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Bierman Boot Camp

Michael has been asking over and over these past few months to “work out” over the summer. He said he wanted to eat healthier and build muscle. He is sixteen and skinny, just like his daddy was when he was his age. Michael has muscles, just not big ones. Noone in our family is on the tall side, so there is that, too. Steve told me that he used to work out and eat things to gain weight and get bigger to no avail and that Michael most likely will be the same. However, yesterday we all started on a little summer journey of getting healthier. Steve and I are both older and heavier than we used to be, so it will be good for us. Lauren is our resident bookworm/couch potato, so she could use some exercise, as well. She is home for the summer and none to pleased, but she is going along. As she says, she was “voluntold!” Michael and I are eating Paleo. Lauren already has a diet free of wheat, dairy, eggs, and nuts, so she is just continuing with that, although I would like for her to eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugar. Maybe we can get her to work on that.

I found a great little treasure at the bookstore that has made the food part of our journey quite simple. It is called Paleo In 28. The author explains the Paleo way of eating and has 4 weeks of meals with 5 ingredients or less recipes in her book. I’ve eaten this way before, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get back into the swing of things. It has been great having everything so conveniently planned out in a book, and so far the recipes we have tried are really tasty. Our first Paleo breakfast was a tropical green smoothie with spinach and some delicious organic frozen fruits. Now, Michael doesn’t like green smoothies and the one fruit he really doesn’t like are bananas, so I didn’t know if we would even get beyond breakfast, but he surprised me. He drank every bit of it and said it wasn’t too bad. Ha! Meal one down!

Before we made our smoothies, we went right outside and proceeded to do our first work out. All four of us participated. We went to the end of our cul de sac, started our timers and ran to the stop sign and back, did burpees, sit ups, and squats. We did two rounds. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a start. I don’t think Michael even broke a sweat, haha! The rest of us? Well, we did! I believe our son is stronger and in better shape than he thinks. We have decided to stretch every day and do a “work out” 3 days a week and see how that goes this summer. Our lunch was a cobb salad with a simple olive oil based lemon dressing. It was very filling. Our dinner was baked chicken tenders with spicy sweet potato fries. We snack on fresh fruit, and dried fruit and seeds. There are some delicious looking dessert recipes toward the back of the book that I am really looking forward to trying. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, Michael will have his bigger muscles, Lauren will be a little stronger, and Steve and I will be a little lighter. Between getting healthier, stronger, summer reading, learning to drive, and of course downtime of playing video games, and looking at all of the lightning bugs that fill our back yard on hot Alabama June nights, I think our summer is going to be super full and super fun!

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Little God Moments

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Do you ever have a moment where God shows up and speaks to you out of nowhere?  Especially when you aren’t really in that frame of mind?  I was in a “gotta get this done quick” frame of mind.  Honestly, I had a million other things on my mind at the time.  If I am not intentional with my thoughts, I lean toward worrying about everything and for some reason or other, my brain has a tendancy to try and solve the world’s problems around 3am.  Well, this particular time, it was early afternoon.

I was in the back yard trying to get the mowing done before a storm came through and as I pushed the mower up beside our landscaped wall, I saw a blade of grass poking through the middle of the wall.  We just recently had this flower bed wall built and filled with dirt,  it still looked all neat and clean so one long blade of grass peaking through stood out.    My thoughts came to an abrupt halt, and suddenly no more running thoughts filled my mind, but just the sound of the mower and outside noises, birds, other mowers in the distance, etc… Much quieter than the rambling thoughts in my head.  I looked at that rather long blade of grass poking through the middle of the wall and as quick as a wink, God revealed to  me how vigorously nature pursues the light.  Deep in the dark earth that blade of grass pushed through the dirt toward the warmth of the light.  It struck me how it didn’t even just keep pushing upward toward the top of the ground, but took a shortcut to the side to get to the sunlight.  Nature pursues God.  That is how it was created.  Psalm 96:11-12 says: Let the Heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubiliant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forrest sing for joy.

I thought about how we as humans are given free will.  We were created to pursue God, but he gives us the choice.  It seems to be that we must test the limits to see how close we can get to the darkness, but still turn around and see God.  Like a toddler that is reaching for something they know they shouldn’t touch, we stretch out our hand toward our desired sin.  Our default is to pursue something, but He leaves it up to us what that something is.  I believe that satan uses many things to pull us away from pursuing the light: busyness and distraction are two.  We have become so busy with everything.  Work, school, sports, church activities and the like, keep us busy.  These aren’t bad things.  They are just things, lots and lots of things inundating our time.  There is no down time, no dead space.  Then, add in distraction from technology, complex relationships, our schedules, health concerns.  Our focus can quickly shift from God to the worries of the day, everything on our schedule, our problems.   Of course we are here and living life, so attention is needed on all the things.  However, it is when God becomes an afterthought, our last resort, that we no longer remember why we are here – to worship God, to seek Him in all things.

  • The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10
  • Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

There are so many verses that speak of God’s promises.  I am thankful for the reminder that I can pursue the Lord in all things and that He is with me. I don’t need to worry endlessly or try to handle everything myself.  Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7  A little unexpected God moment in the middle of my day that helped me be intentional with my thoughts and refocus on Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20  How cool is that?  He’s got All The Things.

