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Four of My Favorite Easy & Healthy Snacks

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Y’all, I am terrible about eating too many snacks! It’s definitely where most of my calorie intake comes from. Over the last few years, I have tended to get things like Oreo’s, chips, Jalapeno Cheetos or ice cream to munch on. The first year that we moved to Arizona, I downed so much ice cream as a coping mechanism for being so far away from family. It’s very very easy to get lost in eating sugary foods, especially if your upset or stuck in a pandemic like we are now. But I’ve been wanting to be better, to make better decisions, and that starts with thinking about how I’m snacking. So today, here are five of my favorite healthy snacks to munch on!

1.) Sliced Tomatoes

Here me out on this one! Slice some tomatoes into medium thickness and arrange them evenly on a plate. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto each slice of tomato. I would do equal portions of each as I think both are needed for this snack. Then I sprinkle goat cheese on top of each tomato slice. I try to arrange it so I will have goat cheese in every single bite. Absolutely worth the extra time to sprinkle them on carefully! Without doubt one of my favorite snacks and definitely a healthy option!

2.) Pre-Cut Vegetables

When I’m feeling motivated and really want to be healthy this is a go to option! I have done this a few times and have been so grateful for it. I get veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers and celery at the store. Cut them into bite size pieces and place them into separate containers. I’d personally go for getting one container that can hold all the veggies in separate sections, but any container will work. Then when I’m feeling hungry I grab the containers, throw some on a plate and dip them in some ranch dressing. Now I know that ranch isn’t the healthiest thing for you, but compared to eating chips or cookies I count it as a win! Plus its a good avenue to start getting your daily veggies in.

3.) Berries & Yogurt Covered Pretzels

I like to think of this as a version of a parfait. Yogurt covered pretzels have less calories than chocolate covered pretzels and when combined with some good flavored berries it hits all the taste buds. You can set these out as a cute berry board and go munch on items when you get that craving for something sweet or sweet and salty. I was thrilled with this berry board and think it was a great snack idea for the week!

4.) Pepperoni and Cheese

This one came directly from my dad! He has always been drawn to snacking on meats and cheeses. Especially when you wrap some cheese in the meat, it’s been a staple among cooks for years and its definitely a great snack. I like to get pepper jack squares (thick square cuts of cheese) and pepperoni or sausage for this snack. Wrap the pepperoni around the cheese and eat. No artificial colors, sugars, etc; just good old fashioned meat and cheese. If you are feeling on top of it, pre-wrap the meat around the cheese and hold it together with a toothpick. I swear this helps curb your appetite twice as fast as well. It’s more hearty that the other snacks and has always been a go to for me!

What are you favorite healthy snacks? Or just your favorite snacks in general! Let me know in the comments below!

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread – Magnolia Table

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I was craving this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread ever since I saw it in the Magnolia Table cookbook! Seriously give me any bread with lemon in it and I am good to go! This recipe was so simple and easy to make. The hardest part was getting the lemon zest since I STILL haven’t bought a grater. Why it is taking me so long to go buy one is beyond me. The bread was a bit dry for my taste and I’m thinking either I should have made more lemon drizzle or I should have added more lemon juice to the inside. Regardless, it’s an amazing loaf and totally worth your time! This paired great with coffee or an after dinner snack, I also think it would be a great bread to share with friends coming over!

Overall Review: 4.5/5

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

Ingredients
  

Bread

  • Vegetable Oil Spray
  • 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbps Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Lemon Drizzle

  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I'd also spray or butter your bread pan here just so you don't forget later.
  • In a medium bowl mix the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I'd whisk this together to make sure its combined well.
  • In a seperate larger bowl mix the sugar, milk, vegetable oil (I subsititued for olive oil), eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the larger bowl with the liquid and mix. Mix well but don't mix too well. Somewhere in the middle is what you are looking for.
  • Pour into your bread pan and sit in the oven for 1 hour. 1 hour was perfect for me, came out nice and done in the center.
  • While the bread is cooking, take your powdered sugar and dump into a medium bowl. Then add a good helping of the lemon zest. Add the recommended lemon juice to the mixture, if its not to the consistency you'd like add more. I like the drizzle pretty runny so that it covers more ground.
  • Once the bread is out of the oven, drizzle the lemon mixture on the top, cut and serve. For some reason my bread didn't rise as well in the center so a lot of the lemon mixture ran down there. But it still was good!

