Keeping it Simple

Lets face it, I hate cleaning. I would rather relax by a pool with a great book and a pina colada in hand. Alas, I cannot always be on vacation and the reality of it is, I would rather make some effort than to live in a dump. 

One of the best tips I have found to ensure my home says clean and organized is to break tasks into different days. Totally helped things click for me and keeps my home peaceful.

Now, most of the time I have cleaning spurts where I will get so determined I have to clean everything until it is perfect. Unfortunately, those only happen once or twice a month. And when they do, my husband conveniently retreats to his man cave, the bathroom. 

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Though, I must say he was awesome and helped me clean my car out at midnight last night… We were up late and I REALLY just wanted it done! haha 

Anyways, I have found if I do a few small tasks each day, my house stays relatively clean. 

My cleaning schedule: Most of the time I mix it up based on need (and procrastination).

Everyday: Load and unload dishwasher, wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters, and do at least one load of laundry; fold, and put away (throw in hamper to sit there forever and die)

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Monday: dust furniture and clean floors- mop, sweep, vacuum 

Tuesday: Change bedding and wash

Wednesday: (RE) Organize closets, rooms, clutter areas (kitchen counters, coffee table, desk, etc.) 

Thursday: Deep clean bathroom- shower/bath tub, toilet, counters/sink, mirror, drawers/cabinets, restock, etc.

Friday: Windows and fridge/freezer (clean out, inventory, restock)

Saturday: Make my meal plan for the week and free day

Sunday: Free day- Church, Fun day, and pick up my coupons from the paper

About once a month I will throw in stuff that I do not feel like doing every week- deep cleaning oven/stove scrubbing, baseboards, and if I need to swap out holiday stuff/seasonal clothing, etc. 

Hope this helps! 

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Delectable Stuffed Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Recipe

Easy and amazing chicken! All in all it takes about an hour from fridge to table, and worth every last minute. I would have posted a picture…but we engulfed all of the chicken before the thought crossed my mind. 😀 Next time we make it, which will probably be soon, I will snap a shot and post it!

You will need:

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • Olive oil (to drizzle)
  • 6 basil leaves
  • A medium sized log of goat cheese

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Start with the 3 large chicken breasts. Cut each breast in half and then pound them with a meat mallet until 1/2 inch thick. Next, slice 6 silver dollar sized chunks off the goat cheese log and place on each breast. Then place one basil leaf (or half a leaf depending on the size of the chicken breast) on top of the goat cheese. Roll the chicken breast, goat cheese, and basil together and wrap one slice of prosciutto around each chicken roll. Place in a oven safe dish and drizzle olive oil over the chicken rolls. Bake in the oven at 375 F for about 45 minutes.

We served this with a simple greens salad and this delicious butternut squash soup —> http://www.food.com/recipe/moosewoods-butternut-squash-soup-with-sage-19650

Food Allergy Mayhem

Gluten-Free-PDX_New-Seasons06

In the last few years, celiac disease and gluten intolerance awareness has soared in the public eye. With this, the blessing of Gluten-Free foods, recipes, and knowledge has been shared. This comes as a bonus to me, since my husband is allergic to wheat (which contains gluten). Gluten is a protein commonly found in grains and helps gives strength and elasticity to doughs/mixes/etc.

Now, the downside of this awareness tends to give the WebMD effect: “AHHH I have this! I must have this!” but, not so fast. Although it has been found that much of the population does have some form of gluten intolerance, there are many other allergens plaguing our food OR the problem could be budding from another facet.

Intolerance Versus Allergy:

A food intolerance typically does not happen every time you consume the food, is not life threatening, and usually takes a large quantity of the food to cause sickness. A food allergy is to be taken very seriously! Food allergies can be life threatening, happen every time the food is consumed, and can occur with just a crumb. Both food allergies and intolerances have the ability to effect the digestive system and can cause digestive issues. Though, food allergies trigger the immune system (hence anaphylaxis, hives, and swelling). 

