Posts filed under "live well physically"


Afterthoughts was as Claire's-like store and one of my favorite stores as a tween. Since I was tall for my age (yeah, I was the tallest girl in my 5th grade class...hard to believe seeing me stand an even 5 feet now...I know), I didn't like shopping for clothes with my friends who were still little and "dainty". But I loved shopping for accessories. I guess that hasn't changed much in 15 years.

I was recently reminded of how, many times, things we think hold of a lot of importance to us come as an after thought. In reality, we put our own desires, or our own agenda ahead of the people/things we claim take priority in our lives.

This week, I've been given the opportunity of time. Jason works into each evening this week, and I've set a goal to make things that are usually "after thoughts" happen. For example, last night I went to the gym. So many nights I say that I'm going to go, I might even pack a bag to go straight from work, but at the end of the work day, I am tired and I head home for some quality time with my husband. If I do make it to the gym, I take it easy, tell myself that I'm tired and just a short, easy workout will do. But not last night. Last night I went to my first spin class since college...and let me tell you...I felt the two year long break.

Another thing that has been an after thought in my life, is seeking out time with people. I'm good as spending quality time with people who are built into my everyday life, but I'm admittedly bad at keep up with people that it takes effort to see. I realize that this has to change for those friendships to function. So this week, I'm trying my hardest to reach out to people I haven't spent quality time with in a while; people I miss.

Who, or what, are the after thoughts in your life? Is it reading the bible, spending time in prayer, or taking care of yourself by exercising or eating well? I've made all of those after thoughts at some point in my life, and it's tough to face the reality that we put such important things on the back burner. But our lives are complex, and we cannot ignore or overlook such things are relationships, time in the word, time in prayer, and keeping ourselves healthy. At some point, we're going to realize the missing link(s).

In other news, I had a dinner fail last night. Since we've been married, I've only made 2 big dinner whoopsies, including last night. Thankfully, I was only cooking for myself last Mr. Picky (a.k.a my husband) didn't have to relive the vanilla yogurt fail of 2012.

Actually, the recipe was really good. But as you'll see in the recipe below, after everything is done cooking, you're supposed to put everything in the blender or food processor. Well, when I got home from spinning, I was SO HUNGRY, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time on this step. I poured everything into the blender and turned it on (I should have just used the "pulse" mode a few times). After about 20 seconds of going through the blender, the recipe was the consistency of baby food. I don't usually get caught up on the texture of food, but this was just more than I can handle. I may try it again in the future and figure out a way to not turn the soup into baby food.

Fortunately, the flavor of the soup was really good...and it even had some kick to it.

Roasted Red Pepper & Sweet Potato Soup

(Recipe from this blog)
  • 2 huge sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed. Measured this is about 6 cups of cubes
  • One 12 oz. jar of roasted red peppers in water (drained)
  • One 14 oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 c. of chicken stock.
  • 1 small red onion, large diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. You dump everything into your slow cooker.
  2. You let it cook for 4 to 6 hours.
  3. You blend it with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender (this is where I went wrong).
  4. Garnish it with red pepper flakes or chipotle flakes if you are fancy.

So you can see, it's really an easy recipe. Maybe I'll try it again this fall.

I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday!

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Southwest Zesty Salad

Last night I decided to get a little bit creative. I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked pretty good, but I wanted to add a little more umph to it. If I was going to eat this as a meal, it needed to be pretty filling. Here's what I came up with -

Southwest Zesty Salad

Yield: 5-6 Servings as a side, about 4 as a meal

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 dash of sea salt
  • 1 Hass Avocado, diced
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 c. cooked salad shrimp
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • OPTIONAL: Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
  • OPTIONAL: Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
  • OPTIONAL: Club crackers
  1. In a small bowl, combine EVOO, red onion, lime juice, and sea salt. Mix and set aside in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  2. Cook your shrimp. I poured a bag of frozen shrimp into the skillet over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Every few minutes I'd go and flip them, but they cook pretty easily while you put together the rest of the salad.
  3. In a large bowl, combine avocado, black beans, corn, and tomato. Stir well. 
  4. Pour in onion mixture to the large bowl. Stir well. 
  5. Add salt, pepper, and additional seasonings.
  6. Once your shrimp are cooked, drain the water, add a little salt, pepper, and maybe some Fiesta Lime seasoning. Pour shrimp into the large bowl. Mix well.
  7. Let your salad chill in the refrigorator for a few minutes (about 5 minutes?), or until the shrimp are cool. 
  8. Serve on Club crackers, in a tortilla, with chips, or eat it with a fork by itself!
Honestly, I'm usually pretty good about taking pictures, but I was so hungry at dinnertime that I forgot!

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Posted on August 13, 2013 and filed under "eat lite", "live well physically".

Your Everyday Addict

Someone very close to me this week pointed out that I'm an addict; a media addict. They didn't use those exact words or that exact phrasing, but that was the point.

Being on the receiving end of any sort of criticism makes me really uncomfortable. I know that I'm my own worst critic, so if anyone ever brings up anything to me that could be taken as a critique, I'm usually not okay with it. I guess, in my mind, I figure that I am hard enough on myself...therefore I don't need anyone else to tell me what's wrong with me.

Thankfully, this particular time, I kept my cool. Maybe it was because I knew they were right, or maybe I was just too tired to fight back, but regardless, I sat, listened, and agreed.

My name is Jessica, and I am a media addict.

