Carnival of Bow Ties Pasta

I am very embarrassed to talk about this but my pantry is in a very, very sad state. It’s actually my least favorite space of the house. I really have no idea what my pantry houses. It does not have a light in it and I think that’s the biggest problem. A problem that needs to be remedied soon.

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Pretty terrible huh? Please don’t judge me for being transparent in this area of my life.

I have yet to organize this space. A couple of friends have organized it once or twice for me but usually within a week, it’s back to looking like someone just tossed bags of groceries into it.

The other night, I decided that I wanted pasta for dinner and then I remembered that I had not bought any pasta as of late. . .or DID I?

I got up and went to the pantry and actually got a little anxious standing there staring into the abyss of boxes, cans and bags that is my pantry closet. I started rummaging through and lo and behold, I found a bag of HEB Farfalle (aka Bow Tie pasta) Garden Pasta. I actually held it up in the air and chimed, “Yes!!” to myself.

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I think Farfalle pasta is so cute!

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I continued to look in the pantry and found a jar of pasta sauce that I had purchased as part of a promotion at HEB. It’s called HEB Cajun Spicy Pasta Sauce. I remember thinking, when I bought it, that I could use it to make my own version of Bow Tie Festival and THAT’S why I had Farfalle in the pantry. I had a total, “OH YEAAAA…that’s why I have this pasta!” moment. Apparently, my memory isn’t always great either.

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(I also had my overgrown green onions on the counter that really needed to be used so it was easy to decide what to make!)

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Carnival of Bow Ties Pasta

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  1. Cook bacon, and place on a paper towel. Set aside. Allow to cool.
  2. Place the pasta in a pot of boiling water and follow directions on the package. (I usually cook the pasta 1 minute less than stated so that it is “al dente”
  3. Once pasta is done pour through a strainer and leave some of the pasta water at the bottom.
  4. Lower the heat on the stove to med-low and place the pot back on the burner.
  5. Pour in the jar of pasta sauce and stir until distributed throughout.
  6. Add in the frozen peas, Parmigiano-Reggiano and bacon and mix well.
  7. Sprinkle the green onions over the pasta in the pot.
  8. Serve hot.

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It was delicious and it hit the spot so perfectly. The Mister and I ate and still had enough to pack up for lunch the next day.

Go on now, go and make it. It doesn’t take very long and is great to make on one of those really busy days. You can also add chicken to this. (I personally would go buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it up and add it.) O – M – Foodie Goodness!

~Mrs Galvan~

Cauliflower Tarts

Cauliflower is The Mister’s “arch nemesis. . . the bane of his existence” but as for me and my house we will still eat the cauliflower. We made a deal because of something that went down a couple months back. He MUST eat the cauliflower if I serve it to him. It doesn’t mean he won’t gag before eats it but he WILL eat it.

I had a head of cauliflower staring back at me this evening in the refrigerator. Every time I opened the doors, it said, “Hello!” very loudly. I wasn’t feeling like cauliflower steaks tonight so I decided to do something different.

Cauliflower Tarts, that’s what I will call them. The Mister said that it’s a very misleading name for them but OH WELL :D This recipe is pretty easy.

Cauliflower Tarts

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1. Break apart the head of cauliflower and put it in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave one side open so that it creates a vent. Microwave for 6-8 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

2. Allow the cauliflower to cool. It took about 20 minutes for mine to stop steaming.

3. Take a fork and break up the cauliflower into tiny pieces and set aside.

4. In a small bowl beat the eggs.

5. Mix the eggs and cheese in with the cauliflower. Add Salt & Pepper here.

6. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray

7. Fill each cup with the cauliflower mixture and pop the pan into the oven for 15 minutes.

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8. Lastly, set your oven to BROIL and allow the tops to turn brown. It took about 5 minutes for mine to brown up. Do not walk away from your oven at this point. The broiler works fast and you could end up with a not so pleasant smell of burnt cauliflower in your house. So, keep an eye on them.

At the end I allowed mine to cool and then I put them in individual parchment paper cups. I didn’t bake them in the cups because I didn’t wanted them to be crispy from being in the metal tin. I think if I had baked them in the parchment cups that they would have been soggy.

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These can be served as a side to any dish or packed with your lunch. Just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds and VOILA! They are super yummie! Hope you’ll take some time to try them out!

On another note, my lime tree FINALLY got planted! I’m very excited to watch it grow!

