates! This is could be a fun activity if you have kids or have just moved to another country (hint hint any missionary families who may be reading my blog)!

Well this has turned into a really long post…Is anyone still with me? Maybe i should have split part two up into two parts! Oh well it’s all really important!

One last little thing then I’ll stop for this part.

Eating out
We all love it…but eating out can be a minefield when it comes to eating healthy. Lots of restaurants are offering healthy alternatives now but if you are anything like me you may not eat at those places a ton. I love trying out new restaurants with unique menus. This can be tricky at best. What I’ve gotten used to…especially with my allergies…is asking for alterations to certain menu items. I try and explain to the server my allergies when I first get there so they are aware and can (hopefully) relay the message to the kitchen, Then I order and then change the dish completely to fit my needs…yup…I’m that person. I used to get embarrassed and apologize a ton but I’ve gotten used to it now. And I know I’ve confused/frustrated/annoyed a fair few servers…but you need to do what you need to do. Don’t be embarrassed!

For crying out loud…Longest post ever!

So part one...excercise
part two…food
And for part three…YOU! Oh it’s gonna be hard…but really good.

See ya then!

PS – here’s a really cool infographic that I found helpful

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Oatmeal goodness

2 Nov

People seems to have REALLY strong opinions about oatmeal. They either love it in all it’s ‘stick to your ribs’ goodness or they hate it and think the texture and taste is like glue (or something else that I won’t mention 😉 )

All that aside…I LOVE oatmeal. It’s such a great breakfast when the mornings start to get chilly. I have a friend who makes the best apple cinnamon oatmeal and I’ve been trying to replicate his recipe for a while (with varying degrees of success).

In my attempts to shake up my breakfast routine I decided try an idea for Pumpkin Pie flavored oatmeal that I’d seen on pinterest. I didn’t follow a recipe exactly…just kind of made it up as I went along. 😉 It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself so I thought I’d share the love. 😉

I didn’t take any pictures because…let’s be honest…oatmeal doesn’t photograph well.

Here’s what you’ll need. (B T Dubs…this makes one bowl…so adjust your quantities depending on how many people you’re making this for)

1/2 cup of quick cook oats, 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie mix…100% pure pumpkin) 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, and for my secret ingredient…1 tbs of pumpkin butter (I like my oatmeal a little on the sweet side so I found this adds sweetness with out a ton of calories and a lot of pumpkin flavor! trader joes has a great one!)

Cook the oats according to the instructions on the side of the container. Mine says 1/2 cup of oats to 1 cup liquid. I use half water and half almond milk. Add the pumpkin pie spice to the milk/water in the pot & bring the liquid to a boil.

When your liquid is boiling add your oats to it, stir to combine and reduce the heat to medium. (mine only take a minute or two to cook). While they are cooking take the bowl you are going to eat your oatmeal in and heat up your pumpkin and pumpkin butter in the microwave. It doesn’t take long…just 45 secs or so…Just so the pumpkin and pumpkin butter is warm and it doesn’t cool off your oatmeal.

Once the oatmeal is done add it to the pumpkin mixture in the bowl and stir it up so that everything is combined well!! You can sprinkle a little more pumpkin spice mixture on top if you’d like to make it look pretty. 😉

There you have it…Super easy and Super yummy!!!

Enjoy!!!!

Insta-Friday – 11-25-11

25 Nov

Linking up again with Life.Rearraged for a big edition of Insta-Friday!

My super talented friend Bobbi-Jo's photography is on display at the Genema Gallery at Christ Church Buckhead. She had her opening last friday!

pretty centrepieces at the art show.

My other super talented friend Steph's band (The New Empires) played at Bobbi-Jo's show. Steph's the drummer!

Some friends and I from church got together and decided to celebrate the fall season by having a pumpkin cooking extravaganza! It was so fun and sooooo good. Here’s some of our dishes and some of the fun we had.

Proscuitto Bruschetta with Brown Sage Butter and Pumpkin Marscapone spread - DELICIOUS

Chilled spiced bourbon cider!

Kate eyeing her pasta in the oven.

