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Quinoa-Lentil-Kale Soup

During my visit to Sun Harvest this past weekend, I picked up a can of black lentils. I wanted to do something simple with them, so I thought up a soup using the quinoa and red kale I had also just bought. I scoured the internet for a recipe to work from. This recipe is light on the calories and heavy-handed with the nutrients. Plus, it’s FILLING!

While I enjoyed the recipe I used, I do suggest using cumin, curry powder, and cinnamon as the spices to warm up the dish, since the basil and oregano sort of hid in the background. And now that I think about it, I forgot the tomato paste. Ah well. 

Enjoy!

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Quinoa, Black Lentil, and Kale Soup
(Adapted from this recipe)
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 large carrots, unpeeled, chopped
1 large stalk (or two small stalks) celery, chopped
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can black lentils
3/4 cup dry quinoa
1-2 cup kale, chopped or torn into small pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil ( again, I suggest subbing the oregano and basil out with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp curry powder, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, then stir in the onion, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle with some salt and allow to cook until onions art translucent.

Raise heat to high and add the broth. Bring to a boil, then drop the heat to simmer (at about medium head). Add the quinoa. Cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy. Stir in lentils, kale, the 1/2 tsp of sea salt, and the herbs/spices. Cook for another 15 minutes or until kale is tender.

Check out the nutrition facts!!!:

Calories: 326
Total Fat: 6g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Total Carbohydrates: 52g
Dietary Fiber: 13g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 18g

 

This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Iron and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.

 

———–

30 Day Challenge
Day 6: 30 Facts about yourself

1. I strongly dislike roller coasters. I hate them. No, I abhor them. I vehemently abhor them. I’m such a buzz kill at amusement parks.

2. It’s February and I’m already in the mood for fall.

3. I don’t like bananas when they’re under ripe, which means I don’t like them until they’re speckled with brown.

4. I’m not the biggest fan of hot oatmeal. It’s the texture.

5. I honk for minor chords. Or something…

6. I’m a mezzo-soprano. I sing alto (A1) in choir because I can sing the entire alto range and entire mezzo-range, but not the entire soprano range, which stinks when there isn’t an S2 part written in the music.

7. I’ve been with Edgar for over four years and he has yet to hear me sing all by myself.

8. All I know about reading music has come from seven semesters’ worth of choir experience plus a vague memory of elementary school music class and a year of recorder class in 5th grade. I’m basically learning very slowly over many years what most music majors learn their first semester.

9. I have the most random taste in music. It makes absolutely no sense. There’s no rhyme (pun not intended) or reason. I currently have six songs playing on repeat on my iTunes right now, and they consist of: one bluegrass song, one rock-song-turned-acoustic-and-bluegrassy, “Love the Way you Lie” by Eminem, “Samson” by Regina Spektor, “Sally’s Song” sung by Fiona Apple, and “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry.

10. I do not enjoy country music, but I love bluegrass a great deal. It also reminds me of fall and road trips.

11. I have a condition called uterine didelphys. Wait what?? Long story short, I have two uteri. And to answer your question, double-pregnancy at two different gestational periods is technically possible but extremely unlikely.

12. I’m allergic to cats. My mom is also allergic and I became so half-way through high school. Both my sisters became allergic to cats during high school as well.

13. I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

14. I love climbing trees

15. I love hiking. It’s cardio and strength training in one! If I had my way, I’d hike every weekend.

16. I love pilates/power yoga. It reminds me of ballet!

17. I was homeschooled from 5th grade through graduation and my social life didn’t suffer even the slightest. In fact, it greatly improved once I started homeschooling.

18. A lot of people are scared of hospitals. I’m not. Some of my earliest memories were of visiting the hospital when my mom was working there as a medical transcriptionist. It also helps that my grandfather was a doctor and my aunt is a nurse.  Medicine is a familiar field in my family.

