Goodbye Comfort Food

IMG_1177What if you have to give up your favorite comfort food?

When my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teen, he said good-bye to his favorite comfort food and all-time staple – Pizza. It was a tough summer for him since pizza was also the food of choice at parties and outings. Maintaining sugar levels and managing this auto-immune disease while working to secure a starting spot on the varsity football team was a huge challenge for Jake, but he did great.

He managed exceptionally well — I’m such a proud mom — and eventually went on to play professional football in the NFL. Harvest House Publishers just released his first book, an awesome, inspiring devotional: First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up.  UnknownEventually, Jake brought pizza back into his diet and used insulin to correct sugar levels, but he still maintains a very healthy diet. So, in honor of Jake, I’m sharing a diabetes-friendly pizza recipe from Nikki Sheriff @  Diabetesconnect.com

320x260Chicken Pesto Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust By Nikki Sheriff
Crust:

1 small head of cauliflower

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 egg

Pesto: (1 cup bottled pesto may be substituted)

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

pinch sea salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

Toppings:

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

6 thin slices of a Roma tomato

1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: To make the crust, trim and wash cauliflower florets (not including the stems). Pulse in a food processor until fine.Pour into a microwave safe bowl and microwave covered for 5 minutes. Lay out a clean kitchen towel and lay a paper towel over it. Pour the steamed cauliflower onto the towels and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, wrap up the steamed cauliflower and wring out as much liquid from the cauliflower as possible.Pour into a bowl and mix with cheeses and seasonings listed above under “crust”. Add the egg and mix with your hands and shape into a ball. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, placing a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.Lay out a piece of parchment paper and press and shape the cauliflower mixture into the shape of a pizza, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the oven is preheated, carefully lay the parchment paper with crust onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed.Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both

Pour into a bowl and mix with cheeses and seasonings listed above under “crust”. Add the egg and mix with your hands and shape into a ball. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, placing a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.Lay out a piece of parchment paper and press and shape the cauliflower mixture into the shape of a pizza, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the oven is preheated, carefully lay the parchment paper with crust onto the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed.Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both

While the crust is baking, make the pesto if using fresh pesto (or you could use bottled pesto).For the pesto, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor until well mixed. Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil, followed by the salt and pepper. Let it puree until well incorporated. Mix half of the pesto with the shredded chicken and set aside.When the crust is baked, remove from the oven and spread the other half of the pesto onto the crust, like pizza sauce. Top with the chicken mixed with pesto, the tomato slices, and both cheese’s.Bake 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Slice into 8 slices and serve.

Looks and sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

***

Holly Michael has enjoyed a writing career as a journalist, features writer, and a regular ghostwriter for a Guideposts magazine before authoring novels and nonfiction books. Married to Anglican Bishop, Leo Michael, Holly has three grown children; daughter Betsy and football-playing sons—Jake (NFL) and Nick (University of Louisiana-Lafayette). Kansas City, Missouri is home and she blogs at www.writingstraight.com

Contact her at www.HollyMichael.com or on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael or Twitter: @HollyMichael

First and Goal: What Football Taught Me About Life can be pre-ordered at Amazon now by clicking this link, but will soon be available in most book-seller markets.

Thanks for stopping by. We are happy you joined us at Writing Prompts in June for our “Comfort Food Month.” Be sure to stop over in July. You will enjoy “Greatest Movie Ever Month.”

And now for the writing prompt…

The doctor lowered his eyes and studied the file. He raised his head and peered over his glasses. “You’re going to have to make drastic changes in your life.”

And go! Respond below in the comments section.

A Healthy New Year – It has NOTHING to do with the scale…

by Cari Schaeffer20140428_144615

I find the cliché of New Years resolutions to ring hollow for most. They are made with the best of intentions and typically focus solely on weight loss as The Path to define oneself as “healthy”. Well, let me tweak your perspective just a little.

What is health? It is defined as “soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.” Hmmmm…is that the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word health? Or is your focus narrow and solely limited to one’s pant size? To be healthy should mean that our life is balanced in every aspect. Whether it’s financial, spiritual, physical, mental, social, or relational – strive for balance which will lead to health.

