Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

If you like chewy, moist muffins with a hint of strawberry flavor, then this is the recipe for you.

To be honest, I wasn't sure if this would work because I made so many alterations from the original recipe. 

Fortunately, they turned out pretty good! I think I could have added more strawberry purée to give it more flavor. 

Good news with these muffins...they are whole wheat, no oil, and only one sugar. In fact, you probably can cut down the sugar or cut it all-together by substituting honey. For a first try, I'd say these were a success. I will be making these again!
    Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

• 2 eggs
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup applesauce 
• 1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 3/4 cup instant oatmeal
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• Pinch of salt
• 1/2 cup strawberry purée 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or 200 degrees Celsius) and grease muffin pans 
2. Whisk eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, and milk until smooth.
3. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the wet ingredients. Mix well to form batter.
4. Mix in strawberry purée (add more if you would like more strawberry flavor). 
5. Pour into muffins pans and bake until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean (approx 20 mins)


Friday, December 5, 2014

The was, is, and will be

The feeling came slow…then all at once. Like the leaves changing in autumn. There are experiences and people who have come in to my life that I am so grateful for. Adventures that taught me how to live with passion and purpose. People that left their masks behind and were simply real. Moments spent in tears because we were laughing so hard. Other moments that took my breath away because our voices echoed off the massive mountain peaks. I don't get to see these precious people very often. The adventures we shared don't happen every day. It hit me this week how much I miss them. The day ended, and the week flew by. We all hugged farewell and headed to different gates to return home. We waved goodbye from separate cars as we drove in different directions. We said "so-long" and "stay in touch" in a crowded capital room. This feeling wasn't depressing, although I was a little sad when I thought of the people and adventures. Rather, I was filled with joy and thankfulness. These friends and experiences were brought to my life for too many reasons to count. Something about these people and events made me feel different. They made me be different. They forced me to be real and to be myself...someone my Facebook friends and Twitter followers haven't seen. While a few of the relationships I've formed these past couple of years are far from over, most are chapters that have come to a close. The places I've ventured out to aren't in my zip code, but I brought a little piece of each to store away only in my heart and mind. This closure is a mix of sadness, joy, greatfulness, memories, and laughter. Ultimately, though many things that have impacted me and shaped me are slipping away, I sense that new doors are awaiting just around the corner. New people. New places. New lessons to be learned. New memories to treasure. 

So I take one last glance out the rearview mirror. One final look out the tiny airplane window. One deep breath before I walk across the graduation stage. In the blink of an eye, I know it it will be gone. 

Our lives are stories. No words of mine could ever write such a tale. I don't determine my destiny. The Author of my life does. I know every single relationship, every experience, every chapter I have been through these past few years have been intricately designed by my Savior. He is teaching me lessons of love, purpose, bravery, forgiveness, and so much more. He leads me every second of every day. He knows what's beyond the corner and behind the new doors. All this gives me chills. It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. 

I could go on for days about all this. Weeks, probably. So I'll finish this with one word. 


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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Planned Prayer

Planned prayer. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking it might be a little weird. Or maybe you're thinking that it's a little too much. I did too, to be quite honest. Planned prayer, to me, is basically scheduling your prayer time and what you will pray for. At first, when someone told me about this whole concept, I felt that it wasn't "real". How can prayer be real if you plan it like a dentist appointment? For the next couple of days after I heard about this idea, I started noticing how lenient I was with my prayer time. Somedays I didn't get around to it or forgot about it. Prayer is not something to check off a to-do list. Prayer is sacred and should be cherished daily, even if its only just a few minutes (before meals does not count, by the way). But in this day and age, its easy to forget it. That's exactly what Satan wants too. Planning your prayer may sound a little peculiar, but I can testify that it works. It gives your faith structure and consistency. 