Inadequate but Ready to be Used by God

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Find my looks on: https://www.liketoknow.it/cultivateconfidence

Do you ever feel tragically inadequate? I’ve definitely had moments in my life where I feel incredibly inadequate, where everything I do just doesn’t seem to be enough. Where it feels like you just can’t make a difference in this world? I am not a psychiatrist, and I don’t know much, but I do know that these feelings happen to everyone in one way or another. It’s because we want to be the best version of ourselves and when that doesn’t happen we panic. Especially for those of us with anxiety to begin with.

But those who feel inadequate are exactly who God is looking to use. He wants to use your imperfections, he wants to use your shortcomings to show His glory. With everything that is going on in the world, its easy to feel inadequate and stuck in what could you do? What could you, a lowly person, do to help fix the world? How could you make a difference?

I would argue that you CAN and SHOULD be used. God wants to use you to show His glory. And I think that starts in your community and home. Be the change that you want to see in the world. If you want to see less racism in the world, then speak out and let your actions speak louder than those words. If you want to see those in poverty get help and get on their feet; get out and help your community. Help the shelters in your community. Speak up and assist those who are in need, don’t stay silent, let God use you. But do it the way He wants you too.

Make the change with love, joy, peace, patience and endless grace. We are called to be like God, we are called to different than the world. Let me state this again, this isn’t staying silent, its using your platform and influence to make a difference. It’s words accompanied by action. It’s not one or the other. Get out and show the world what Gods kingdom and people are all about.

That means getting out and being DIFFERENT. Be different than the world — be BETTER. Be the person who loves everyone, regardless of skin-tone or background. Be the person who stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Be the one who is humble enough to help those who are in need. Help those who are in need of food, shelter or water. I think the biggest thing we face is not CAN we help, its getting out of our own way and saying we WILL help. We will be different and make a difference, we will be better than we were before.

I do not have all the answers, but Jesus does. Jesus has instructed us how to live, how to live a life that glorifies Him. Whenever you feel anger, frustrations, stress, anxiety and especially inadequacy turn to Him and let Him guide you.

I listed a few verses that I think really apply to these situations. For when we don’t know what to do, turning to scripture is always an option.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

We were all created in the image of God. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s act like it and be better.

Find my looks on: https://www.liketoknow.it/cultivateconfidence

Quarantine Series – Is it possible to be positive in the middle of a crisis?

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I have seen a lot of posts recently about how the gravity of what’s going on has really weighed on everyone’s hearts. Its caused stress, anxiety and depression. As someone who has experienced all these emotions for a good chunk of my life, I can relate and empathize with everyone’s feelings.

It’s incredibly easy to get lost in the noise and the black hole of despair and panic. Many times it happens so gradually that you don’t notice it’s happened until its consuming all your thoughts. And being stuck in your home, while keeping yourself safe, is adding to the stress and anxiety in your life. But take heart and think about all that we have overcome in the past! We have overcome personal, social, regional and national catastrophes as a nation. And through it all we have come out stronger than we were before. Life is always going to throw things your way, it’s always going to have ups and downs. And as stressful and disheartening as those moments are, they teach us lessons. They teach us to be kinder, loving, smarter, and more confident. If we were to not face trials in life, we would not grow and succeed.

Staying positive through tragedy, embracing change and knowing that the future is bright is all you can do. Embrace the change, embrace the good and the bad, embrace the present and look to the future full of hope. Life will be crazy and the anxiety will run high at times. But you can find joy in the midst of anxiety. It is possible to feel all the emotions at once! Let them run — be positive while still being anxious. Be joyful while still feeling the pang of sorrow. It is when we suppress them that they can take over our lives. Be okay with things being stressful, anxious, overwhelming. But also be okay with joy and light being present as well. You can feel all the emotions and its okay to do so!

However you are feeling in the midst of this pandemic, remember that its okay to feel the emotions. It’s okay to be overwhelmed, but don’t be afraid to be positive as well. You aren’t negating the things going on in the world, you are just choosing to be a light in the midst of that darkness!

Staying Confident in a World that Doesn’t Want You to Succeed

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You can’t have that. That is a ridiculous idea. You wasted so much time and money pursuing something that will never work out. The amount of times I have seen disapproving faces from people when I talk about my life goals, or what my huband and I are doing in life is insane. People either don’t understand why, don’t want to, or believe that we are ruining our lives. There aren’t many people out there anymore who are genuinely there to help you and encourage you. To say that you are more than what you have allowed yourself to believe. If I could say anything to you, it would be this, you are more than you believe. You can take a chance and still be successful. You can be so much more than you give yourself credit for.