Until recently, I couldn't ride in the car without some sort of sound. I've gotten better about it now, but it still bugs me if all I can hear is the sound of the car engine. I read an average of 5 blogs a day. It's rare that I don't turn on the TV at night...or in the morning. There was a [not-so-distance] point in my life where I considered about 20 TV shows my "favorite shows" and kept up with them almost religiously. I subscribe to 4 podcasts, and a week doesn't go by that I don't listen to all of them. I listen to audiobooks regularly. I usually am reading at least two books at once. I've seen every movie out that I want to see that is in theaters right now. Out of all of the new music that is out, I have everything I want.

There's probably more media in my life than that...but I'll stop there so that this doesn't get embarrassing or anything :)

To be clear, I don't think that media is bad.

I love music. To me, it's one of the most tangible ways of expression and I love to listen to this audible art form. I don't listen to crappy bad music either, I listen to a lot of very inspirational music, a lot of worship music, and a lot of just plain good stuff.

I have really enjoyed getting into blogs over the last few years. I've learned a TON, and even started my own (obviously). I read blogs that are encouraging that that teach me things.

I really like TV. TV shows are probably my biggest downfall, but I try to be careful about what I watch. I have my "guilty pleasure" shows like the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and yes, I do keep up with the Kardashians, but the thing that brought me to watching those shows was community. When Jason was traveling a lot, my Monday nights were awesome because I always knew I'd be able to hang out with friends for a Bachelor/Bachelorette viewing party. And honestly, I'd never heard of Kim Kardashian until I started watching her show with a few of my sorority sisters after our chapter meetings on Sunday nights. Maybe those aren't real justifications anymore because I now watch these shows either alone or with my enthusiastic sweet husband, but regardless, my original intentions were good.

Podcasts are awesome. When I get up at 5:00 a.m. to walk, podcasts are part of the reason that I'm able to get out of bed. I listen to a lot of sermons and a lot of just really good content. I've learned A TON about the bible through podcasts, I've learned about new authors that I now really like and have learned from, and I always finish a podcast encouraged.

Audiobooks and regular books have made a suprising comeback in my life over the last year or so. I used to love reading fiction, and I still do, but I've really come to love nonfiction books too. Lately I've been reading a lot of books that have helped me grow into this new stage of life - being a working wife. I've learned a lot about biblical womanhood, marriage that is grounded in the gospel, and how to really dwell where God has me.

So, as you can see, the media that I'm absorbing is not bad. But when I put it all together and think of the hours and hours I spend sitting in front of the TV or sitting and reading a blog or a book, I can't help but thing that media has become an idol in my life.

My life has come to revolve around these things. When I think of my life without cable or without podcasts at my fingertips, I get really sad - and I almost start to feel anxiety. That's how I know this isn't healthy.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up." Even though I'm not doing anything wrong by watching TV, reading a blog, or listening to music, it's important for me to recognize that it's also not always helpful either. Since I'm taking in so many messages and so much content on a day to day basis, I realize that it leaves little time for me to either think for myself or just spend time resting in God. 

What is something in your life that your addicted to? 

We all have idols, so let's take action against them.

Tomorrow I'm going to spend a day in silence. I'm not going to be silent, but going to silence my media. I'm going to challenge myself and not listen to a podcast on my walk. I'm not going to listen to music in my car. I'm not going to turn on the TV. I'm just going to be. I'm going to be with myself and those around me without an distractions and see how God uses that time. The goal is to be more conscience of what I'm missing because my brain is always engaged in something else.

If you're someone who makes any sort of media (or maybe social media?) an idol in your life, won't you join me in a day of silence?
I just searched through my Facebook photos to see if there was a picture of me with
headphones in or something. I found this...from our honeymoon. I'm seriously kicking
myself for not taking advantage of all of the quality time with Jason!
Also, how awesome is the attire of the lady walking behind me? Just sayin'...

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My Day of Cheats

June 1st marked the first day of my journey to living well physically. I started exercising regularly and I starting eat better...much better. Although I decided to cut out all processed sugar and stick to a "clean eating" diet as much as I could, I decided I'd give myself a few milestone celebrations for myself to keep me helps to be working toward something.

The first milestone came in June. Jason was a groomsmen in a wedding and I knew I'd want wedding cake. So, I made the decision that I'd eat wedding cake as long as I'd stayed on my eating plan before that day came.

The next milestone I set was for Jason's birthday. I made a decision that I would work hard from June 9th to July 23rd and then celebrate with a big night out with my guy for his birthday. And that's exactly what we did!

Take a look at our delicious cheesecake!!!

This day made me realize how poorly I ate before I began this journey. Every birthday, every celebration, every get together, it all revolved around food! No wonder I gained weight. I constantly would tell myself that I'd be "good" and then get caught up in the moment and eat twice the amount of calories I should in a day...and that happened a few times a week. I had no boundaries.

I took a screenshot of what a typical day's eating pattern looks like for me:

And then here's Jason's birthday:

Again, it's no surprise that I was gaining weight. It really wasn't anything for me to eat dessert on a regular basis before June 1st. Or eat a burger and fries. I told myself that I was healthy because on the days that I faced zero temptation, I was a healthy eater. But as life gets busier and crazier, temptations seem to be lurking around every corner.

So boundaries were set, and I praise God for the discipline to withstand temptation all of this time.

Now, it's back to healthy eat...until the next milestone.

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Posted on July 26, 2013 and filed under "birthday", "live well physically".