19.  5 years of Spanish and all I got was this rusty Spanglish. Actually, when I hear people speak Spanish (and here in Texas, it’s almost more common than English), I can always understand some of what they’re saying, and I can usually read what’s written in Spanish. I’m not that confident in my ability to speak it, though.

20. I graduated Magna Cum Laude. I decide to take first semester Old Testament History with the hardest religion professor on campus, but I didn’t pick up on her teaching and testing style until half-way through second semester New Testament History. I got a C in Old Testament as a result, and if I had actually gotten an A in that one class, I would have graduated Summa Cum Laude. Humbug.

21. My minor was in psychology, I have 12 graduate level hours in counseling, and I’m a member of the Psi Chi National Honors Society for psychology.

22. I think my body requires 9-10 hours of sleep every night to feel rested. This means I never feel rested.

23. I have been blogging regularly since 2003. I was 14 and a sophomore in high school when I started my first blog.

24. I don’t swear. And as far as I can remember, I’ve never knowingly cussed. It’s not a habit I ever picked up, nor one I desire to have. I like to think I have a more creative vocabulary.

25. I eat hamburgers upside down. The burger, not myself. This is probably why my burger innards are all assembled backwards.

26. Those Larabars I was saving for my trip…I just ate ‘em. Both of them. Meh, I’ll buy more later.

27. I’ve been able to do a back-bend from a standing position since I was a single-digit age.

28. I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. I just finished the Sorcerers Stone.

29. I’m a bit of a bread snob!

30. Tamales are my very favorite Mexican food!

I bought out Sun Harvest…

…Or so it feels like.

Our trip to Lubbock started later than we were planning, so we ended up grabbing breakfast at the convenience store on our way out of town. Gas stations in Plainview are not known for having good healthy options. A V-8 Fusion and a bag of trail mix was the best I could do.

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What to do in the car for an hour? Take pictures!

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Our first stop was to David’s Bridal, where I tried on dress options for Greg and Ana’s wedding this June. I’m a bridesmaid!

Which do you prefer?

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or…

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The actual color I’ll be ordering is “marine,” which is like a dark, foggy blue, but for the purpose of sizing, I tried on whatever was available.

I originally came to try on the first dress, but I decided to try on the second for the heck of it. I’m surprised to say I actually really prefer the black one! It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn! Unfortunately, it doesn’t have quite that Audrey pizzazz in the marine color, but oh well. It ain’t my wedding. ;)

Another thing. I bought my wedding dress at David’s Bridal in a size 14, and it was a tad snug. This dress is a size 8! WAHOO!

After playing dress up, Edgar and I visited Office Depot and Best Buy to look at laptops and see if we could find an international voltage converter/power adaptor, and I had NO LUCK finding the latter! Uggghhh.

Lunch followed at Rockfish. It was sort of our early Valentine’s dinner, but at lunch. We’re playing it cool this V-day, especially since I don’t really get to see him at all tomorrow.

Bring on the Grilled Rainbow Trout with Pontchartrain sauce, grilled asparagus, and sweet potatoes.

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I DEVOURED it. I would have eaten the rice, too, if I hadn’t already promised it to Edgar before we ordered.

I swiftly worked off lunch with a THREE HOUR grocery trip in Sun Harvest. Edgar spent the majority of the time napping in the car while I flittered around the store. It was actually sort of unenjoyable because I had to go to the bathroom a short while after getting there, and I didn’ t have my phone on me, so I couldn’t call Edgar in to stand with the cart. Ahh!

But nevertheless, here be my loot. I didn’t even get everything I needed!