I can assure you – there are plenty of skinny people who are not healthy. The scale does not measure one’s health, only one’s weight. Rather than allow the scale to dictate my self-image, I base that on how I feel in my own skin and how my clothes fit my body. I choose not to obsess over the scale, so I only weigh myself maybe twice a year. Yes, you read that right. I am an American woman and I don’t weigh myself every day. I DO exist and I walk among you…bathroom scales

When determining your level of Whole Health, start with your finances. Debt equals slavery. Don’t fall into the trap. Being financially healthy is very simple – spend less than you make and save some of what you earn for unforeseen emergencies because they WILL happen. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll be fine. How much do you have saved for an emergency? How well do you stick to a budget? If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to make one. There are numerous resources for that – one that I highly recommend is http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/ . There are a lot of free resources that are exceptionally user-friendly on her site. Her tools will help you get on the right path to living a financially healthy lifestyle.

How spiritually healthy are you? How often do you spend time in prayer, in God’s Word, or in God’s house? This is an area none of us will ever be perfect in, but striving for excellence is certainly attainable. Determine to go to church each week, have a conversation with God every day, read at least a chapter in the Bible every day and then…do it.

Physical health starts with physical activity. You don’t have to train for a marathon or do intense cardio for an hour six days a week in order to attain health. How about starting with parking as far out as you can rather than waiting for the nearest spot to open up the next time you shop? Even at the gym, have you ever noticed all of the closest parking spots are taken? Personally, it makes me snicker – that is a true contradiction. Besides, parking farther out will lessen the chance of getting dents in your car doors. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, drink two more glasses of water today than you did yesterday, and say no to soda. They’re small steps, but steps in the right direction. It’s something to build on.

Mental, social, and relational health are intertwined, in my opinion. If you are healthy mentally, you are more likely to be healthy socially and have healthy relationships with those around you. I am sure you have an idea of what it means to be healthy mentally. You know when a friendship is not working or a habit/pattern you follow is unhealthy. I find, for women, at least – it’s difficult to say one little word to others, but not to ourselves. That word is “no”. It is all right to say no, even if what you say no to is a GOOD thing. Not every good thing is YOUR good thing. Remember, balance is the key.

Keep your priorities straight and in the proper order. Free time is a GOOD thing. Your schedule does not need to be packed in order to be fruitful. Jesus Himself said no and also took time out to re-charge. Shouldn’t we follow His example? The answer to that question is YES! There are actually squares on my calendar that are blank…and they’ll stay that way.

I sincerely hope that all of you have a Happy New Year filled with health and balance!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing prompt: Write a paragraph about this photo.summer

A Healthy Month of January-Revisited

By Jennifer Hallmark.

It’s been almost abathroom scales month since I posted about my effort to experience better health in 2015. I’d decided to take a month at a time and make adjustments and see what worked and what didn’t. I looked at each area of health: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It’s been an interesting time and now for the results…

Physical

Exercise I decided to try working out five days a week, 3 days of low-impact aerobics and two days of riding the exercise bike.

Positive-I stuck to the plan and feel better physically.

Negative-The bike riding bothered my back a little. I’m going to try one more month to see if it continues.

Diet I decided to cut back on sugar and follow a plan of eating healthy.

Positive-I’ve traded sweet tea for hot tea with honey.

Negative-I thought I knew enough about healthy food to just try to eat healthy. I drew up no written plan. The month was extremely stressful and I tend to eat when stressed. So predictably, I failed to eat healthy and lost no weight.

Mental

I would try a four-day work week and take more time to rest.

Positive-I made more time for myself and stuck somewhat to a four-day work week. I feel more rested.

Negative-I still have trouble unwinding at times and use work as a stress relief, which leads to me being tired.

puzzleEmotional

I would try four things for emotional health: Read a feel-good book or watch an inspirational movie; work a jigsaw puzzle; be accountable to a friend; and get out of the house more.

Positive-I’ve read a good bit and watched a couple of movies. I set up my jigsaw puzzle. I talked a couple of times to a friend about a couple of stressful situations I’m dealing with.

Negative-It’s cold and I haven’t gotten out of the house more. I need to relax when I am out and enjoy myself.

Spiritual

I would continue my daily devotion time, listen to music and journal, fellowship with other Christians, be a blessing, and enjoy nature.

Postive-I love my devotion time. Music and journaling are good for me. I’ve tried to be a blessing to family and friends.

