Friday, March 22, 2013

Banana Pancakes: Delicious AND Nutritious

Okay, not the best picture, but it's all I have!

My most recent food love: Banana Pancakes!!!

I LOVE these things. And they are super simple to make.

It really doesn't get much more simple than
1 very ripe medium banana & 2 medium eggs
all mashed, mixed, and cooked over medium heat
on a lightly greased griddle!

The past couple mornings, I've eaten a few of these delicious pancakes
after my morning workout to get some protein and curb my hunger
before my PB banana oatmeal is ready.

These pancakes are really sweet, so you don't have
to add syrup at all! The natural sweetness from
the mashed up banana is plenty.
How great is that?

I must say that these banana pancakes are MUCH better fresh.
They don't make the best leftovers.
(not that you should EVER have leftovers with these! Haha.)

I did heat some up this morning as leftovers and they weren't too bad.
They are just SO much better fresh. So just eat them all at once!

And you won't have to feel bad about it either!
I'll tell you why...

These pancakes are packed with protein and are
good sources of vitamin A, iron, and vitamin C,
meaning that they have between 10-19% of your
recommended daily value for each of those nutrients!

Cool, right?

So, I did a little research and figured out the
nutrition facts for these banana pancakes!
(You're welcome!)

Banana Pancakes

So, as you can see, the cholesterol in these is really high,
so just plan on eating very low cholesterol foods the rest of the day if you eat these.

Low cholesterol foods would include any fruits or veggies
(they don't have any because cholesterol is only found in animal products),
lean meats and proteins, and whole grains.

Also, if you happen to be worried about the 13g of sugar, don't worry much.
It's natural sugar from the banana!

Okay, now here's your homework:
  • Buy some bananas.
  • Wait patiently (I know it can be hard) for at least ONE banana to get really ripe. And...
  • Make these!!! :)
  • Oh, and eat the whole batch. Because you can.
Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A day at the park

Last Saturday, the weather was absolutely gorgeous!
The park was calling to us.
And we couldn't resist that call!

So, we packed up a lunch of
ham sandwiches with provolone, pesto, and spinach
and some grapes, oranges, and carrots.

We love our cute picnic basket!

We claimed a beautiful grassy area to picnic,
right next to a group of people playing ultimate frisbee.

We felt like we had just left our cavelike basement apartment
after a long Winter hibernation!

It was so refreshing to get outside and
enjoy the beautiful weather with Kaiya!

She's not quite used to the sun yet. Haha.

But she sure had fun practicing her walking skills!
She loves the feel of grass on her feet.
And Joshua and I love introducing her
 to this big, beautiful world of ours. :)

Hope you have had the opportunity to soak up the beautiful Spring weather!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I have a slight obsession...

...with quesadillas! 
I mean, really, they are super simple to make, super yummy, and extremely versatile.
What's not to obsess about?!

You can throw a lot of combinations of cheese, meat, veggies, beans, etc. into
a quesadilla and voila! Dinner! 
Plus, quesadillas can be really healthy when you make them with
whole wheat tortillas, low-fat cheese, and lots of veggies!

Anyways, Joshua and I have discovered a new quesadilla that is too tasty not to share!
I got the inspiration for this quesadilla from a few recipes I saw on Pinterest (naturally).
Sooo, I decided to make my own version of a Tomato Avocado Quesadilla.

Honestly, we didn't measure any of the ingredients. 
We just threw things in until it tasted good to us.

Joshua chopped up the avocado and tomatoes while I got the other ingredients together.

First bite for Joshua = success! He really liked it! 

Doesn't look like much, but it is FULL of flavor. Yum!

