Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I'm Into This Fall

There is finally a briskness in the air here in West Texas and I am most definitely happy about it.  I've been ready for the fall for the last month because the fall means boots, sweaters, warm drinks, baking, visits from international friends and crafts with my girls.  I LOVE fall - can you feel my joy?

I want you to love the fall too!  And I thought that maybe just maybe you would like to hear about 5 things that I'm really into this fall.  I know that I'd love to hear about what you are loving right now!  So here we go:

1.  My New Lace Up Boots
I have long had a love affair with boots.  It goes back to my bright yellow cowboy boots that I got in the fourth grade - they were awesome!  So every fall I look at what is new and fashionable in the boot world, and then I try to invest in a good pair.

I've been eyeing lace up boots for sometime but just wasn't too sure that I could pull them off.  However, I was in TJ Maxx last week and found these beauties.  The price was right, and I got brave and decided that if I had confidence I could pull them off!

I also feel like I'm a woman from the 1800's

2.  Healthier Yet More Delicious Food
I went on a fast last month, and before you think that means I'm super spiritual or a health fanatic, let me be honest...I'm not.  I'm 34 years old and a pastor, and this is the FIRST time I think I have truly fasted.  And it was HARD!!!  I didn't like it, and yet I'm also so glad I did it.  It was something just between myself and God, and He did some needed things in my heart and life during those 21 days.  It was a time good for the soul, but it also ended up being good for my body as I discovered in those 21 days that I eat a lot of crap.  I did the Daniel fast, which basically eliminated my four favorite food groups: bread (really most carbs),  sugar, caffeine, and pretty much anything processed.

In some ways I had to relearn to eat, and I discovered that REAL food actually tastes better than so much of the processed food out there (now, I still love me some pasta and the occasional Oreos), but I left those 21 days with a desire to try to cook more and eat more real food.  I tried out new recipes, and discovered that although there is work involved in eating healthier, it paid off because I've felt better and like knowing what is going onto our family plates.

These are my 3 favorite discoveries that I keep making (the recipes will be at the end of this blog):

Roasted Broccoli (or any veggie for that matter)- The first time I made this broccoli I proclaimed it a game changer on Facebook & I'm still singing it's praises!  I simply tossed bite size pieces in olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt over it and cooked it at 350 for 10-15 minutes (my oven is hot so I usually cook things shorter).  I seriously felt like I was eating french fries - DELICIOUS!

I don't have a picture of my broccoli, but here are sweet potatoes that I also roasted.

Banana, Oat, & Chocolate Chip Muffins - I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try one day when I was REALLY missing anything that resembled bread.  And OH MY GOODNESS - I was shocked!  It was actually one of the best muffins ever - and it was so nice that it wasn't too sweet.  I didn't feel like I was just eating cake (which is honestly what most muffins are - morning cake ;)).  Please get the recipe below & try it out!

Please ignore my muffin pan...
Homemade Granola - I have ALWAYS loved homemade granola.  My mom makes it often but this was my first time to try it out for myself.  I used Barefoot Contessa's recipe off of Food Network with a few tweaks.  You can find the original recipe here & I'll write out my version down below.

And the BEST thing is that all three of these recipes were easy.  I was under the impression that to eat healthier I would need more prowess in the kitchen, but these three recipes have given me confidence...and if I can do this anyone can.

3.  Shauna Niequist's Writing - I just discovered Shauna Niequist, but once I did I've made her my crush and promply went out and purchased all of her books.  Maybe because she's a pastor's daughter or maybe because she is brutally honest or maybe because she sometimes lives on the water (and I'm insanely jealous of that scenario) or maybe because I get glimpses of myself when I read her words - for all these reasons and more - I want to be like her when I grow up!

If you haven't read any of her writing, you can start here: http://www.shaunaniequist.com/

And then you should run out and buy her books.  Her latest, Bread & Wine is my favorite.



4.  My Dining Room
I wrote a couple months ago about transforming my living room and dining room with a coat of white paint, and I showed off a few changes in my living room.  My dining room, however, has had a difficult time emerging.  I had different ideas, but I was hesitant to pull the trigger on any purchases.  I finally remembered some great advice about decorating - find one thing you LOVE and use that as the starting place.  So I started looking at art and I finally found a picture of the world that is in bold colors and I just knew that it was for me.

We are passionate about exposing our family to the nations - we travel when we can and tell stories about friends and strangers all over the world.  I love how colorful the world is and how it expands my heart every time I meet people from other nations - so this piece of art is fitting.

The room continues to emerge, but I'm excited that as fall has come and we gather around our table to eat; we will literally have the nations near to remind us of friends and those for whom we pray!





5.  My Favorite Apps
I'm not very app savvy, but when I find an app that I like I tend to use it A LOT!  Here are my current favorites:

Feedly - This is a well known app if you read many blogs, but if you don't know about it and wish you had access on the go to your favorite reads, this is a great option!

IHOPKC- I'm a fan of the prayer room at IHOP in Kansas City & I often turn it on when I'm home alone with the girls.  I am so excited that you can now listen on your phone and you can even listen to archives based on type of set or worship leader.

VSCOcam - This is my new favorite photo app and after a couple weeks of use I LOVE it!  It allows you to control the filters and make slight changes to your phone pics.  In fact, every picture on this blog was edited with VSCOcam.  Below you can see another example of this fun app - before & after:

Before VSCOcam
After VSCOcam
 So that's what I'm into this fall!  What about you?  Anything that is making you feel fallish?  Any new things that you'd like to share with me or those who visit the blog?  Would love to hear from you!


Banana, Oat, & Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 3 mashed bananas (the more ripe the better!)
  • 1 cup vanilla Almond milk (any milk should work)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 3 cups Old Fashion or Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin pans.
Spray a muffin pan and/or liners with with non-stick spray.
Stir the chocolate chips into the oatmeal batter.
Bake 20-30 minutes, you’ll see the edges just starting to brown and they will be firm to the touch.

Homemade Granola
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup good honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, almonds, and cherries together in a large bowl. Pour the vegetable oil and honey over the oat mixture. Add the cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated with the liquids. Pour onto a sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

Fall is my favoritest!
I LOVE the IHOPKC app. Do you also have the iBethel? Love it too- you can access the last several worship sessions and different podcasts.

And love roasted veggies! Haven't tried the broccoli but will need to soon! Roasted asparagus is my current extreme love.

Kade said...

Oh I love your boots! I have been eying boots like that every time I go shopping!

Abby Louder said...

What a fabulous post! I am inspired! :)

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