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Lauren’s German Potato Salad

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German potato salad – wheat, dairy, egg, nut free

 

Right after Steve and I met, Union Pacific moved his parent’s to Nebraska for a few years. Steve’s mom gave me a cookbook from their Lutheran church.  Being from Mississippi, I grew up with traditional southern potato salad.  You know – russet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, sweet pickles, and Blue Plate mayonnaise, of course.  Add just a drop of mustard for a little kick.  Well, I have yet to figure out a way to make that for Lauren without eggs or mayonnaise, so I looked up several different German potato salad recipes in this book as well as others.  Most of the recipes are vinegar based, which I knew would be easier to make allergy friendly.  Some of them use butter, some green onions.  After a little trial and error, I came up with this one and it has become a family favorite and kept a bit of our German heritage alive, as well.  This is one of Lauren’s favorites!  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

4-5 medium russet potatoes cubed                              1 tsp salt

4 slices crispy bacon (nitrate free)                               1/4 tsp celery salt

1 cup chopped onion                                                       dash of pepper

2 tbsp sugar                                                                      1/2 cup water

1 tbsp gluten-free flour                                                  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

 

 

Instructions:

Fry bacon until crispy.  Place fried bacon on a plate to drain.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan.  Saute’ onion in reserved bacon drippings until tender.  Add sugar, flour, salt, celery salt, and pepper.  Stir until smooth.  Then, stir in water and vinegar and heat until bubbly.  Boil potatoes in a pot for 4 to 5 minutes.  Don’t over cook.  Drain and gently incorporate into the onion mixture.  Crumble bacon on top and serve warm.

 

 

 

health and wellness, Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup

 

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I had a make and take at the house a few weeks ago.  We had so much fun catching up with each other and talking health and wellness.  We made elderberry syrup.  I had been to a friend’s house last year and watched her make some.  That is when I started taking a teaspoon every day.  Elderberries are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

What are some reasons to take elderberry syrup?

  • to keep your immune system strong
  • for improved bowel function
  • to build your immune system back up after an illness
  • to help shorten the duration of an illness

According to medicalnewstoday.com, a cup of elderberries contains the following vitamins and minerals: 870 milligrams of vitamin A, 406 milligrams of potassium, 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C, 9 milligrams of folate, 55 milligrams of calcium, and 2.32 milligrams of iron.

I purchased a 1 pound bag of freeze-dried elderberries and some raw honey.  I also set out several Young Living vitality oils to add in for extra support.  It is really easy.  I loosely followed a recipe from thedroppery.com. I will post what I did below and also the link to the recipe I followed.

Here is what I used:

1 cup of elderberries

4 cups of purified water (I have a Berkey)

2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup (add more or less to taste)

Young Living vitality oils  (orange, lemon, thieves, clove, ginger, cinnamon, etc…)

Why put Young Living vitality essential oils in?

Well for one, flavor.  If you want a kick, you could put in cinnamon, clove, or thieves.  If you would like for it to have a citrus flavor, orange or lemon would be good.  Another reason to add vitality essential oils is for the added health benefit.  Clove, for instance, is a super strong antioxidant, so it is a great immune system support.  Cinnamon is high in trans-cinnamaldehyde.  Research it.  Good stuff.  Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and D-limonene.  Orange is another immune system boosting oil.

 

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Instructions:

  1. Add 1 cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water.
  2. Simmer on stove for 45 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the stove and allow to cool until just warm enough for the honey to melt.  This will preserve the properties of the honey and essential oils.
  4. Strain berries through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Pour into glass containers. (We used 8 ounce mason jars)
  6. Add in honey (or maple syrup, if using) and vitality essential oils
  7. Enjoy!

Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Adults take 1 tsp a day, children 1/2 tsp a day.

 

 

Here is the link to the recipe that was used at the first elderberry making class I went to.

https://www.thedroppery.com/blog/essential-elderberry-syrup?rq=elderberry%20syrup

 

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Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs

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Any chance I get to try a new healthy recipe, I do.  Sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a dud.  Obviously, since I am sharing this one, it was a hit!  These are delicious! Yay!

We put these meatballs over allergen free pasta with allergen free sauce.  I did use an egg in the meatball recipe, so it wasn’t Lauren friendly, but I think it could be left out or maybe Egg Replacer used, instead.  I will try that when she is home.

This recipe is wheat, dairy, and nut free.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey                                                      1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 egg                                                                               3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 c brown rice flour                                                 1 jar Muir Glen Pasta sauce

1/8 c coconut flour                                                       1 bag Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti

1 tsp dried parsley                                                       1/4 to 1/3 c water

Instructions: 

Combine ground turkey, egg, spices, and flours together in a bowl.  Using your hands, mix well.  Form into 1 inch balls and set aside.

Pour jar of sauce into your Instant Pot.  Drop meatballs into the sauce. Pour water over meatballs, just enough to cover.  Secure the lid and turn valve to seal.  Use the manual mode of Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta.  When the Instant Pot cycle is complete, allow pressure to release naturally.   Serve over meatballs and sauce over pasta.

Enjoy!