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  • Organic tomato paste
  • Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (NO SALT ADDED!!!)
  • Organic arugula
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Dried, unsweetened, unsulfured mango (a snack for my 36 hours of travel just getting to Germany)

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  • Frozen organic mixed mushrooms
  • Bulk quinoa
  • Bulk wild/brown rice mix
  • Asparagus
  • Organic red kale
  • Organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • Organic low-sodium beef broth
  • Kashi GoLean Crunch! cereal
  • Organic leeks

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  • Red bell peppers
  • Bulk pistachios
  • Bulk nutritional yeast (Edgar asked, “what is this?!” I said it was fish food)
  • Applegate Farms nitrate/nitrite-free organic bacon (this was REALLY AMAZING in a quiche I made for dinner last night!!)

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  • Gruyere
  • Organic rainbow chard
  • Llano Chardonnay
  • Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (almond milk)
  • Organic black lentils
  • Unsalted black beans
  • Unsalted garbanzo beans
  • SIGGI’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Now I don’t have to travel 7 hours away to get my fix! And to mix things up, I got a vanilla flavor instead of my usual Orange & Ginger. And to make things better, they’re cheaper at Sun Harvest than Central Market or Whole Foods! Instead of $2.50 each, they’re $2/each!)

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  • Organic European-style nonfat plain yogurt
  • Organic half-and-half
  • Organic baby carrots (they’re thin-cut!)
  • Blackberries
  • Organic 70% dark chocolate
  • Sardines in tomato sauce (I can hear the collective, “eeeeewww!” Trust me, it’s good in place of beef in ragu. Plus it tastes better than most canned tuna)
  • Larabars (also for my travels)
  • Pure bar
  • High fiber/high protein wheat wraps
  • Bananas
  • Local raw honey

We got home right before 6pm, just minutes before people started showing up for our Saturday night dinner. We played it down and had a Leek, Bacon, and Gruyere quiche in a whole wheat crust with a side of arugula. Yummmmmmmm!

I’ve been waiting for this day for so long…

With a practically empty fridge+pantry, a replenished bank account, and an epic two-page shopping list, I’m off to Sun Harvest (and other places) in Lubbock to replenish my wares!

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Later!

Hero

Not having a great deal of food in the house paired with the fact that I’m trying to limit cow’s dairy can be lame sometimes.

Or inspire creativity.

Yesterday I packed a quick breakfast to eat at my desk.

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Blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranate swimming in light coconut milk, with the last of my Uncle Sam cereal mixed in at the last minute. It looks grainy because it kinda was (my leftover bag of coconut milk had seen the microwave  a few too many times). Didn’t taste grainy, though, so I guess that’s all that matters. :-P

I stole an idea from Courtney in creating my lunch. The other day she tweeted about having a goat cheese, avocado, and red sweet pepper quesadilla, and I decided that was way more fun than a peanut butter sandwich.

I used some corn tortillas I had on hand and loaded them with goat cheese, avocado, half a red pepper I carefully haphazardly roasted over my gas range, grilled chicken, and spinach.

I have a problem with overloading my quesadillas. I always feel the need to increase my veggies.

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Mmm. My photography needs serious work.

This was so good that I’m making this for lunch again tomorrow, only I’m putting it in a pita instead!!!

For dinner I ate some pan-fried chicken, steamed drowned-in-sea-water broccoli, and some roasted delicata squash I seasoned with rubbed sage and salt.

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Yum. Frying anything is a rarity in my house!

But dark chocolate isn’t.

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  —-

30 Day Challenge
Day 5: A time you thought about ending your own life

I mentioned in my previous 30 Day Challenge entry that I had a dark period in my life in early high school. During that particular year I had all the classic signs of depression: couldn’t sleep, couldn’t concentrate, was always tired, lost interest in things I usually loved, was involved in a codependent relationship with someone who was far worse off than I was, had a general dark and bitter outlook on the world, felt hopeless and misunderstood (ah, 13 year olds), was emotional and didn’t know how to express myself constructively. I don’t remember having much of an appetite, but I gained quite a bit of weight that year. But I was never suicidal. I never remotely believed that death was an answer to anything. Maybe it was my upbringing; maybe it was my faith; maybe it was my common sense, but suicide wasn’t an option.