Celiac Disease causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, which can result in blocked absorption of nutrients. Gluten intolerances do not effect the body in this way and gear more towards GI symptoms. Remember this is the huge difference between intolerance of gluten and full blown celiac disease. 

The Big 8 Food Allergies include: 

  1. Milk (lactose)
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanuts (actually classified as a legume rather than a nut)
  4. Tree nuts
  5. Fish
  6. Shellfish
  7. Soy
  8. Wheat

I encourage those who constantly feel lethargic and are plagued with aches, pains and/or gastrointestinal symptoms to try an elimination diet.

My personal experience: I have found through trial and error, I do not respond well to eggs and gluten. Though none of these cause anaphylaxis in me (thank God!), they do upset my digestive system and make my joints stiff. I have learned to consume these in moderation only (and sometimes I just suck it up if the cake is THAT good and I pay for it later). There are many different severities, I am blessed to have a very mild case. However, some friends and family of mine may only consume a few morsels of gluten and spend the rest of the night in the lavatory.

Though you may not end up having any problems at all, eliminating a food (one at a time), for at least six weeks will help to give a better determination of what your body does and does not respond well too. How to decide which food should be eliminated first, a food journal really comes in handy. Write down when and what you consume in a meal and any related malaise afterwards. This will help focus on any food related problems AND help you stay accountable on a healthy diet. In addition, allergy doctors are a great resource!!

Always remember not everyone has an allergy! Your body is a machine, provide the best nutrition and maintenance possible to feel and look your best. 

Did you know that gluten can be found in anywhere from cereal to lip stick to mashed potatoes?! Remember to always read your labels!

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Good Reads on Goodreads

Just  a quick post sharing this awesome website/app to help track the books I want to read and the ones I have already read. Super neat!

https://www.goodreads.com

I highly recommend the book I am reading now! Helpful for all steps of love: dating, courting, marriage, etc. I am about half way through, and I love it. I actually received it as a bridal shower gift. It has been very beneficial in both giving me a different view point toward dating and marriage, and learning how to love according to God’s plan.

The Book of Romance Tommy Nelson

http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Romance-Solomon-Intimacy/dp/0785288988

Along with this book, I recently read a fellow blogger’s post that is not only similar to the writings of this book, but really touched my heart. The article can be found here: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/11/09/abstinence-is-unrealistic-and-old-fashioned/ (the title is misleading, but it is a VERY good read!!!) 

God Bless!