Negative-I could still use more fellowship with Christians. It’s cold and I haven’t been out much.

question mark

So how does this all add up? How will I approach February?

(1) I’m going to follow a written plan for healthy eating.

(2) I need to turn to God in my stress and fellowship more with my family and friends.

(3) I need to realize it’s going to be cold in winter and just make myself get out more anyway. 🙂

How about you? Do you have any suggestions to help me out as I approach February?

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt: I couldn’t believe my eyes. The scales screamed the same number as when I’d started a month ago. How could it? My clothes fit better. I picked up the scale and…

 

 

 

Begin the New Year with a Daniel Fast

 By Karen Jurgens

Girl Cleaning Chalkboard

First things first. Especially for a new 2015.

Isn’t it wonderful to begin all over again with a clean slate? Most of us join in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions of some form or fashion. Whether it’s exercising, eating a healthier diet, or focusing better on the important things, we can all identify. It’s like cleaning out that cluttered closet and organizing those messy drawers. Lots of work, but boy, so worth the effort.

Anything we change will produce a new and different result. And isn’t that what we’re all really after–a better body inside and out and a better life in general?

But wait…how about our spirits? Don’t they need cleansing and renewing too? Let’s consider getting off to a fresh start with a Daniel Fast.

newlifenny-Header-Forward

The first time I heard a minister invite the congregation to participate in a church-wide fast, I thrilled to the idea, only I had no idea how to do it. I had only heard of water and juice fasts where you drink but eat no food for a certain number of days. So how did this one work?

The Bible gives some guidelines in Daniel.

“In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth…” (10:2-3a, NAS).

No meat, no tasty food—which I interpret as any type of sugary concoctions like desserts—and no wine. Since I don’t imbibe alcohol, this personally means for me no meats and no sweets. Easy to remember.

And the spiritual cleansing? That comes through prayer and humbling yourself before God. The denial of pleasant foods reminds us that we are petitioning God during these days, as well as expecting answers from Him. This is a precious time, set aside to worship our God and seek His face.

What will be your result? Unlike Daniel, you may not have a personal visitation from Gabriel, but your spirit will be in tune with God. He will certainly answer your prayers and supplications that you lay at His feet. God has given me dreams, opened doors that were shut, healed my body, blessed my family, and so much more. Like Daniel, we can expect to receive great things from God.

Interested in finding out more about the do’s and don’ts? Here’s the list (courtesy of fastdown1.wordpress.com).

fasting

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast:                   

All fruits

All vegetables

All whole grains

All nuts and seeds

All legumes

All quality oils

Beverages limited to water

Foods to Avoid:

All meat and animal products

All dairy products

All sweeteners.

All leavened bread

All refined and processed foods products

All deep fried foods

All solid fats

(Want more information? Visit HERE  for the specific details.)

Are you ready? I wish you a healthy 2015, full of God’s grace and answered prayers.

prayer4“Be anxious for nothing, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, that passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NAS).

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt:

The ladies at the Bible study chatted as they arranged their books and papers in preparation for their new semester.

Chloe, a young mother of newborn twins, opened her Bible to the book of Daniel. “I hear that our leader has a surprise this month.”

Sherry, a mom to teenagers, passed a bag of pretzels across the table, munching on a handful. “Really? I hope it involves something yummy.”

The ladies giggled, sipping their coffee.

Just then their leader, Margaret, entered the room. “Welcome to 2015, ladies. How would you all like to be part of a Daniel Fast for the New Year?

The women looked at one another, eyes questioning, silent. Margaret recognized their hesitancy before she continued. “Has anyone ever fasted before? Could you tell us a little about your experience? “

You raise your hand and respond…

photos courtesy of Corbisimages and Newlifenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

What’s for Dinner? Fine Dining in the Regency Era

Michelle Griep HeadshotGuest post by Michelle Griep

Frozen pizza is a great go-to meal when you’ve endured a frazzled day of work, errands and carpooling—but not if you lived in early nineteenth century England. Dinner wasn’t just a meal. It was an event, especially when combined with a ball.

The punch table would sustain you for a while as you swirled through dance after dance, but eventually everyone’s tummy would start growling. It wasn’t uncommon for “dinner” to be served around midnight, when you’d enter a sparkling dining room, candlelight glinting off silver and crystal. But your contemporary appetite might be a little squelched when you find out what might be served . . .

