What would happen if you said “no?”

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Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Rest. That is an interesting concept in our world today. In fact, I would say for many it is a foreign concept. Between carpools, 9-5, homework, friends and family, church functions and the 101 additional obligations during the week, when do we find time to rest?

When we finally do stop around 8 or 9 at night, we never really shut down. After the gym or Bible study, my evenings usually consist of making dinner, cleaning up dinner, packing lunches and finishing laundry. All this while trying to grab a few hours to catch up with my husband after his long day. It would seem this cycle will never end!

Truth is, it won’t unless I make the change. About a month ago, I found myself over-committed to the point of exhaustion. Don’t get me wrong, I love my commitments, but it is just too much. One of my favorite authors, Lysa TerKuerst recently released a book titled “The Best Yes.” The book explains how every commitment we make and every slot filled on our calendar takes away from something else in our lives. Whether it is family time, personal time or more importantly God time, we are not giving those areas 100%. We can’t. Our innate desire to please people (or ourselves) entraps us in this web of excessive commitment.

What if we closely examined every area of our lives? Is every event on our calendar necessary? Do our kids have to play every sport every season? Do they have to go to every party to which they are invited? What about us? Do we have to volunteer at every church event? Is it really necessary to say YES to every invitation to dinner or a party? What would happen if we said NO?

I have been examining my schedule over the last month and decided that beginning in December and into 2015 I am done. I want to be able to say yes to dinner without having to look at my calendar. I want to have a weekend where there are no commitments and I can decide what I want to do on Saturday morning. I am going to learn to say NO.

How over-scheduled are you? Do you want to choose the BEST yes?
This tool will help you assess how many hours you have booked each week!

Let’s take some time to rest!

Cheers!

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Queso, Wine, Turkey Tacos & Chili

Yesterday was “one of those days.” Do you ever just feel “blah” even though there is no reason to feel that way? My husband has been unbelievably sweet and attentive, work is going great, I just got back from an amazing trip to Utah (I threw in a few pics below) with my mom and it is almost the weekend! In spite of all those terrific things, I was a crybaby yesterday! I guess I can chalk it up to hormones…

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What is the best remedy for feeling crappy? Prayer! This is not one of those posts though :) I went to church and taught my class on healthy eating and then I got in my car, went to the store and purchased a bottle of wine, Velveeta, Rotel tomatoes and tortilla chips. Yep! I did the exact opposite of what we are learning in our class. When the guy at the check-out made a comment about my purchase, I told him it was “PMS in a bag.” Either he did not get my joke or did not think it was funny. Oh well, I thought it was pretty funny. While my queso and wine tasted great, it did not fix my sad mood (shocking right?).P1140198

The book we are studying is called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. It is about overcoming our desire for food with a desire for God. She offers a 21 Day Challenge on her website; check it out. I promise it is a great study even though I did not put any of her tips into practice last night!

Today is a new day and I feel great! I will be exercising tonight to work off that queso :)

On a side note, I did cook yesterday. I made Turkey Tacos for lunch and Chili for dinner.

My taco recipe is really quite simple:

  • Cook 1 pound of ground turkey (I use hormone-free, lean turkey) and 1/2 onion diced in a medium skillet until cooked through.
  • Add 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (if you do not like spice, just use regular diced tomatoes), 1/8 cup taco seasoning (we use McCormick), 1/2 tbsp each of nutmeg, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well.
  • Simmer on medium until liquid is mostly evaporated.
  • Serve with your favorite tortilla shells, cheese, sour cream or yogurt or over a salad!

I have posted my chili recipe before but I made a couple of changes to this one.

  • omitted the sweet italian sausage and chick peas
  • used 1 pound of ground chicken instead of turkey
  • used 1 can each red kidney, dark red kidney and pinto beans
  • added 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice for fall
  • added 3 shredded carrots

I love the versatility of Chili; it is a great recipe to make your own. You can add tons of different vegetables, unique spices, a variation of beans etc. It is also the perfect recipe to clean out your pantry :)

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Here’s to Fall, Friday and a new day!

Cheers!

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Low-fat Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has been a while since I baked a tasty treat and when I saw this little gem on my favorite site, Skinnytaste.com I knew that leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge had a purpose! This recipe creates a fluffy, delicious cookie that can be eaten alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Cookies

Low-fat Pumpkin Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 12 • Size: 2 cookies • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 171.4 • Fat: 5.0 g • Protein: 1.4 g • Carb: 34.7 g • Fiber: 1.5 g • Sugar: 25.4 g
Sodium: 113 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line two cookie sheets with non-stick silicone baking liners such as Silpats (I highly recommend for best results) or lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice; stir to blend. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, pumpkin puree and vanilla together until light and fluffy.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a drop of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out.

Drop by level spoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets.  

Bake 8 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe comes from my friend Jenn in New Hampshire. Many, many years ago we worked together at a staffing agency here in Florida. Thanks to the wonders of social networking, we were able reconnect! This is one of three recipes she shared with me this week and I will definitely be trying them all! This recipe is super easy and makes more than enough for leftovers! Enjoy!

chicken-noodle-soup-in-a-bowl
*Photo from GalleryHip.com

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs (I recommend boneless/skinless)
  • 2 1/2 c. egg noodles
  • 2 onions, peeled & chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 c. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c. kale, chopped (I substituted spinach)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large (very large!!) pot.
  2. Cook thighs +/-4 minutes on each side. Break them up into bite size pieces.
  3. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute 4 more minutes.
  4. Add 3 quarts (12 c.) water, stir, and bring to a boil.
  5. Add kale and mushrooms.
  6. Turn to medium low and simmer 20 minutes.
  7. Add egg noodles and simmer another 20 minutes.

Nutritional Info Per Serving – 137 calories, 7 g fat, 13 g protein, 16 carbs, 75 mg sodium, 3 g sugar

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Three pumpkins with fall leaves with seasonal background

I LOVE FALL! With the Fall comes pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING! I am so excited!

It has been awhile since I have baked anything so to get back in the mood, I started with a recipe from one of my favorite sites. Chocolate Covered Katie has delicious recipes that will satisfy any sweet tooth. I hope you enjoy these bars as much as we have (and still are). These bars will be a hit at any get-together you attend this Fall! Enjoy!

pumpkin bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt or white flour (180g) (Oat flour works; the texture is just a bit denser.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (20g)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or date sugar (90g)
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips, depending on how chocolatey you want the bars
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or melted coconut oil (80g)
  • 1/2 cup canned or pureed pumpkin or sweet potato (120g)
  • 2 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract (10g)
  • pinch uncut stevia, or 1 tbsp sugar of choice
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey (If strict vegan, don’t use honey.) (45g)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first 7 ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk all remaining ingredients. Pour wet over dry, and stir to form a batter. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes. They will still look undercooked when you take them out, but this is okay. They continue to cook as they cool. Let cool for 20 minutes, and if they’re not firm enough yet, refrigerate overnight. They will firm up nicely! Makes 15-24 squares, depending on how large you cut them.

Nutrition Info