On Sundays, I will get a notecard (hot pink of course) and write down each day of the week. Next to the day I will write who/what I will be specifically praying for. Here's an example of what my prayer schedule looks like:

Nov 10th- Family
Nov 11th- Friends
Nov 12th- School + Future Education
Nov 13th-Future Husband
Nov 14th- My church and my pastors
Nov 15th- The persecuted church
Nov 16th- Myself

That last one may seem a little weird too. However, praying for yourself is actually pretty important. (Check out this post from John Piper for how to pray for yourself). I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Bread

Happy Sunday everyone! I don't know about you all, but I have been adoring autumn this year. Everything has been simply beautiful! I think I forgot how much I love this sweater weather too. Anyhoo, I've been trying out several different healthier pumpkin recipes this month (because autumn just isn't autumn without an abundance of everything pumpkin flavored). So far, the majority of the recipes have been so-so. However, last week I discovered an amazing whole-grain pumpkin bread recipe. I tried it out, and it was delicious! What's great about this recipe is that you can make a loaf of bread, or muffins. I made the loaf, but will be trying out the muffins this afternoon. I slightly altered this recipe to make it healthier, and it turned out fabulous. No butter, oil, and brown or white sugars. This recipe is the bomb, if I do say so myself. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Healthy Whole-Grain Pumpkin Bread


1 and 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce (you could also use oil)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl 
3. Make a hole in the mixed dry ingredients and add the eggs, applesauce (or oil), honey, and vanilla. Stir with a fork and take care to not over mix. 
4. Fold in pumpkin with a spatula
5. Generously grease loaf or muffin pan (for muffins-liners work just as well) and pour in the batter.
6. For a loaf of bread: Bake for 50 minutes (I like to have my pumpkin bread a teensy bit burnt on the edges, so I baked mine longer. I would check loaf with a toothpick around 45 mins)
    For muffins: Bake for 18-22 minutes. (Check the muffins with a toothpick periodically). 
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hospitality Tip: Pre Cookie Dough

We've all experienced hospitality in one way or another. Maybe someone invited you over for dinner,or you needed a place to stay for the night and someone opened their home to you. They welcome you into their family and make you feel comfortable. Its also very important to take initiative and actually be the one showing hospitality. It doesn't matter if you have a big house or a small apartment, there is always a way to open your home to welcome someone in. Whether its a meal or a movie night, hospitality is a great way to show kindness to others. 

One super easy hospitality tip is to keep cookie dough stocked in the fridge. So, when you have unexpected guests or just have someone over for a game night, you have an easy treat ready to go. It doesn't even have to be homemade cookie dough; store-bought works just as well. I don't know about you, but nothing smells better than warm cookies out of the oven. Also, a great way to make your guest feel less awkward is by giving them something to do. I'm pretty sure everyone can make cookies, but if not, teach them! Pre-cookie dough (as I like to call it) is a super simple yet awesome way to show hospitality. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Purpose

Life can be so sweet. We can all think of a "perfect day" we've had at one time or another. It's always amazing to have a lovely season of life, right? Life can also be quite hard. I feel like I know hard seasons of life better than the lovely. Through each season, whether difficult or  beautiful, I know where my hope is. I have a reason to get up in the morning. My hope is Christ. I am reminded daily of my purpose in life because I find it in Him.  I have something to satisfy my every need. When I cry out to God in sorrow, He hears me. Not only does He hear me but He gives me a peace that surpasses anything of this world.

You may not believe this whole Jesus thing. Does it sound ridiculous to you?

If you ever find yourself wondering where your purpose in life is, or if you ever start to feel empty inside, think about my friend Jesus. You may be amazed at what you find. 

If your extra curious or need some encouragement read a little bit of my favorite book, the Bible. Everything you need to know is in there. 

Need a place to start? This is emergency list is so helpful for me, maybe it will be for you too. 

                         Lots of love, 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hello There

My last post was in March. Ouch. 

Keeping up with a blog isn't as easy as it seems, especially when you're a student. That being said, I don't think I can ever promise that I'll start being a devoted blogger again. However, I also don't think I could ever say "adieu" to this cozy corner of the Internet. At least not yet. 

So what have I been up to the past 5 months? Maybe I can sum this up in one really long sentence. I ran another half marathon (and cut my first race time by approx. 20 mins), I made it out alive of junior year, I completed 90 days of P90X, I went on an incredible adventure to Colorado, I met two of my favorite singers, and started senior year. That's about it. I've also tried out a TON of new recipes that I've been dying to share with you all. 