image 
(A blurry picture of my sister, Holly, and me during an end-of-semester program for my homeschool group back in December, 2002, right as my depression was setting in)

In a way I’m thankful for that year. I’m thankful in the “you know light because you’ve known darkness” way, but also because that experience made me a little more aware, a little more sensitive, a little less naïve about the world we live in. Something in me permanently changed as a result of that year. Peers who were dealing with issues much deeper and darker than I ever had were drawn to me, even though they knew nothing of my prior struggles and I wasn’t depressed when they met me. I became unspeakably approachable to them, in part because I was never part of the “in” crowd anyway, and that year helped me (even if I went overboard in expressing it at age 13) in being confident in my individuality. I tended to (and still often do) move against the mainstream. It was easy for me to empathize with the darkness I saw in others, but I was also grounded in reality and in my faith. I was a constant for many people who came in and out of my life. I was someone they could talk to without judgment. I was someone who could relate to what they were feeling, if only distantly. I was someone who would try to understand and care about them as a whole soul, a whole human being, instead of passing them off as “weird,” “messed up,” or a “punk kid.” I had friends dabble in Satanic worship, and I was there for them when they came out of it. I’ve had friends struggle with eating disorders, self-mutilation, promiscuity, self esteem issues, physical abuse, drugs, rape, prostitution, abortion, mental disorders, and yes, even attempted suicide. On one occasion, my friend Brandon had me to talk to a friend of his who was having self esteem issues. I became friends with this particular person, and a year later he told me that he was about to attempt suicide (for the third time) that night we first spoke, but something I said stopped him. It’s been seven years and he hasn’t attempted suicide since.    

I don’t say all this to toot my own horn or anything. I share this because even though I’ve never considered attempting suicide, I’ve known what it’s like to feel hopeless, alone, and misunderstood. I can clearly see what drives people to get involved in questionable activities and sometimes even attempt suicide. The people that deal with these issues usually look just like you and me. They look “normal.” They often blend in. We’re all human beings with souls and a purpose, and we all struggle. The difference is experience and how we deal with them. And we all need to open our minds and our hearts to those whose perspectives we might not understand. It just might save somebody’s life.

 

I could share many different songs that deal with this subject, but I’ll leave you with two of my favorites:

 

Have you ever been a hero to someone?
Who has been a hero to you?

Ubi Caritas

Quick post. Mondays are crazy for me. My day began at 7am and between work, three choir rehearsals, and Zumba, I didn’t get to rest until I got home at 8pm.

I regret not the incessant choir, though. We get to sing this:

 

And not to mention a billion other songs.

I’m thinking of limiting my dairy and/or switching to goats milks for the time being. Having a mucus-y throat while singing is no good.

Anyway, I’m tired. Off to bed. It’s good for my health!

Accent Vlog! Plus, my faith.

 

Hey everyone! Peeps just left and I’ve finally got my accent video done!

I don’t really have a lisp, so I don’t know what that was about. But now that I hear myself, I do kinda have a Southern accent. I blame Plainview. I sound like a hick every time I visit my family in Fort Worth.


Background:
I am from Fort Worth, Texas, and my parents are from Missouri/North Carolina and Texas. I was raised in Texas all my life.

Edgar is from a small country town (Canadian, TX) barely on this side of the Texas line. His dad grew up in El Paso and his mom is from Oklahoma. He has also lived in Texas all his life.

Kris was born in Fort Worth, lived his first few years there, moved to Florida for a few years in grade school, then came back to the Promised Land Texas. He has spent most his life since then in a small town just outside Houston. His parents are both Texans.

Justin’s dad is a pastor and he has traveled all over the country, including New Mexico and Oregon, and has family in Missouri. He doesn’t claim a state.

Aubrey has lived in California and Wyoming. She also doesn’t claim a state.

By the way, I looked it up and the other word for roly poly I was trying to think of was pill bug!