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~Mrs Galvan~

Pajamas & Pearls Lingerie Shower

I have become quite fond of throwing lingerie showers for my “soon-to-be bride” friends. It all started last year when one of my old students from high school ministry turned very dear friend (Making me feel old) got into a relationship that seemed to be headed towards marriage. She was a part of my own wedding party and very much a part of my lingerie shower.  It made me reminisce about my own courtship and the lingerie shower that had been thrown for me. It was the best shower EVER!

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I didn’t exactly do everything right throughout my life. Jesus changed me and made me new and pure and by golly He brought back my emotional innocence. (That’s the best way I can put it) Before I knew Jesus, NOTHING made me blush. That lingerie shower though, wow, it was thrown by the women in my church who loved me and they made me feel like I deserved to celebrate that I would soon be married to the man God had for me. I was quite the blushing bride to be that day at my lingerie shower and I’m grateful to God for His beautiful grace in those moments that have truly made me feel like His princess.

At the last lingerie shower I hosted, my friend Stephanie was there, and newly engaged. I told her that if she would let me, then I would host a shower for her. She’s kind of shy and wasn’t sure at first but then we mentioned making a very laid back shower where we could come in pajamas and she was ALL ABOUT IT!

I still wanted it to be pretty so I thought it would be fun to add pearls to our pajamas. I researched and found an invitation on Etsy that was for a “Pajamas & Pancakes” party. That’s where I drew inspiration from.  I have had really good experiences with ordering digital invitation files and so this time I ordered my digital file from Kristin at KristinZkreations on Etsy. She did such a great job with it!

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My decor, of course consisted of the color PINK and PEARLS! I get excited about decorating for parties and since this party was so close to spring, I also got to keep a lot of it out for the season change.

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 This what my entrance way table looked like weeks before the lingerie shower.

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 This is what it looked like the week of shower.

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I made Stephanie’s bridal shower corsage as well. I have had so much fun making these! I honestly can’t wait to make another.

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The lingerie shower swag gifts were little boxes that said, “Thank you for coming.” They had some pearl earrings and some Hershey Kisses that Influenster actually sent me as part of the #JadoreVoxbox.

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They worked perfectly because I’m not eating a whole lot of chocolate these days so I could give them away! As another “Thank you” the shower attenders got to take home a pearl necklace as well.

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The Bride doesn’t eat gluten so all the shower food was gluten-free. We made fresh gluten free waffles and you may think, YUCK! but these were REALLY good! So much so that I’m actually gonna say something about them.

The gluten-free mix is by Namaste Foods and this Pancake & Waffle Mix is one of the best one’s I have tasted. Everyone at the party loved them! The only thing I did was add a little ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract.

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I served lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

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I made my signature chicken salad and served it on slices of Granny Smith apples. The combination of the two was absolutely delicious!

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I also made a Potato Basil Frittata that Ina Garten boasts on one of her party episodes on Food Network. I made it gluten-free by subbing the all purpose flour with gluten free flour.

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We played some fun games, made the Bride blush and had great conversation. It was a party that I believe will be memorable to the Bride, even 10 years from now.

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The wedding was absolutely beautiful and so touching in many ways. It was so wonderful to see their friends and family come together and celebrate with them. Stephanie was a beautiful bride and her hubby agreed.

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It was a very HAPPY DAY. I’m so excited to see how God will use this marriage to extend His Kingdom!!!

~Mrs Galvan~

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Down & Out & Doing Better

I know that I have been missing from the blog world for a bit but I’m feeling better now. For those of you who didn’t know, I have been sick for the past 3 weeks!

While I was sick, I struggled A LOT with drinking enough water and even eating enough food. It was terrible. I absolutely despise being sick. I slept practically all day for 4 days. I cried myself to sleep for two of those nights. My throat hurt so bad I couldn’t even swallow my own spit. It was AWFUL! Then I went back to work for one day and then the following week  I missed two more days. I went to the doctor twice. I was diagnosed with pharyngitis, which is basically a throat infection. Both times they gave me antibiotics (which did not make things better) and both times I still did not feel well after finishing each round of meds.

Today, my throat does not hurt but I think my tonsils are still swollen because when I yawn it hurts beyond the opening of my throat. I feel better though. I’m ready to get out and exercise. It’s a beautiful day today and hopefully I will get to go for a walk/jog this evening.