It's been pure craziness these past few months, and with senior year starting, I have a feeling the craziness will continue. I can't guarantee how often I will post, but I will guarantee that when I do post I will make my words as meaningful as possible. I hope to encourage you and inspire you through this humble little blog. 

                      Lots of love,

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Bikini

Hello all! Hope you are having a great Sunday! My Bible study leader shared this video with me this week, and after watching it I knew I needed to pass it along to all of you. This video {concerning the bikini} is definitely worth your time to watch. I found it very eye opening and informative. So ladies, watch and please share with friends. Let me know what you think! 

Lots of love,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fitness Diary

Hello all! Hope you are having a terrific Monday! As most of you know, fitness has become more important to me over the past year. I'm going to start a fitness diary through this little blog. I hope these diary entries encourage and inspire you to join me in living a healthier lifestyle. So, here's today's entry! 

This afternoon was not a perfect one. I had just returned home from history and anatomy co-op discussion and my head was throbbing. However, I knew I still needed to run. I considered making today a cross training day instead, but I knew my schedule the rest of the week wouldn't work if I did that. It's definitely hard trying to fit in runs and workouts while attempting to maintain a busy schedule. That's why it's important to be flexible with your weekly workouts in order to keep your priorities straight.  Today, I was not motivated at all (I never ever get excited about running my neighborhood route) which didn't help. But I knew I had to do something despite my lack of motivation in order to keep my week clear of any complications. I ended up running 5 miles (actually one mile short of my scheduled run). The funny thing was, I ran my fastest time since my cross country days back in elementary school. My first mile was around a 9:50 (which may be slow for you veteran runners, but for a gal who started off with a 15 minute mile, I'd say that's an improvement.) and maintained a 10-ish mile for the rest of the run. Now I know if I would have gone farther, my time would have definitely slowed down. Nevertheless, it was so awesome to see a not so hot afternoon turn into a happy, endorphin filled evening. Very rarely will you ever regret a workout. Why? Because of the amazing benefits afterwards. Anyways, I celebrated my success by trying out a new {healthy} dessert recipe. Cookie-dough Greek yogurt. Talk about YUM! Here's the delicious, protein packed recipe: 

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt:
1 container Chobani plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbspn peanut butter
1 tbspn sweetener or honey {I used agave nectar} 
1 tsp vanilla 
1 pinch sea salt {optional}
1 tbspn chocolate chips {the mini chocolate chips work well} 

                       Lots of Love,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sick Day

There are many days when I am very thankful to be homeschooled. Today is one of them. I woke up this morning feeling exhausted, stuffy, and just plain icky. Not exactly the most pleasant thing at 6:30 in the morning. So of course, I wallowed in self pity. But then I realized that wasn't going to make me feel any better. I've always thought it was impossible to be joyful on sick days. I mean, I had things I needed to do today. I have things I need to do tomorrow. I had plans. Getting sick can be really frustrating, and can bring out the monster in you. Though I may have a "right" to be frustrated because I'm sick, I think it is still important to try my very best to be joyful. I actually have a LOT to be thankful for. When we dwell on our problems, we end up feeling and acting worse and worse (ever heard of the phrase "garbage in, garbage out"? It actually does apply here) However, when we think more about the things we can be thankful for, we can find a peace in the midst of the chaos and unhappiness. You may mot be sick, but you could be under a lot of stress at work. Or maybe your having problems with family and friends. No matter what the situation is, you will always have the choice to be joyful or pitiful. The joyful route may not look very appealing, but it will pay off at the end of the day. So today, instead of whining about my backed up nose or my sore throat, I'm going to be thankful for the sunshine that's pouring in my windows and the fact that I can still do my school work because I'm homeschooled. Have a fantastic day everyone! 

                          Lots of love, 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hello There

Why hello there, everyone! I must apologize for my unexpected leave of absence. Things got pretty crazy at Christmas. That seems to happen a lot during the holidays, I suppose. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and a happy start to 2014. Anyhoo, I pinkie promise I will begin posting once again. I must warn you, my posts may not be long, but I hope that I can make them meaningful. Looking foreword to the journey ahead! 

                       Lots of love,