Friday, 5 February 2016

Book Review/Sage Advice: Be You. Do Good by Jonathan David Golden



This book came at the perfect time in in my family's life. My husband and I are experiencing different life stages and situations and this book spoke perfectly to each one!

Be You. Do Good. tells the story of Golden's entrepreneurial life. He talks about how he slowly moved from one area of business (life coach) to another (owning a coffee business). He uses his life as an example of how God leads us and inspires us to do His work. Through this book, Golden is able to use the wisdom he has learned through experience to teach us to recognize and act upon God's leading.

At the end of each section, Golden asks leading questions to get you thinking about your own life and dreams. I found these questions to be really valuable and thought provoking. I love his concept of “little by little” or “one step at a time”. We should always ask ourselves what can I do next to help achieve my dreams.


I think this book is a must-read for anyone struggling to either define their dream/ life mission or act on their dream.

*I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Creating a Manageable Morning Routine

For me,  having a  good morning routine keeps me from falling into a productivity rut and ensures I complete my goals. Creating a morning routine will help keep you feeling healthy, energized and focused all day long. A good morning routine should include elements of each of the following:

11.  Exercise. Going for a jog or engaging in another activity that gets my heart pumping starts my day on the right track. Personally, I am the most motivated in the mornings, and exercising helps keep my energy levels up throughout the day. Also, if I start my day with a healthy mindset, I am less likely to devour a mid-afternoon calorie bomb. Passion4Profession, Tone it Up and Leslie Sansone offer great workouts that can be accessed through Youtube.  

22. Food. Eating a healthy breakfast is essential to keeping away the mid-morning munchies. Often, keeping it healthy and fast is the way to go. A quick Google search yields inspiration with sites such as 100 Days of Real Food, Life Simply and The Better Mom.

33. Inspirational time. Exercise energizes our bodies, but we need to make time to nurture our hearts and minds, too. Take 10-20 minutes each morning to meditate, journal or read a devotional. Doing so will energize and refresh your mind.

44.   Ritual. Rituals help us stay calm and centered. Many people make a ritual out of drinking a beverage like hot water with lemon, tea, coffee, or Choffy. Making a ritual out of consuming one of these drinks during your inspirational or breakfast time can help you remain calm, focused and receive health benefits. Other rituals include lighting candles during prayer or playing music during a bubble bath.
      
      You should make sure your morning routine reflect your priorities and responsibilities. Use the categories above as a template for filling in activities that help you feel energized and focused. Then, make a plan. Get a notebook or planner and divide your day into manageable chunks of time. Make sure to carve out time for your new morning routine. Having a scheduled plan helps your brain remember and focus on your goals. 

     If you find yourself struggling to stick to a routine, apps like The Fabulous and Runtastic, or personal fitness trackers, can help you stay focused and motivated. In addition, implementing a calendar and sticker system can help you visualize your progress. It’s important to remember that the purpose of a morning routine is to help you stay focused and energized. If your routine feels draining or too regimented it is time to change things up. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Book Review: Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne




Jimmy Wayne’s Walk to Beautiful takes you on a journey from Jimmy’s troubled childhood in and out of foster care to his successful country music career and his efforts to give back and help raise awareness of what foster kids go through.

Jimmy had a hard life. At a young age he learned to fend for himself, after learning that his mother wouldn’t. He saw his sister married off to an abusive older man when she was only fourteen. He was homeless and often in foster care. Eventually, Jimmy was taken in by a kind older couple who inspired him and led to him changing his viewpoint on life. From there, Jimmy graduated high school and college and started his music career. After enjoying some success, Jimmy realizes he wants to give back. He then planned to walk half way across America in order to raise awareness about the lives of foster children. In fact, he is part of the reason that many states have stopped “aging out” foster kids at age 18 and now allow them to transition out at age 21.

I was thoroughly inspired and impacted by Jimmy’s story. He is a good story teller and knows how to keep an audience’s attention. I would definitely recommend this book, even if you don’t typically read memoirs or non-fiction. The book has a great story element to it that will keep you interested and engaged. I always hate saying that books about painful real life events are “good reads” but for lack of a better phrase that is what I will use.


*I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Packrat Puddin'

I'm a terrible packrat. I hate to throw away anything that can be used again, especially food. So, when I made apple strudels this weekend and only 2 of the 8 survived the soggy bottom monster my mind started turning. I turned to both Cupcake Project and 365(ish) Days of Pinterest for inspiration and troubleshooting. They suggested a trifle, apple crisp, baked french toast and bread pudding. I'd wanted to make bread pudding for some time now so I jumped at that suggestion. I think this would turn out really good if you had some leftover slices of pie or strudel or turnovers. Like such a thing exists. Just be sure to crisp up whatever you use.

I cobbled this recipe together from Paula Deen and Alton Brown.