Since my last health/weight update I have lost another 5 pounds.  My last update about that was from February 20th. Here we are almost a month later.


I’m working on a post about the Pajamas & Pearls Lingerie Shower that I hosted two weeks ago so look out for that.

Other than that, hope you all had a GREAT Spring Break. I spent mine gearing up for one of my bestie’s weddings, which was BEAUTIFUL!

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Now that I’m done being Down & Out, I can get back to the blog world! Keep coming back!

~Mrs Galvan~

Cooks In the Kitchen

Super excited to participate in this!

 

I love Christine from Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe and I am really  looking forward to getting to know some other bloggers as well.

This month’s challenge is semi-sweet chocolate and I’m off to find a recipe that I already have or create something new. YAY!

For those who have wondered where I have been, I have been really sick with a throat infection and although blogging doesn’t require talking, it does require energy. I have had ZERO of that and am really just starting to feel better as of today.

My throat still hurts some and my voice is pretty much shot. I’m gonna be on vocal rest this weekend.

I will give you an update in the next few days of where I am regarding my health and weight loss

Until then!

~ Mrs Galvan~

Cauliflower Steaks & Other Roasted Veggies

Today is the first time I have felt like myself in 4 days. I’ve hardly left my bedroom and hardly eaten anything. I’m pretty sure that no matter what my doctor said, I’ve had strep. When you lie around all day and night crying because you can’t swallow anything, not even your own spit, there is a problem. My voice still sounds like an old man:(

I feel like I’m bouncing back though because today, I had enough energy to get up, take a shower, brush my hair and make dinner!

Earlier in the week I was thinking that I was definitely going to BLOW the healthy lifestyle that I’ve been working so hard to attain because when I get sick, I want to eat everything and ANYTHING that is bad for me.

I can tell you that I craved pizza but I craved a thin crust, vegetarian pizza. I however did not get to eat that because every time we called a local business to order it for delivery, they were super busy and could not deliver. I refused to have pizza hut or domino’s. I got grossed out every time I though about having pizza from either of those places. We instead ordered Jason’s Deli where I was able to order my normal Zucchini Grillini sandwich with the Organic Vegetable Soup and steamed veggies. 

Tonight we had Baked Salmon with Baked Brown Rice and Roasted Veggies which happened to include Cauliflower Steaks!

Cauliflower Steaks

  • sheet pan
  • foil
  • Olive Oil spray
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Cover a sheet pan in foil and lightly spray with olive oil.

2. Cut the green covering off of your cauliflower.

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3. On a cutting board slice a 3/4 inch straight down on your cauliflower.

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4. Pour the tablespoon of olive oil into a container and with a basting brush, brush the olive oil onto the cauliflower.

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P.S. I only got three steaks out of my cauliflower, the rest broke up into pieces but I still left it on the sheet pan and brushed it with olive oil as well.

5. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper as well as garlic powder if you like on the cauliflower.

6. Place on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes. (more if you want it more charred)

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This is what mine looked like after 25 minutes.

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As for the rest of the vegetables, if you’ve never roasted veggies, I promise that it’s easy peasy!

Roasted Veggies

  • sheet pan
  • foil
  • olive oil spray or 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • vegetables of your choice (I used broccoli, onion and red peppers)
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Cover a sheet pan in foil and lightly spray with olive oil. Or you can pour a tablespoon of olive oil on the foil and then spread it around with a paper towel. I’ve done both.

2. While your oven heats. Chop your veggies into bite-sized pieces.

3. Spread your veggies on the sheet pan.

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4. Place on the middle rack in the oven for 25 minutes.

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I love that even when you roast the colorful veggies, they still look bright and beautiful!

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I served my veggies and cauliflower steak with salmon and brown rice. It was a delicious and healthy meal!

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Update on my weight loss as of 02/15/2014, I’m down another 4 pounds. I actually lost like 6 pounds in the 4 days that I was sick but I’m not gonna count those pounds because I’m sure they will come back as I wasn’t really eating anything while I was sick.


 

Keep praying for me!

~Mrs Galvan~

 

 

 

Black Bean Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes.

I really do.

Everytime I saw someone eat one, I just thought—bleh, who wants a potato that tastes sweet? Not I!

Well, in finding out that they are better for me than regular potatoes, and also finding that there are health benefits  to them, I decided to give them a try.

Someone at work mentioned eating them without butter because it would be healthier that way and I just thought, oh I’m not sure about that but I’ll try.