Tomato Avocado Quesadillas
           Prep Time: 10 minutes          Serves: 2

What you'll need:

  • 2 whole wheat tortillas
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 medium avocado, diced
  • 1/2 roma tomato, diced
  • lime juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • fresh cilantro (optional, but it adds so much yummy flavor)

How to make it:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. In a small bowl, combine diced avocado and tomato. 
  3. Add a few squirts of lime juice to the tomato-avocado mixture. (Taste test every squirt or so until it's as limey as you'd like it.)
  4. Add salt, pepper, and cumin to taste. We probably did about 1/2 tsp of each...but feel free to add or subtract as much as you'd like to get it tasting the way you want it to! Experimenting and taste-testing are half the fun - eating the finished product is the other half.
  5. Place 1 tortilla on the hot skillet, sprinkle with a generous amount of cheese, and add half of the tomato-avocado mixture. Sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top.
  6. Fold the tortilla in half and cook until the tortilla is golden brown (about 1-2 minutes) and then flip it over and cook the other side until it is golden brown as well.
  7. Repeat with the second tortilla and the last half of the tomato-avocado mixture.
  8. Garnish with some more fresh cilantro, if desired.
  9. Eat plain or with your favorite salsa or pico de gallo. (Joshua and I ate them plain because we thought it was already packed with enough flavor).

I must know...what is your favorite type of quesadilla? I'd love to hear what you add to yours! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Date night with Disney and decadence

My favorite night of the week, the night I look forward to ALL week is...

Date night, of course!

Joshua and I aren't always the best at going on a date on Friday nights,
(having a baby does that sometimes, haha)
but we really try because it's good for our relationship and it's just FUN.

It's fun to get away from school, work, and,
yes, even our darling Kaiya,
for a little "us" time.

This past Friday, we did exactly that. We got away!
(Thanks to my amazing sister-in-law who watched Kaiya for us.)

First of all, I must mention how indecisive I am when it comes to date night.
I have a million things I'd like to do, but I have the hardest time deciding which to do!
This night was no exception. I could not decide on a movie to see to save my life!

And I was only choosing from the limited selection the dollar theater had to offer.
(Despite my indecision, Joshua is still madly in love with me, haha!)

I finally decided on Disney's Wreck It Ralph.
I heard it was cute so we gave it a try.

Image from IMDB

We LOVED this movie! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about a "videogame" movie,
but it was such a fun movie with a great plot that Joshua and I found to be very original.
Definitely a movie we would like to add to our collection.
Thanks Disney for pumping out such fun, family-friendly movies!

After the movie, we went to Coldstone's Creamery for ice cream!!!!!
Have I mentioned that I have an extreme weakness for ice cream???
Especially Coldstone ice cream?
Well, I do.
It's pretty bad!
I mean, just take a look at these beauties!

Joshua got their Signature Cookie Doughn't You Want Some?

Cutie! He got a HUGE piece of cookie dough.

My usual: Founder's Favorite (sweet cream ice cream, pecans, brownie, fudge, and caramel)

How could you not want to dive into this decadence?
Seriously, I'm salivating as I type about this.
I should probably end this post quickly before I decide
to make a little stop here today...

Yay for date nights! :)

What is your favorite thing to do on a date? Movie? Dinner? Library? Bowling? Sports?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

1+1=1 (yep, that's right)

Joshua and I have been so blessed to teach the
Marriage and Family class at church every other Sunday.
This opportunity is perfect because I am extremely passionate about
marriages and families (just ask Joshua!).
I have even studied the topic in school as part of my major.
So, I love teaching others the things that I have learned about
strengthening marriages and families!

Today's lesson was on marital unity,
being one as husband and wife,
cleaving to each other and none else.

I love this topic and wanted to share what I have learned from it
because it truly has strengthened my own marriage and I
hope that it may be helpful to others.

(FYI...this is a somewhat lengthy post, but don't let that scare you away! There are
a lot of great ideas here for those who are married, who are dating, or who are planning on getting married sometime soon to become more unified as a couple.)

So, about this 1+1=1 thing...

Basically, it has to do with the idea that
 husband and wife must be unified in their marriage.
They must become one.