14 Healthy Lifestyle Tips For 2014!

  1. Drink water. Just do it! A simple trick to get more water in each day is to take a juice, milk, soda, whatever and swap it for a glass of water. It will not only hydrate you, but aid in fat loss, speed up your metabolism, help you think more clearly, etc. Image
  2. Use mustard instead of mayo. Mustard has fewer calories, less fat, and great flavor. My personal favorite is Dijon.
  3. READ FOOD LABELS! If the label has high fructose corn syrup, high fat, high sodium, high sugar, hydrogenated oils, or soybean oil, don’t buy it!
  4. Get enough sleep! Adults need between 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. Getting enough sleep will help you perform better and be happier throughout the day. Be sure to turn off all electronics and lights in the bedroom to ensure a better REM cycle.                                  Image
  5. Look for healthier alternatives. For instance, eat Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, more protein and less sugar.
  6. Exercise moderately for least 3 times a week. Weightlifting is something that has really benefiting my family. We not only feel better and have more energy, but weight bearing exercise helps build and maintain bones, aids in hand/eye coordination, and makes you stronger. Just be sure not to round your back when picking up heavy weights, lift with your knees, not your back, and don’t curl in the squat rack!
  7. Have a pet. I can’t tell you how beneficial it is having our dogs. They soothe us, make us laugh, love us, protect us, etc. A definite man’s (and woman’s) best friend. My mutts help me to relax, lowering my cortisol levels (the stress hormone bad for your heart). Cats, hamsters, fish, what have you are great too, I am just biased. 😉Image
  8. Have fresh plants in your home. Having plants help to detoxify the air, cheer up your home, and produce fresh oxygen.
  9. Eat more fruits and vegetables. I’m sure everyone has heard this a billion times, but having a colorful plate really helps in ensuring you have a well balanced diet. By adding antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to your diet, the risk of and heart disease, cancer, and other diseases are lowered.Image
  10. Grab a smoothie instead of the juice. Juicing is a great way to receive nutrients, but smoothies are even better. Now I do not mean smoothies with added sugar and ice cream. I mean fresh fruits blended together with a little bit of low-fat milk or low sugar juice. This way, you get all of the health benefits of juicing, plus the fiber from the plants. Win-win.
  11. Cut the sugar and artificial sweeteners they are only slowing you down! Instead curb your sweet tooth cravings with fruits and dark chocolate. A great dessert are frozen dark chocolate covered bananas with nuts. Yum! Dole now sells them for cheap if you do not want to make your own, and they taste like chocolate covered vanilla ice cream.  Image
  12. Take a time out! You heard me, take 30 minutes of me time every day. I promise it will make you a better person. People get so stressed out in the busy day to day rut, they frequently forget to take care of themselves. It is the air mask theory. You can’t help someone on an airplane put on an air mask before you put your own on. Unless you can function and are well taken care of, you cannot help those around you. Take a bath, read a book, study the Bible, play outside with the dog, or take a nap. Just do something for YOU.
  13. Eat breakfast! Eating a meal when you wake up literally breaks your body’s fast. Try something high in protein with some fat to maintain fullness for longer and help manage blood sugar levels. Eggs and peanut butter toast, a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, or a handful of berries and walnuts in oatmeal (made with milk) are great options to get your body ready for the day.
  14. The most important tip of all, give it up to God. The Bible says “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life” Matthew 6:26-27. (My favorite verse). It’s the whole “Don’t worry, be happy mantra. De-stress, everything happens for a reason, and everything will work itself out. Just breathe, relax, and pray. Image

I Love My Husband

One of my favorite new t-shirts reads: “I Love My Husband”. I wear it because I not only am so proud to have such a wonderful, kind, and caring husband; but also because the way it makes him feel when I wear it. You are essentially saying “you are my favorite person and I want to share that with everyone”. I believe small things like this help our marriage. Everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated, this t-shirt helps show your husband you care.

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These t-shirts are a project of the unveiled wife: http://unveiledwife.com/the-popular-i-love-my-husband-t-shirt/

And can be purchased here: http://www.sunfrogshirts.com/Faith/i-love-my-husband-darkheather.html

Peanut Butter Crack Dip

WOW, is this stuff amazing! It tastes almost like peanut butter pie filling, yet without all of the added sugar (and calories). Although, it is probably not great if you eat the whole batch in one sitting (Ahem…).

I had seen this many times on Pinterest and decided to try it out! After one recipe being too peanut buttery, (is there such a thing? apparently!), one with too much yogurt, weird consistencies, etc. the final product/ experiment is what one may call a piece of heaven.

Grab a small dip (HUGE glob) on a granny smith and get to snackin’! Best part: takes about 5 seconds to make and you probably already have the ingredients on hand. Win!

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  • 3 T creamy peanut butter (you can make your own, buy it, whatever. I make sure to buy one without hydrogenated oils (trans fat) and high fructose corn syrup.
  • 6 T Vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 T honey

Stir and mix together thoroughly. Yum!

How delicious would this be with macadamia butter or almond butter instead of the peanut butter?! Mhmmm One of my favorite things in life is a piece of fresh pineapple dipped in macadamia butter. Must try.

Did you know: for a product to be called peanut butter, it MUST contain hydrogenated oils (trans fat) in order to maintain a longer shelf life (a time the product lasts before spoiling). Peanut butter spread is what you should be buying, most of the time there are no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.

Just be sure to always read your labels and know: just because a product claims to be “Trans fat free”, legally they can still add .5 grams or less of it to the product! Hydrogenated oils = trans fat. Yuck!