Kris says we should start a morning talk show.

—-

30 Day Challenge 
Day 4-
My views on religion.

Well, I certainly don’t try to hide my faith.

I grew up in a Christian home. I’ve been going to Baptist churches all my life. When I was homeschooled I was a part of several different Christian homeschool groups. I graduated from a Baptist University and now work there.

But none of this makes me a Christian.

While I’ve believed in God for as long as I can remember, I didn’t make my faith my own until I was 14. I didn’t experience an actual relationship with God until 2003 when I participated in my first mission trip and saw God’s hand working so perfectly and obviously. I had spent the year prior in darkness as I struggled with interpersonal issues with a depressed/self-mutilating friend with whom I was toxically codependent. I boarded the bus numb to the world, but just a few days later found myself standing the middle of a dirty street in Mexico in awesome realization that God had always been there through all my struggles, and He was so much bigger than any burden I carried. I realized the incredible feeling of being small, and it was beautiful. His greater plan for me was so much better than anything I could dream up in my shortsighted, feeble mind.

I look back at my perspective of life the day I left for that trip. It was dark and gray. Just 8 days later, the days permanently switched to light. It’s been almost eight years and even thought I’ve struggled with heartbreak and uncertainty, I have never felt as hopeless as I did before meeting God face to face on that mission trip.

I know it’s not typical for people to change overnight. But I’m living proof that it’s possible. Letting go of my plans and allowing God to move them was was set the entire rest of my life into motion. It was easily the most pivotal week of my entire life.

If I hadn’t gone on that mission trip, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog post today.

On that trip, I met someone who would be my very best friend for the next three years. Through him I learned what it meant to know God, to delight in Him, to be in communion with Him, and to see others the way that God saw them. I learned what it meant to love, which is what God is all about. I learned what it meant to trust God, which is something I’ve always struggled with. I still do, but I do have a hope that I cling to:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)

That verse is the hope on which I have gripped for the past 8 years. That hope has led me to Wayland, to Edgar, to this job which has led me to get healthy, this confidence, the love and friendship I have in my life. I know peace because I’ve actively trusted God. I know hope because I’ve seen my life fall to ruin and be resurrected so much better than before, on every occasion. I know love because I’ve hurt and been hurt. I’ve opened up my flaws and accepted them in others. I’ve given up my own good and have others sacrifice for me.

God delivered me from more than my sin. He delivered me from more than an eternity of hell. He gave me my earthly life back in spades. He never promised me I wouldn’t struggle, but He promised that I would have a way through it. He never promised I would get everything I wanted, but He promised I would get everything I needed. Where there is darkness, there is now light. Where there was uncertainty, there is now trust. Where there was fear, there is now peace. Where there was dread, there is now hope. Where there was heartbreak, there is now fullness of heart. Where there was brokenness, there is now healing. Where there was selfishness, I now know, see, and experience love on every good and perfect level.

I didn’t get there by going to church, or by reading the Bible, or believing in a “higher power.” I got there because He who is so much bigger than me brought Himself down to my level so that He and I could see face to face. He took me in His arms and I opened my eyes for the first time. I saw His face and wept tears of joy. I gave Him all I had and He gave me riches, and I’ve done nothing to deserve it. 

My religion is hardly about religion at all.
It’s about relationship.
It’s about love.
It’s about hope, peace, and faith.
It’s about forgiveness.
It’s seeing how small we are compared to how big He is.
Wanting what He wants and seeing as He sees.
Choosing to live in His world instead of the trivial one we’ve created for ourselves.
It’s about sacrifice. “He died for me, so I will live for Him.”
It’s about realizing how depraved we are, how we’ve spit in His face, but He still forgives us when we ask, loves us even when we don’t, and offers us a role in his magnificent plan if we choose. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us.
It’s about wanting, seeking, and loving Him back.

 

So, do I have a funny accent???