Progresso Souper You Giveaway

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Welcome to the first giveaway of the New Year. And if you are like many of Americans that make “health” resolutions at the beginning of every new year, then this giveaway is for you!
Progresso is doing a contest and here is their description of it:
Celebrate the New Year and a new you with Progresso Light and 100 Calorie Soups because from January 4 through March 15th, you and your readers can visit to enter the Progresso “Souper You Debut” contest for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.

My Blog Spark is hosting a giveaway for blog readers! Yesterday, when I got back in the office, I had a huge box waiting for me. It had 15 cans of wonderful, yummy, healthy (some vegetarian), Progresso Soups. I don’t have to buy lunches for a long time (which definitely helps out the checking account)! It also came with a beautiful blue Progresso Soup mug that had a nifty handle that fit one’s thumb perfectly (for quality gripping when you are serving up a hot bowl of soup). Also included, to help with those fitness goals, was an automatic jump rope (which counted the turns for you and other information).

So, if you would like to help out your menu planning, check book, activity calendar, anything, just leave me a message saying what your fave soup is (and if it homemade, please share a recipe, because I love soups). You could win all that was mentioned above. I’ll randomly pick a winner by Sunday night at 9pm. Thanks!
And, while you are on this blog, look over to the right and scroll down – I’ve got some yummy soups on there (I love soups year round!)

Thanks – and happy Soup-ing!

Birthday Musings

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(The two pictures were of: a few days before my 32nd bday, and the bottom, yesterday).
Oh, birthdays. Here is it again. I never get concerned about the numbers getting larger, and never eat a whole bday cake to blow out the candles anymore, however, I do use this day as one for contemplation (and fun).
So, many of you say that the one thing you appreciate about me is my honesty, so here goes…
Starting with something good. Ending with something good.
1. God is so good to me. I just finished praying that as I read an email from a friend, wished in someways that my life was like hers, than very grateful that my life is the way God made it and designed for it to be at this moment.
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” – Ps 67.1
2. Solo pictures. FB does this – I promise you! (and yes, I really do love facebook). And my pride does this as well. May God crush that. I hate solo shots. I went to lunch with 2 friends today for my bday and wanted a shot of me at Red Robin. why? To see how I looked. What did I find out – I look alone. My Mom wanted a picture of me for the mantle, my brother took several, they turned out well, but there I will be in a frame by myself. For senior pictures it was ok, but gone are the days of senior pictures.
3. Our bodies age. Ladies – wouldn’t you have loved to be have been Eve (pre-fall)? I mean, come on…walking around naked for the joy of your husband without anything sagging, no gray hairs, no anything out of place, nothing sore, nothing on the mend, no wrinkles, no bags under the eyes, no chin hairs to pull out, no waxing to do. Oh, what joy that would have been. But, the fall. It happened. Eve had to eat. Now, we deal with all these things as we age. And going back to #2, I won’t ever look “prime” for my husband (if God has chosen for me one). I was reminded of that this morning as I was getting ready. In the next 10 years (if the Lord tarries), my eyesight will get worse, I’ll have more gray hair (or spend more money coloring it), will have to spend more on waxing (or become the freak woman at the fair with the beard) – (side note, woman, you all know what I’m talking about). Our bodies are not meant to last forever. This is the effect of sin on us. God has, though, redeemed our bodies and our souls. We are one. I have no clue what our bodies will look like in the afterlife, but I’m glad I won’t have to have a pair of tweezers with me – or concealer.
4. I got a card in the mail from my parents (always signed by my mother, I know): “Parents do not realize when their daughter is a child, how fleeting the moments truly are. And in the blink of an eye the little girl who did pirouettes down the hall is dancing her way through her own life. What a joy it was then, what a joy it is now, what a joy it will always be – having you for a daughter!” Yes, I teared. I wonder though – yes, I know parents are supposed to say that, but then time at home is so different than it is here, we fuss, argue, communicate wrongly, have longings and expectations that aren’t met. I want my parents to always say this of me: “Let your father and mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice.” Prov 23.25
5. Time is so fleeting. Things are fleeting. Like today – I was so looking forward to eating Red Robin with some friends. 59 fat grams and 740 calories later (I left off bun, mayo, and only ate half of the fries with my bacon cheeseburger) it was gone. Was life any better? No. I just felt yuck for eating all of it (the fries were amazing though). This day is fleeting. Things that I make for people are fleeting, all will rot. Why do I tend to place so much emphasis on things in life. People are more important. I think back to the last few hours I was in Lakeland this time. I wanted to run over (across the pasture) to see my grandparents on our way to Orlando. Christmas Day wasn’t the best for family communication, so I wanted to at least end our time on a happy note. My granny was sitting there shelling pecans, my papa was in his chair reading the paper. I thought to myself, if something happens, I may never see my Papa alive again. To my knowledge he is not a believer (by his own testimony). I cry everytime I leave his sight, and even now as I am writing this. He is such an incredibly gracious man. He taught me to fish, drive a boat, pick grapes, clean a fish, make homemade french fries, and corned beef hash. All those are really important things – right? Not as important as knowing Jesus. The Preacher said a lot of it: “Vanity of vanities…all is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” – Ecc 1.2,3 It is all vanity.
6. I finished Genesis this morning. In 4 days I’ve read from Creation to the end of Joseph’s life. I actually liked reading it in this little amount of time because you don’t forget things. I saw many similar topics in Genesis: blessing, presence, covenant, obedience, guidance. “When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.” Genesis 15.17 (If you don’t know the story behind that verse I chose, please ask me, it was one that makes me cry every time I read it). You know what I remember…my God is very good to me. He created me to have a relationship with him, than…when I messed it up…He pursues me to continue that relationship. (I love the book of Hosea for this very reason.) He called out to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, their mothers, he cries out to me even now. I am so thankful that I have a God who created me in His image, loves me with an everlasting covenantal love, and will never forsake me – even when I am faithless. Praise be to God for another year.
7. And just to let you know – I’m really looking forward to this year. Its going to be amazing. God is so faithful to me. He is so incredibly gracious to me. I look forward to seeing fruit bear in my life from being in His presence. And God has given me gracious and wonderful friends, for whom I am very thankful. All for God’s glory, right! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1.17