Meat Pies

Who doesn’t like a good chicken potpie? That depends upon your definition of good. Meat pies served in the 1800’s didn’t just have a crust slapped on top. They had an entire bird head and wings sticking out.

Baby Eel Gelatin

What kind of cartoon bubble does that bring up in your mind? If it makes you go, “Eew!” then you’re right on track. Baby eels look like big worms, and you’d see their little eyes staring at you because I’m not talking cherry Jell-O—they’d be served in a clear gelatin. Add a little jiggle to that when the dish was spooned out and you might not be as hungry as you thought.

Golden Sweetmeats

No actual meat involved in this one, but as for the gold, 24 karat baby. Picture a delicious, chocolaty truffle, just the right size to pop into your mouth. Now add in a golden coating—of real gold. I don’t know about you, but personally, I like to wear my jewelry, not eat it.

Oysters on the Half Shell

Okay, so this one isn’t so strange, and is still considered somewhat of a delicacy even today. But it wasn’t for the hero in my new release, BRENTWOOD’S WARD. When Nicholas Brentwood, a street-wise lawman, is faced with a plate of raw oysters in a dining room, surrounded by those who are used to such fare, he’s forced to man-up and let them slide down his throat. It’s a dinner scene he—and the reader—is not likely to forget.

And that’s only one of his adventures . . .Brentwood's Ward Cover Peek

There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match. Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order…she’s stolen his heart.

As for me, I’m pretty thankful that some of yesteryear’s dishes are no longer in vogue, because I’d much rather sit down to a meal that doesn’t include feathers, heads, or precious metals.

About the Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager.

She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones.

Follow her adventures at her blog WRITER OFF THE LEASH or visit michellegriep.com, and don’t forget the usual haunts of Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter.

The Naturo-path to Better Health

by Betty Thomason Owens

Right around this time, every year…

Everyone starts talking about choosing healthier lifestyles by going to the gym, or making better food choices. The gyms do a raging good business in the month of January. And we really do plan to keep our new regimen going throughout the year. We want to lose those extra pounds and firm up those flabby midsections.

file8471259606314I have an exercise plan in place throughout the year. I walk three to four miles per day, outdoors, five or six days a week (weather permitting). I work at home and for me, the freedom of being outside in the open—especially when there’s sunshine—is worth the time and effort.

I wish I could tell you I’m in perfect health with no extra weight. I wish. But I am in moderately good health, seldom sick. I do have some stubborn pounds hanging on. I wish I could charge them rent. I’d be rich by now. Truth is, I’d love to find a way to get rid of the excess.

Extra weight can adversely affect your health. Most of us know that. But if you exercise and eat healthy, you may just be looking at your body type. In that case, be happy with thyself. But if you do have health issues, perhaps you do need to make some changes.

A couple of years ago, I made my first visit to a certified health professional—a naturopath. I had known him for years and saw him make some very positive changes in his own life that convinced me he knew what he was talking about. So I made an appointment. A very simple twofold test (urine and saliva) told him what he needed to know about what’s happening in my life.

Turns out, I was much older than I should have been. What does that mean? Because of some bad choices on my part, my body was suffering. My bad choices consisted of sleep deprivation, dehydration, and … I wasn’t breathing enough. What? How can you not breathe enough?

I remember doing breathing exercises in chorus and choir practice. “Breathe from the di-a-phragm!—All together now—breathe!” Physical exercise helps with the breathing issue. The consistent outdoor walking began, and now, I’m pretty much up to par with the breathing. Sleep better, too, because I get outside and get the blood flowing and the oxygen processing.

But I’d still be coming up short if I didn’t hydrate. I push myself to drink more water. Sometimes it’s herbal tea, or flavored water. I got rid of the sweetened drinks. And yes, I still drink coffee. Hey, I love the stuff, but I try to counter it by matching each ounce of coffee with an ounce of water later in the day. Consistency, this is the key.

But you’ll still need a good, healthful diet. Cut out sugar. I hear your screams. Did I do this? No. I cut back on sugar. And, according to our naturopathic physician, you should populate your diet with living foods. No, he doesn’t advocate eating live animals. Get that picture out of your head.

cuyBvv1uSo what are living foods? Think raw veggies, or gently cooked veggies. Especially garden-fresh, that were in the ground hours ago, sucking up nutrients. If you’re a gardener or farmer, it’s easy. If not, you might want to join a co-op or find a good green grocer, farm, or farmer’s market.