There are 3 things that married couples can do to become one:

  1. Treat each other as equal partners.
  2. Appreciate each other's complementary qualities.
  3. Be fiercely loyal to each other.

1. Treat each other as equal partners.

Research has found several benefits when couples treat each other as equal partners...
  • Greater marital happiness
  • Greater individual well-being
  • Happier, better functioning children
...just to name a few.

But what does it actually mean to treat each other as equal partners?
To me, it means that husbands and wives share responsibilities.

There is not an established list of "to-do's" for each person.
One person is not singly responsible for finances, dishes, child-care, etc.
Instead, husbands and wives share these responsibilities. 

Joshua and I have made it a point in our marriage to share
household, family, spiritual, and other responsibilities in our home.
In doing so, we have a lot more unity and harmony
in our relationship because we do not have expectations for the other person
that may or may not be fulfilled.

Unfulfilled expectations leave couples feeling bitter and angry towards each other.

We all have busy lives! Sometimes, there is not enough time in the day
for one person to get everything done that they need to or want to.
So, it's nice to have a partner, a best friend,
to help and fill in the gaps where we fall short.

That is how equal partnership in marriage should work.

2. Appreciate each other's complementary qualities.

No two people who get married are ever exactly alike. Ever.
They are two different people who come from different families,
different backgrounds, different childhoods, different communities, etc.

So, they each have something very different to offer to the relationship.

Sometimes, these differences can be frustrating! And that's okay.
But rather than try to change the traits or characteristics of the other person
that you may not find "ideal," it is important to embrace those differences
and learn to appreciate them.

Figure out how those differences bless your family and relationship with each other.
For example, I am very very very organized and studious when it comes to school
(like OCD level studious sometimes).
Joshua, on the other hand, is more laid back, likes to have fun, 
and isn't too stressed about getting perfect grades.

At first, this was frustrating to me. For me, it is easy to sit down and study for days
and days for an upcoming test or to remember to get 
homework assignments done on time (or ahead of time).
I could not understand why Joshua couldn't be the same way!

Well, it is because we are different!

Once I embraced that understanding, I used my talent for organization and studiousness (?)
to assist Joshua in being more organized and studious himself.
Instead of trying to change who he is, I tried to change how I approached the situation.
So, rather than crossing my fingers that Joshua would remember to do his homework,
I would keep up to date with upcoming assignments and remind him to complete them.

At the same time, his talent for relaxing and having fun has blessed my life
by helping me to let go of my stress. He helps me realize that it is okay
to take a break from homework to play a game or get some ice cream or take a nap.

Since making this change, he has been successful in completing his assignments
and I have been less stressed! Amazing what happens when you learn to embrace 
your spouse's differences, huh? :)

3. Be fiercely loyal to each other.

This is probably one of the most important keys to being one in marriage. 

What is loyalty? What does it mean to be fiercely loyal?

It means that nothing and no one comes between you and your spouse.
Not your children. Not your job. Not your schooling. Not your hobby.
Not anything.

So much of the heartache I see in the lives of married couples comes from a lack of loyalty.
I see it in movies, hear it in music, read it in magazines, and on and on...
Sometimes it is that couples don't have time for each other, don't value each other, or
just don't make an effort to continue learning about each other.
Often, infidelity is the culprit.

I believe marriages can last. I know they can last when couples are fiercely loyal to each other.
How can a marriage fail when both partners are doing everything possible
to ensure the happiness of the other? It just is not possible.

Easier said than done. But it can be done. 

I think the greatest way to be fiercely loyal to your spouse 
is to do something every day to fight for your marriage
(because if you don't fight for it, there is always
 someone or something fighting against it).

Leave a note for your sweetheart. Help with the dishes. Make his/her lunch.
Instead of rushing out the door to class or work or whatever, take a moment
to give your spouse a hug and a kiss and say, "I love you." 
It doesn't have to be big and grandiose.
It is the small acts of service and love shown every day that accumulate
into a strong marriage of fiercely loyal spouses.