Here’s my recipe for Black Bean Sweet Potatoes.

Black Bean Sweet Potatoes (makes 2)

1 minced garlic clove

½ cup black beans (with a little black bean juice)–I used my homemade black beans

½ cup salsa (I used my homemade salsa)

2 sweet potatoes

2 wedges of Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese   (I used the Garlic & Herb)

I’m usually in a really big hurry so I don’t like to spend a whole lot time waiting for my food to be ready to eat. I know that making stuff in the microwave isn’t the best for anyone but I didn’t have the time to put them in the oven.

So, I poked a bunch of holes with a fork all over my sweet potatoes, wrapped them in damp paper towels and put them in the microwave for 7 minutes. While magic was happening in the microwave I worked on the filling for my potatoes.

  1. Heat a skillet on medium and pour in black beans and minced garlic.
  2. Sauté for about 2 minutes until the liquid from the black beans start to evaporate.
  3. Add the salsa and allow to heat through.
  4. Take mixture off the heat.

When potatoes are done slice down the middle and fluff the inside a little with a fork. Break up the cheese wedges and put one in each potato. Then pour half of the black bean mixture on each sweet potato.

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These sweet potatoes were so good. We added a small side salad and it was one very satisfying and healthy meal.

P.S. I have also baked these potatoes (400 degrees for 40 minutes) and they turn out just as wonderful, they just take a little more time.

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Some tips for picking out sweet potatoes:

1. Get a small to medium size potato.

2. Make sure there is no obvious bruising or cuts on the outside.

3. Don’t get a potato if it has all the strings on the outside. It will be a “tough” potato.

4. Don’t refrigerate them once you’ve bought them. Keep them on the counter in a basket, they will last longer.

If you haven’t tried sweet potatoes, I totally recommend that you do!

~Mrs Galvan~

Vanilla Orange Blossom Granola

Making healthier choices is proving to be good for me! I’ve even ventured back into the kitchen this past week. I have found that if I prepare all my protein for the week then it’s so much easier to make a healthy choice later on.

This week, I decided that I wanted to make my own granola. There is a granola that I like A LOT but it’s kind of hard to find around here. I like the OLA brand. My absolute favorite is the Vanilla Almond granola. It is gluten-free, low-glycemic, non-GMO, made with whole grains with no added oils and vegan. It is also only 100 calories per 1/3 cup serving. My favorite part of that is ALL OF IT! I have also had the change to try the Chocolate Banana Chip granola as well. It’s really good stuff!

In light of all those wonderful things, the granola itself is VERY hard to come by in my area. I found a few bags at one of my favorite stores, TJ-MAXX, but there hasn’t been anymore in awhile.

With that, I decided to make my own granola for now, til I can find some OLA again. Here’s the recipe for my Vanilla Orange Blossom Granola.

Vanilla Orange Blossom Granola

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked/shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted to liquid form-30 seconds in the microwave should do it)
  • 1 cup orange blossom honey (heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon pure almond extract

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1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. Mix together the rolled oats, almonds, almond flour,  and coconut  in a very large bowl.

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3. In another bowl, stir together liquid coconut oil, warm honey , vanilla extract and almond extract.

4. Pour over the coconut/honey mixture over the oats and mix evenly  through.

5. Cover  two baking sheets with parchment paper. This makes a lot of granola so you’ll need two baking sheets or you will be baking it FOREVER. Spread the granola mixture evenly over the baking sheets.

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven and gently stir the mixture. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Gently stir the granola and bake an additional 5-10 minutes watching carefully that it doesn’t burn.

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7. Remove from oven. Carefully remove parchment paper and granola from baking sheet . The granola will crisp as it cools.

At my house, because I’m a clutz, it took four hands to move the parchment and granola from the baking sheet to the counter. If it hadn’t been for The Mister’s help the dog probably would have feasted on granola that night.

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I actually used my homemade granola the next day for some healthy snacks that I took to church and still have so much of it that I gave some to co-workers as well.

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After tallying up the nutritional value, it comes to 107 calories for ¼ cup and I am okay with that because I know what went into my granola.

This is my favorite way to eat my granola!

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P.S. Store it in an airtight container and it will last awhile

Here’s an update on my weight loss. I have lost  4 pounds since the last update I gave you. That’s a total of 20 pounds since December.