According to my guy, frozen is a good second-best, and canned is okay, when you just can’t get fresh. The less it’s processed, the better.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’re probably already somewhat familiar with these principles. Live vegetables are a good way to eat right, increase fiber in your diet, and multiply the nutrients, without starving yourself.

Here’s an interesting and friendly website for beginners. Her veggie chili looks really good. http://livingveggie.blogspot.com/

You can find plenty of information dealing with eating healthy—my favorite go-to is Pinterest, of course. I just enter whatever I’m craving and voila! I’ve got several recipes to choose from.

So, am I going to finally drop those extra pounds? I’d like that, but even more, I hope to reverse the aging process a little. So far, I have seen real improvement, because I’m getting exercise, drinking more water, resting better, and I’m breathing!

If you’re interested in finding a Naturopathic doctor in your area, do your homework. Check them out thoroughly before you go. We were fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with ours. But a good place to get recommendations is through your local chiropractic office.

Whatever you choose to work on this year, I wish you great success. Now, inhale—push out the diaphragm—hold—exhale—crunch that carrot!


Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments–

saturday 184_peWriting Prompt:

“Is this a living carrot?” Carol Anne Pendergast asked Jacob Bauer, owner of her local farmer’s market. “My naturopathic doctor told me to only eat living vegetables.”

Jacob’s bushy brows blended as his forehead creased. “All my vegetables are alive. Those carrots were plucked from the ground this very morning.”

“No need to get huffy about it,” Carol Anne said. “I was just asking.” She picked up a beautiful brown egg, her gaze cutting back to Jacob’s. Her mouth opened, but before she could ask the question poised on the tip of her tongue, he propped his fists on his hips and said, …

 

(Photos courtesy of MorgueFile)

Walking for Health

Let me first make this perfectly clear from the start: I hate exercise!
I did enough of it in the Army for a lifetime. I can still remember the way the crisp air smelled at O’Dark Thirty in the morning, and I can live a long time without smelling it again.

Soldiers doing pt

I do know from experience that just eating better is not going to get the job done. I may be able to drop a few pounds cutting bad carbs, sugar and drinking more water, but moving is going to get the results faster. My goal is not just to shed a few pounds, it’s to get back down to a healthy weight for me. Let’s be honest, I know everyone has some issue they struggle with, maybe more than one.

I conquered one struggle with the help of the Lord, and we are forever thankful. My husband and I had tried to quit smoking for years, only to have WW 3 commence under our roof after only a few days. Not a happy site. So, we would start smoking again. The turning point was a desire on both our parts to dedicate our lives back to the Lord. We decided to attend a new church, get baptized and really learn what the Bible says about living a righteous life. In a tiny non-denominational church with prayer warriors a plenty we went forth one Sunday to break the nicotine habit. I will never be able to explain how it happened, but I NEVER craved another Marlboro again. Jesus did that for me!
Now, after I quit smoking, two babies, and years of a more sedentary life, I have gained more weight then I care to admit. My family has a history of diabetes, I have high cholesterol, and I have had a gout attack; twice. It’s time to quit messing around and get busy. I am doing pretty well with my eating, some days better than others. I do tend to cheat once in a while. That reminds me I have half a brownie I need to either finish or dispose of. I don’t feel bad for cheating. I get right back on the wagon the next day.

good food
What has worked for me is walking. I used to have a walking partner, but she moved away. Now I struggle with staying dedicated to it alone. I can walk any time, in any weather. I do it in my basement to a tape or DVD. Now I know some people are going to wonder; really? Can you really lose weight that way? Yes, you can. I had lost 15 pounds, and then when I stopped concentrating on the goal I gained it all back and then some. Stress sabotaged me.Walking
This time I am determined to get to the goal. I have only lost six pounds with my new eating program and I am not struggling with finding the time to walk in doors with my tape. I always plan on going to bed early so I can get up before I need to worry about two teenage boys waking up in time for school. That’s about to change. They are old enough to get themselves up, and we just happen to have two small alarm clocks that are not in use. Soon I will have no more excuses.

Blessings,

Tammy Trail