Menu Week: Jan 4

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First menu week of the new year! Happy 2010. I am excited about continuing with my menu planning. Though I don’t stick to it perfectly, it does help with the costs of food. It will also help me with eating more of a vegetarian diet and not wasting as much food. Up for more challenges during 010!
Monday: Birthday (hint: not vegetarian): Red Robin (not lowfat either). But, I only go 1-2 times a year, I enjoy it, I eat healthy the rest of the day, and I exercise. I don’t feel bad about it. Bring on my free birthday burger!
Thursday: lunch with a friend, but in order to save some money, I’ll be bringing my leftovers to enjoy.
Saturday: coffee out with a friend, or maybe dinner.
Sunday: in E-town all day so will be enjoying lunch with friends.
Here is what I am making this week: and leftovers I have:
Leftovers: Easy Ranch Can Chicken Chili (also not vegetarian, but lean chicken and mostly veggies), chopped chicken, mustard greens
What I am cooking: bran cran-apple muffins, garlicky pinto beans (from Real Simple and Carrots N Cake), sweet potato fries.
To supplement: greens, fresh cara cara oranges from the home in Lakeland, the last asian pear, oats, more veggies I can find on sale at Walmart and WF, carrots and probably some hummus I will make (must buy tahini as I had tahini explosion in my suitcase).
Love a new beginning – new sense of direction and optimism and time of detox after eating way too much for the holidays. More pictures coming this week too. My internet at home will be spotty now till the end of March, so you’ll have to bear with me – pictures may be slow in coming, but they will come – I promise!

Easy Ranch Can Chili

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This is a great recipe for a cold night, busy night, for those of you who like to cook, but don’t like to cook. I altered this recipe from the Butterfly Garden Cafe cookbook (a tea room/restaurant here in Louisville). You can easily make this vegetarian by just omitting the chicken.

a knife
a cutting board
a big pot
a spoon
a can opener

spray pam (or for more fat – evoo or butter)
1 onion, chopped
1 can each: pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans. All undrained
1 can each: diced tomatoes, rotel (if you want it hotter – get hot rotel)
1 can corn, drained
2 cups cooked diced chicken
2 cups water
1 pkg each: ranch salad dressing mix, 1 red-sodium taco seasoning mix

Saute onion for 3-4 minutes. Add rest. Let cook together for about 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite taco toppings: cheese, sour cream, corn chips, tortilla chips, salsa, avocado, etc.
Makes a ton – at least 12 1-cup servings, probably more. So easy, freezable, healthy.