Remember that I told you our church has started a health series. It is called Losing to Live and our entire staff has taken a 12 week health challenge as well. This past Saturday, I joined a Bod 4 God small group and was so encouraged! It’s exciting to be able to do this with my church family and not have to go this road alone. Please continue to pray for me when you and or if you think about me and my blog!

~Mrs Galvan~

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa

I have been playing around with this recipe for awhile now and I feel like I’m finally happy with it so, I thought I’d share it. I know there are a couple of you that have been waiting for this recipe and here it is, FINALLY!

Homemade Fresh Tomato Salsa (Makes about 6 cups)

  • 12 roma tomatoes (set 5 aside to dice up)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup of diced red onion
  • juice of 2 limes
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • serrano pepper (optional)

Pull out your trusty blender for this recipe. Last year The Mister bought me a VITAMIX and it’s amazing for blending up just about anything.

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[If you are using a regular blender, I suggest cutting 7 tomatoes up into 4 wedges each.]

[If you are using a VITAMIX just throw in two tomatoes at a time.]

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1. Put tomatoes, and garlic cloves into the blender and blend until smooth. The mixture will look pink but don’t worry.

2. Pour tomato mixture into a large bowl.

3. Before you dice up the other 5 tomatoes, make sure to scrape out the pulp from them. I find that if you leave the pulp the salsa is way more liquidy. The other tomatoes that were pureed have plenty of pulp so no worries.

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Dice the  tomatoes up and add to the pureed tomatoes.

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4. Add red onion, cilantro and the juice from those two limes. If you notice I have NOT added any serrano pepper. That is because red onions this time of year are so astringent and spicy that I didn’t think it needed any serrano. Plus, I like my salsa MILD.

5. This is where you would add a diced serrano pepper if you decide that’s what you want to do.

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6. Salt & Pepper to taste and mix well with a spoon.

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Now, remember that i said it would be pink–that’s because the blender frothed it up–once it sits for a bit, it will look more red.

I pour my salsa in a tall mason jars and put them in refrigerator overnight.

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The next morning the flavors have melded together and it is absolutely DELICIOUS! Some days I can’t wait so I have some then but it always tastes better after it’s sat in the refrigerator for a little while.

P.S. For my local readers, this is really as close to the Antonio’s fresh tomato salsa as I have gotten. Hope you get to try the recipe!

~Mrs Galvan~

 

Losing to Live

In December, I stepped on the scale at my doctor’s office and made the decision was pleasantly surprised  came out of denial. I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my entire life. That day, I made the decision to start making healthier eating choices. You see, this girl, she has tried just about every diet out there and nothing has worked. I’ve known for some time that I needed to make a LIFESTYLE change but I’ve done nothing about it.

Since December, I have been taking steps, little steps, towards a healthier lifestyle. I started with adding more fruits and vegetables to meals, then started drinking lots more water. Next I started counting my calories because I have an issue with portion control. Counting calories with My Fitness Pal REALLY helps me A LOT!

I also purchased an UP 24 Jawbone device to track my steps and sleep. It’s also connected to the My Fitness Pal app. I’ve been working to get up and move more. I’m not exercising yet but that will be my next step.

I am eating well and have anywhere from 10-11 servings of fruits & vegetables a day. I am drinking 100-120 ounces of water a day and eliminating sodas. I am eating whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. (when I do eat it because that is not too often) Ooh and I’m trying to go to sleep earlier. (that helps more than you know) I’m also packing my lunch everyday for work so that I don’t go out and eat. (that saves money too)

Praise God that I am not feeling deprived. I feel great actually. I’m sleeping better and my sugar levels have dropped significantly as well as the amount of insulin I’m having to take.

I have also stopped baking for the time being. This part makes me sad but it’s what I need to do right now.

Since December 9th, I have lost 16 pounds. That’s a healthy 2.2 pounds a week. That is just by making healthier food choices.

Our church has started a health series that I am very excited about because it means that I have support at work as well. Our entire staff has taken a 12 week health challenge. We are reading Bod 4 God by Pastor Steve Reynolds.

I’ve even started taking walks around the plaza I work in just to get up and move a little since my job is mostly done behind a desk.

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This is the year I allow God to do what He needs to do in my life to make me healthier.

Please keep me in your prayers and keep coming back for healthier choice recipes and  updates on how I’m doing on my journey to a healthier Bod 4 God.

~Mrs Galvan~