In conclusion...

I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of marriages and families 
and  am grateful that I have been given tools of knowledge
to strengthen my own marriage.

I hope that these 3 suggestions for becoming one as 
husband and wife have been helpful to you or that 
it will be helpful to you at some point in your life.

Feel free to share some of your own experiences with how you have
been more unified with your spouse or significant other.
What has worked for you? What makes you and your sweetheart unified?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blogilates & PB Banana Oatmeal

Every morning, I start my day around 5AM with my dear friend Cassey Ho...

Okay, so maybe I don't really know Cassey and I've never met her in my life,
but I consider her my friend because she kicks my body into shape!
(Boy, does she kick it into legs are sore as we speak!)

Cassey is a POP Pilates instructor who creates workout videos
 and posts them on Youtube and her website,
She has meal plans, recipes, a shop of workout clothes,
workout routines for arms, abs, legs, core, full body,
etc. etc. etc. She has workouts for everything!
I follow along with the calendars of workouts she posts every month.

And I LOVE her workouts! She is upbeat, motivating, and exciting throughout her routines.
She pushes me to work harder and be stronger...even if she is a little crazy sometimes.
My favorite of her quotes: "Train like a beast, look like a beauty."
I just really can't explain how much I enjoy doing her workouts every morning.
I think the greatest indicator of how much I enjoy her workouts is that I
look forward to them every single morning. 
And I think that's the key to working out.
You have to love what you're doing to stay motivated to work out.

Anyways, if you're looking for a good workout that you can do in the comfort
of your own home without tons of extra workout props (weights, yoga balls, etc.)
I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Blogilates!

On another note...

This^^^^ is what I have for breakfast practically every morning after my workout.
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal!
I am obsessed with this oatmeal because it's fast, easy, filling, healthy, and DELICIOUS.
I feel soooo good after eating it. :)

Here's how I make it:

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
Prep Time: Maybe 5 min. at most!  Serves: 1 (me!)

What you'll need:

  • 1/2 cup dry old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • Handful of raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (I like Adam's Creamy natural PB)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • Drizzle of agave nectar (or honey)

How to make it:
  1. Combine oats and water in microwave safe bowl (preferably one with high edges so the oats don't spill over when cooking).
  2. Cook in microwave on high for 1 minute, take out and stir.
  3. Cook in microwave for 1 more minute, keeping an eye on it to make sure it's not overflowing!)
  4. Take it out again and stir. Just check to see if the consistency is the way you like it. If so, your oats are ready for some yummy additions.
  5. Stir a handful of raisins (or any other type of dried fruit) in with your oats.
  6. Add the peanut butter in dollops on top of the oats.
  7. Slice up your banana half and place on top.
  8. Drizzle some agave nectar (or honey) over everything.
  9. Dig in and enjoy! 
What I love about oatmeal is that it is so versatile. You could add chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut, or whatever your heart desires to this recipe to make it something you love! 

What is your favorite breakfast to get the day started right?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quinoa with chicken sausage and steamed broccoli

What was for dinner tonight?!

FYI, it looked a lot better in person! Haha

This deliciousness!

I wasn't really in the mood for any kind of lengthy dinner preparation
so I decided to quickly throw this yummy mixture together:

  • quinoa
  • steamed broccoli (steamed with about a clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper, and a bit of good ol' butter...the real stuff!)
  • chicken sausage (we LOVE this chicken sausage from Sam's club...sooo good!)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
I love how simple, delicious, and healthy this meal is!
Sometimes I eat delicious food, but my body feels icky afterwards
because it may have been more on the delicious side of the spectrum
 rather than the healthy side.

Fortunately, this dish is on the delicious AND the healthy sides of the spectrum.
Full of protein from the quinoa (a "complete" protein to be exact, containing all 9 essential amino acids! Learn more about quinoa here) and protein from the chicken sausage and mozzarella cheese.
PLUS yummy vitamins A & C...and fiber!!!... from the broccoli. 