2010 Goals

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People have asked me how I can keep up with 3 blogs. I would love to make one website with all of them like hers, but blogger is free and i will do this for the time being. Maybe I can work on investigating hosting my own website this year?
This has been a great year. I’ve done a lot of things. I ran my first 5k in March of 2009. I also ran more 5k, a 10k, a half marathon. I biked, swam, ran, walked, did a lot of yoga, jillian’s 30 day shred, bob’s yoga for weight loss, and many other things. I am pleased with how 2009 ended – being my lowest weight and losing the most weight that I remember. But, that doesn’t mean i can stop…I must keep going. Here are my 2010 goals for the health issues in my life:
1. Run 2 5ks. I will run one of them in Louisville in March. I want to beat my 35.49 time of my last 5k this past Thanksgiving. I will choose one more to run. Why aren’t I running more? That comes into money – see my goal on my Thoughts blog for more on that.
2. I want to run 2 Half Marathons. I really liked the half I ran last year in Louisville and it was quite challenging. I am thinking about these three (choosing 2 of them): Downhill at Dawn in June at Ridgecrest, VA Beach Half in September, and the Raleigh City of Oaks Half in November. Any training partner out there? Anyone wanna run one or both of them with me?
3. Keep researching. I love reading about health and nutrition. I want to post one thing a week about something I’ve read – whether in a magazine or a book or on a blog. This will keep me learning.
4. I want to lose another 5-10%. Most people don’t think I need to lose more, but I see myself naked (TMI) and I know I need to lose some more. And then maintain that forever!
5. Yoga/Pilates. This will help with stretching and being more flexible. Some folks have a problem with me doing yoga as a Believer. But, i see no problem with it. God made our bodies. When I am doing programs that call for “listening to your bodies” I quote Scripture or pray. I did a 20 minute session this morning and definitely felt stronger and better after it. I want to start my days doing this – to help wake up! My goal is to do 5 sessions a week. Any cool downloads out there that are free – I did yoga download dot com this morning and that was pretty good.
6. Toning. I love being stronger – and my jeans and skirts fit better. I want to keep doing this. Whether it is doing Jillian more, or bootcamp, or hitting the gym some at the beginning of the year, and I know running and yoga/pilates will help with that. I want stronger arms, core, and legs.

So, in three things: running, yoga/pilates, toning. Plain and simple. At least I can’t gain, right! 🙂

2010 Goals (Not Resolutions)

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Hello friends!
Since I have 2 other blogs (My State of Food and Interval Cardio) this one will primarily be on the spiritual/disciplines side of things. Last year I studied and thought much about biblical femininity. Though I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to on the subject, I still thought tons about it. Here are two things I learned: if girls ever listened to themselve (in an out of body experience sorta way) they would change the way they talked (the ones i’m thinking of). I don’t think half the time we think of what is coming out of our mouths, or the tone of what we say. Second: what is in your heart is definitely more telling of how feminine you are (biblical woman) then what you wear or do. The Word says that – what is in the heart is the truth. I have learned much of that this year as well.
God has been very good to me in 2009 and I look forward to 2010, many changes, more friendships, growth in some key areas.
Here are two verses that will guide me for 2010:
John 15.16-17 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
Jeremiah 15.16 – “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joyand the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.”
Here are some of them:
1. B90x. Not P90x, but B90x. It is an intense 90 day reading plan of the whole Word of God. I started this morning, took about an hour to journal, pray, and read it aloud. Very good though. Just means I’ll have to get up earlier. Which will have to be ok with me. That means I’ll be done by March 31 – perfect timing. And then I want to journal through specific books and maybe do some more indepth study of some smaller books. Thank you Steven Furtick and Troy Temple.
2. Read. Yes, I want to read more. I am not a fast reader, that means I need to spend more time doing it. I want to read a couple different books each month: personal/ministry, biography, food/health, fiction or classic. That will definitely keep me changing things up. Each month I will tell you what is coming next and why I’m reading that book. Here is January (the link to them is on the side): Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tripp), Eat, Pray, Love (Gilbert), My Dearest Friend (Adams), Candy Freak (Almond). Sounds like good stuff for the month of January.
3. Improve scheduling discipline. I’ve been printing out free calendars and that has worked well in keeping me organized. And its cheaper than buying a dayplanner. But, I want to be more disciplined in my daily activity. Not spending as much time on fb, yahoo, google reader, watching tv (glad football season is almost over for this very reason). I want to make it a point to get up earlier (see #1), and just be aware of how I spend the waking hours of my day. For this reason, I am planning on spending 3 hours each week – one sitting – usually on a weekend or near weekend – in planning my next week. I look forward to that, especially as I go into a new phase of life here shortly and using a Bux giftcard I just got for my bday (thanks SC).
4. Budgeting. I come out of 2009 in better financial shape than I have been since about 2003. That is a very good thing. And I want to continue giving, testing God (Malachi 3), living in obedience, improving discretionary spending, and saving for some big ticket items. All of this is fleeting…
5. Improve the things I want to improve: photography, cooking, health, ministry. These things are important to me. If they are important – you want to keep working on them. God is good. i love these things that He blesses me with and I want to be good at them for His glory.