Ingredients:

3 cups toasted cubed apple pie/strudel/danishes/turnovers
1.5 cups granulated sugar
2 cups milk
5 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons vanilla
****If your original recipe did not include cinnamon, add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup granola (I used Lisa Leake's with pecans for the nuts)
1/2 stick of butter, softened

Sauce:
1/4 cup cognac, rum or brandy
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick butter butter
1 cup sugar sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine granulated sugar, milk, eggs, spices and vanilla. Pour over cubed "bread". Let sit for 10 minutes.
3. In another bowl, combine  softened butter, brown sugar and granola.
4. Pour egg and bread mixture into a 13x9x2 pan. Top with granola brown sugar topping.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until set and golden brown.

Sauce:

1. Combine sugar, butter and vanilla in a pot over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Pour in alcohol of choice. Stir well. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until pudding is ready. Pour over top.


What do you like to do with leftover or sabotaged dessert? I usually go the trifle route. Do you even have leftover dessert?


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: January 2015

Last January, I was in South Korea reminiscing about where I'm from and griping about where I lived. This January, I moved back to my hometown.

Last, January, we took a trip to celebrate the new year. This January, we celebrated with dear friends and shot off fireworks on the cul-de-sac.

Last winter, we were having snow and a cold, windy winter. This year? Last week was the first week it was actually cold!

So many more things have changed. We've moved continents. We sold and bought a car. We moved back to my hometown. My husband got a non-teaching job. I'm looking for a non-teaching job.

We went from living above a school to living within one. We are so much closer to our friends and family.

We can read the labels at the grocery store and we have learned to read them.

We went from living in a tiny apartment to living in apartment with a walk-in-closet that is roughly half the size of of the former.

We have an oven.

Lots of good and exciting things going on!

What about you. how has your life changed in a year?

*This post was inspired by a Mama Kat prompt.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Building a Healthy Lifestyle

Embarking on any new thing requires knowledge. I want to know more about healthy eating, cooking and preparing healthy and delicious meals so I spent my birthday money on a few cookbooks that focus on those things.

I received the first of them yesterday afternoon. I purchased the cookbook published by Lisa Leake, at 100 Days of Real Food. The books is divided into two main sections, information and recipes. I've learned a lot by pouring through this real food textbook and I can't wait to try out the recipes.

I've also ordered Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone, Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze by Jessica Fisher and Milk by Anne Mendelson, to help me sort out what I want to focus on making and create my own healthy eating plan which I hope to have in place more or less by February. And, I'm still utilizing The Homemade Kitchen.  My original goal was to start January 1st but with moving and everything that didn't give me the time I needed to learn how to shop and stock real food. Also, I'm adjusting to cooking for mainly one person as my husband gets to eat and is intending to eat the majority of his meals on campus. This will give me more flexibility with cooking  the "yucky things"  that I love like tomatoes and mushrooms and cut down on my time in the kitchen cooking as I will only need to make 2-3 dinners a week. This should give me more time to create and freeze staples like chicken stock, soups, granola bars, muffins and snacks for my hubby like pizza bites.

I'd really like to focus on eating 80% real food because when I want a treat, I want the real thing. Also, when I do eat dinner in the cafeteria or in a restaurant I just want to be able to order something and enjoy the night out.

As for exercise, I plan on doing harder workouts (3+ mile run and a combo of weights/squats/booty/ab workout) three days a week, paired with two lighter days of  walking and abs and two days off.

What are your health and fitness goals for this year? What keeps you motivated?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Book Review: The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila


I discovered Alana Chernila after her first cookbook came out. I followed her blog and put her cookbook on my Amazon wishlist but I'd never actually published it so I was thrilled when I got a chance to own her second cookbook.

Alana's cookbook is a beautiful and inspiring cookbook. Thus far, I have made the following recipes out of The Homemade Kitchen. I've listed the recipe's title and my thoughts about the recipe:

  • Chicken Potpie: This was absolutely delicious. In the past, I've tried potpie recipes that were good but not as flavorful as this one. This one was very flavorful. It is topped with biscuits which helped to balance out the herbs.  I want to try the winter variation featuring squash instead of the green peas.

  • Apple Pecan Muffins: I loved these! I hate it when muffins are as sweet as cake and these were definitely not sweet. They made for the perfect breakfast. However, they only baked for about 27 minutes as opposed to the 40-50 minutes called for.

  • Burritos: I tried the beef variation. I thought it was tasty but wished it has more flavor. I felt it was lacking in the seasoning for the beans, beef and rice.

  • Pear Gingerbread: I crave gingerbread and this really hit the spot.

  • Spicy Pumpkin Hot Chocolate: I really wanted to love this but I thought the pumpkin taste was overwhelming and I couldn't taste the chocolate at all.

My overall opinion is that I love how Alana teaches you her recipe and then tells you how to customize based on your preferences. I have  a list of other recipes I'd like to try including kimchi tata, pork tacos, honey wheat bread, her cheese recipes and garden pie. However, after the time issue with the muffins and the lack of seasoning I'm a little on the cautious side. If I could make any changes to the book, I would have each recipe list the prep and cook time at the top of the recipe. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.