And this isn’t a generational thing, my parents decided to change careers and pursue their passion. Which is an incredible, wonderful and brave thing to do. But the amount of disapproval, you’ll never accomplish it, and general nasty attitudes was insane. First of all, we live in the United States a place known for making your dreams come true. So why can’t the average every day person pursue their goals? Because we get sucked in my debts and responsibilities and believe we can’t take care of those while also pursuing that which gives us life. And I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I get sucked into the lie that these dreams I have are too big, too far fetched, too unrealistic. But that is a load of hooey. If my husband can become a doctor (side note: he graduates in 3 months!) and accomplish his dreams, whose to say that I can’t accomplish mine.

The only thing standing between you and your goals is YOU. You and your beliefs. Beliefs that you can or cannot do something. It’s okay if you don’t have money, start where you are. Do what you can. Just push for the things that make you the happiest. Life isn’t going to magically hand you your dream career and your dream life. Just like marriage, building a career is hard. And buidling a career on the side of your full time job is even harder. So give yourself grace. Tell yourself its okay to make mistakes and to not be where you want to be. You are only guaranteed one day, so keep pushing to make today the best day. Keep pushing each day to make tomorrow a better day. Just don’t give up. If you know that you don’t want to look back on your life without having made a difference, then get out and make a difference! Get out there and help those in need, encourage those who are desperate for a positive message, and bring light to this world that is getting consumed in darkness.

Pursue your career goals, bring light to the darkest areas in the world, find ways to be positive and happy so that you can bring more light into the world. Most of all, don’t accept that life is what it is. It’s up to you to make it better. Stay focused on the end result and one day you will look back and know that you made a difference in this world. People will always be negative, there will always be those who doubt you and your abilities. Don’t listen to those lies. You were created by a wonderful and powerful God. Believe that He made you for a reason and shine that light He gave you into the world.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Decade Challenge – Have you grown or regressed?

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We are coming up on the end of 2019, which means we are at the end of a decade. When you look back on the last 10 years, what do you see? Do you see growth in your life? Do you see positive changes or a more confident you? Or do you see a regression… more anxiety, more worries, more frustration and less confidence?

This is the best time to sit down and reflect on where you have been these last 10 years. Look back and see what has happened and how you reacted. Just like with the history of our country and world, looking back on your history and growing from it are just as important.

Your Career

Chances are you have either changed jobs or completely changed careers in the last 10 years. It is becoming more and more common for us to change jobs every 3-5 years or to make a significant career change. When you look back over these last 10 years, is your career where you want it to be? Have you taken the risks/chances that you wanted to take? If you haven’t, are you content where you are? Are you happy with the path that you are on? If you are not, what are you doing to change your path? Its easy to just say, one day I will do this or one day I will go for a new career/job. But its an entirely different thing to follow through on that statement. We have one month left in 2019, embrace the change, embrace the unknown, and believe that you can make the next 10 years great.

Your Confidence

When I look back at the last 10 years, the most significant change I see is how much more confident I am. I was not confident at 16 years old. I was unsure of myself, I was constantly degrading myself and I never believed I could do what I wanted. I never had the courage to reach for my dreams and believe I could make them happen. Instead, I bought into the lie that I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t deserve a good and bright future. What a lie this is! When you look back on the past 10 years, evaluate your confidence. Have you started to believe in yourself? Have you stopped berating yourself over things outside your control? Be honest with yourself on how you are doing. If you need to be selfish and make some changes, do it! Make changes to become a better version of yourself and to be more confident in who you are.

Your Relationships

This is a subject that you will never look back on and say that you never did anything wrong. We are all human, and human relationships will have their ups and downs, its part of the deal. Ultimately what matters is letting go of past hurt and frustrations and pushing towards healthy relationships with those around you. If you look back and there is still a lot of past hurt, seek help. Go to a counselor and seek help. There is no shame in saying you need a little assistance, because it could make the next 10 years so much better. However your relationships have evolved over the last 10 years, focus on ways to improve upon them and go into 2020 with confidence!

Your Life

Is your life taking the trajectory you want it to? If it’s not, I highly recommend you take a step back and ask yourself this: Where are you on your spiritual journey? For me, I try to look back and ask if I am following the path my Creator wants me to. Am I leading a Christ filled life? Am I helping others and being the light that this world needs? If I am not, then it is time to take a step back and ask myself why I am not following that path. What has stopped me from being the person I am meant to be? A lot of the time its because I don’t have the courage to stand up for myself and my beliefs. It’s easy to let the world around me dictate my choices and actions instead of focusing on what is good and noble. Whatever it is stopping you from living the life you were meant to, evaluate how you can change that and start living your best life. Be a light in this dark world. Bring kindness where there is hatred and evil. Above all else, have courage and be kind in every situation.

Tell me what you are reflecting upon. Tell me what your plans are for the next decade. I’d love to learn a little more about you! Comment below!