There you go. Thoughts? What are yours? Any encouragement? If you have made any goals or resolutions, then be diligent in keeping them. Don’t give up so easily. Not much in life is worth the fuss if it doesn’t take work. Happy New Year

2010 Food Blog Goals

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Here it comes. My State of Food’s 2010 Blog Goals. Last year, I wanted to go through each of my cookbooks and make at least one recipe from each. I did well until the middle of December when life got busy, holiday parties, wanted to make tried and true recipes. And I got more cookbooks during the year. This year I have similar goals: here they are…
1. I have many subscriptions to cooking magazines. I need to use them. I tear out recipes every where I go and out of every magazine that comes in my mail box. This year, I will indeed make one recipe from a magazine each week. It will be fun and it will keep challenging me with new foods.
Someone asked me this past year if I ever make the same thing twice. Yes, I do. But, I also like to challenge myself and keep improving recipes, trying new ones. I have a fave blueberry muffin recipe, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never try another one because who knows, that one might be better. You can always grow as a cook and a baker. I will never arrive. I must keep striving to be better!
2. Sort through my cookbooks. I have about 80 cookbooks, not including the collection in FL at my parents’ house of all the Southern Living ones. I need to cut those down. I don’t need to have that many – they are just collecting dust. I need to stick with 25-30 on my shelf. If I get new ones during the year, than I need to purge again the next year. Now…there is a difference between art cookbooks (more pictures), old cookbooks (for saving). I am meaning pure cookbooks. I also have great cookbooks that will make wonderful coffee table books. Maybe I’ll do some giveaways of the ones that are still in GREAT condition.
3. This one is probably the hardest. I read TONS of blogs. I love them. I’ve eaten a lot of new foods throughout 2009 because of them. But, as i was thinking how I wanted to change my eating this year, I had to think of what I wanted to do, not be confused with what everyone else was doing. I want to eat more vegetables and fruit, go to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. Now, you may think I tried that last summer. I did. But, I’ve also learned more since then and want to try it again. Now, I think I mean just eat more whole meals with mostly fruits and veggies. I don’t mean I have to give up meat (because I am having chicken chili this wknd and a hamburger at Red Robin for my bday on Monday). I will never give up meat (as long as it is up to me), but I know my health is better when I eat greens and plants and veggies and seed based foods and local ones at that (I was reading Gen 1-2 today and that was a wonderful reminder of all that God has given us). So, I will keep trying to improve my variety and my vegetarian cooking. Any vegetarian sites out there that I might now know about?
4. I want to improve my food photography. There are some sites like this one that I love to look at her photography because it is just gorgous! There are two books that I would like to get (I do have a bday coming up if anyone needs ideas for a bday gift): this one and then this one. That means I will need to learn my camera more. I like my Canon Powershot but i would love a step up from that or a Rebel – that’s something i’m saving for and will be glad to take gifts… 🙂

So, there they are. I would love to hear your thoughts. What are your food/cooking goals? Head on over to the other two blogs: Thoughts and Interval for the other goals – they will be there by 830pm on Jan 1.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate all your thoughts!