Dinner TIme! Salad with Candied pumpkin seeds, curried pumpkin soup and stuffed shells in a pumpkin cheese sauce

And for dessert...Pumpkin cupcakes with Maple icing and Pumpkin smoothies!

Somehow, after dinner arm wrestling ensued.

...then finger fencing

My dad made a guest apprearance...via Skype!...at my d-group to answer some questions we had about the book of Jude.

Under the boughs doing some Christmas tree maintenance at my parents house.

Happy Anniversary to my Mom and Dad! They celebrated 33 years on Thanksgiving Day! So thankful for them.

My Cousin-in-Law out did him self this year! Smoked Turkeys! Best Turkeys ever!

best way to end Thanksgiving Day - sitting around the fire pit with family.....then we had pie.

 

What a great week!!

Insta-Friday – 11-18-11

18 Nov

I’m linking up again with LifeRearranged for Insta-Friday!!

hot chocolate! it hit the spot on a chilly sunday afternoon

I have a new prayer card in the works! Here's the pic...thanks to Shannon for taking them!

Tuesday night was one for the books...friends, half off pitchers, good food and settlers of catan!

we went old school with our restaurant bill math...complete with long division

hunkering down in the bathroom at work during a tornado warning - fun times

My mom & dad had some some little ones over and we all enjoyed a little veggietales before bed....their little feet are so cute!

It’s been a fun week!!!

Insta-Friday

26 Aug

I’m linking up with LifeRearranged for another edition of Insta-Friday!

I killed my bamboo……..sadface

time for worship
Ethiopian! this was my first time trying Ethiopian and I’m a fan.
and the coffee…oh the ethiopian coffee was delish
loved having my parents come over and bring breakfast with them…made for a fun saturday morning
I made my own almond milk this week! the verdict is still out as to if this will become a regular occurance

Wanna come over for Thanksgiving?

16 Nov

I love Thanksgiving – It’s one of those holidays that’s pretty low key in my family so it’s usually nice and relaxing…..and did I mention the pumpkin pie? How could I have forgotten!

If your going to be in the Atlanta area for Thanksgiving and don’t have a place to go my Family would love to have you over for some Thanksgiving grub!

Leave a comment below, facebook me or shoot me a email if you are interested!

a series

15 Sep

A few weeks back my family, along with friend and photographer Bobbi Jo were having brunch at Sun in My Belly in Kirkwood. Kirkwood is a lovely neighborhood in Atlanta nestled near Decatur & Oakhurst and East Atlanta.  And Sun in my Belly is just delicious! While dining at Sun in my Belly – thanks to a scout mob coupon…..What’s scout mob you ask?

*start tanget*

Have I blogged about the wonder that is Scout Mob? No? I’m so sorry… Scout mob is a wonderful coupon service that is available in certain US cities that offers great deals on restaurants, shops and even some salons. No purchase is necessary, (unlike groupon) all you have to do is have the app on your iPhone or Droid and show the coupon when you pay. Most coupons are for 50% off! It has been a wonderful discovery! And very handy for one who likes to try new restaurants.

*end tangent*

My mother spotted a book called “Eat. Shop. Atlanta.

(in case you are looking for it the cover is actually more orange than the red depicted in this picture)

We scanned through the book and noticed lots of different restaurant suggestions featured in this book. My mother purchased a copy for us. (thanks mom!)

As we were eating our delicious brunch and looking more closely at the book a thought popped into my head…”How fun would it be to have do a series on my blog and try out all the different restaurants in this book!” So I told my sister that that’s what were were going to do and that’s what we are going to do.

So we will start in October (after I get back from Mexico) every Monday as our schedules allow. We are going to try out one of these places from the book. Not many restrictions are on us except for the fact that we are not allowed to order the same thing.

So off we go! I’ll try my best to take pictures of our dishes and update the blog as soon as we get home to let you know how it was…Also if anyone would like to join us you are MORE than welcome…The more the merrier in our opinion!

Stay tuned for the first post. I also need suggestions on what to call the series…give me your ideas…i promise to give you credit!