It doesn't get much better than that.

After eating this meal, both Joshua and I agreed that it was wonderfully filling
even though we didn't have huge portion sizes or anything.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to 
cook the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water.
Quinoa, while being super healthy, can be a bit on the bland side
if not used well in a recipe. Or maybe I'm not cooking it correctly?...

I don't know. If you happen to know more about cooking quinoa,
feel free to let me know the secrets! 

Also, if you have any yummy quinoa recipes that you love,
PLEASE share! I love finding and trying out new recipes. :)

A safe haven

There's something special about the realization that
my baby recognizes me as someone she can trust.

I feed her, hold her, play with her, talk with her, comfort her.
All these daily interactions create an environment for her
where she can feel safe and comfortable.

I am a safe haven.

She knows that when I am there, she will be okay.
And even when she is screaming and crying inconsolably,
the fact that I continue to hold on to and love her in her distress
shows her that I am here for good.

I will be there for her,
through rain or shine
heartache or  happiness
crying or laughing.

I am a safe haven.

This is what I want to be for Kaiya throughout her life.
I want her to know that she can come to me after school
and tell me all about her accomplishments and struggles.
When she feels discouraged, I want her to feel safe
talking to me about her doubts and fears.

When she needs to talk about boys (like, when she's 25),
or girl drama (it will inevitably happen),
I want her to want to talk to me about those things.
I want to value her thoughts and show her I value them
by listening to her. Really listening to her.
Even if it means putting other "important" to-dos
on hold for the moment.

I want to be her safe haven.

Whenever she goes to sleep at night,
I hope she can go to sleep with the peace and comfort of
knowing she is loved unconditionally.

I hope she always looks this peaceful at the end of the day...

Newborn Kaiya sleeping in her safe haven (Mommy and Daddy's bed)

7 month old Kaiya, still sleeping safely, soundly, peacefully.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Good" mom, "bad" mom

Sometimes, I have one of those days where I feel like I can do no wrong.
Everything works out perfectly.
Kaiya's happy. Joshua's happy.
I'm happy.
I feel like a "good mom".

Tuesday was one of those days.
Joshua and I woke up early to workout together.
(And boy, was it a brutal workout - in a good way)
We loved spending that time together,
suffering through the burning thighs
and the sweatiness that accompanied it.

I had my Writings of Isaiah test that I was worried about
and felt like I did really well on it.

Kaiya was SUPER happy all day.
Full of smiles and giggles and crawling!
(Except I didn't get to see her crawl so it doesn't count, haha)

My favorite moment was when I held
Kaiya in my arms before bedtime.
Joshua kept leaning in and making funny noises at her.
Each time he did, she would squeal and giggle uncontrollably,
hide her face in my shoulder, and then look at Joshua expectantly,
just waiting for the next silly noise.

We did this over and over and over...and over.
It was one of those moments I don't ever want to forget.
It was so full of joy and love.
Love for my baby and love for my sweet husband.

Wednesday, on the other hand was soooo hard.
One of those days where I felt like a "bad mom".
Everything seemed to go wrong.
I could not get anything done.
Kaiya was fussy ALL day.
I could not figure out what was wrong!

I just held her and rocked her, trying to provide some comfort.
I felt so overwhelmed and so unqualified to be a mother.
I was tired and stressed (lots of midterms to study for).
And no matter how hard I tried to get her to go to sleep,
she would not have it!

So she cried, and I cried.
And then I prayed.
I prayed for strength at this moment
because I could not do it on my own anymore.
I prayed for Kaiya and I prayed for myself.

And even though she did not quiet down immediately,
she did eventually fall asleep for the night.
And I got to sleep.
I also got the loving embrace of a caring husband
when he got home from work.

Life's hard, but I'm blessed.
Even on my "bad mom" days.

A good reminder for me! (image found on Pinterest)

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