Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pure, Natural Candy

Fruit, fruit, FRUIT! It's sweet, refreshing, juicy, colorful, loaded with antioxidents and vitamins and since it's all natural, your body processes it easily...not at all like other sweet, juicy, yummy, FAKE sugary candies. The fructose in fruit, a simple sugar, when combined with the fiber, mostly found in the skin, is slowly absorbed in your bloodstream and keeps blood sugar stable.

The best part is that right now is the BEST time to stock up on fruit. Try new fruits! Today I tried the fruit on cactus (I forget the name of them). They were ok. Kinda like kiwi texture, but not as sweet.

For those of you in Las Cruces, definitely go to Toucan Market. They have a quick produce section of organic fruits and vegetables that are about to go bad for super cheap. I got 12 organic plumes for 70 cents, 6 pears for $1, the catcus fruits with 2 oranges and a banana for $1, and a bag of spinach for 80 cents. Score!! :)

The best time to hit the Farmers' Market is right now too. Right now isn't just the season for fruit, but all different vegetables! In the past, I've just stuck to lettuce and spinach, but I've tried so many new things since going to the Farmers' Market like Swiss Chard and Kale.

Having a variety of fruits and vegetables is so good for you! As much as possible, try to leave the peel on. Most of the time the peels are taken off, but the majority of the vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients are in the peel. It would take me way too long to list all the nutrients and health benefits of each fruit, but a few of my favorites are:

Apples: (My number 1 favorite fruit)

Full of fiber- which helps you stay fuller longer
Banishes belly bloating
Lowers cholesterol
The skin contains phenols which provide your body with UV-B protection
They also say that 3 apples a day helps with weight loss. I'm not sure if it's true or not, but getting to have 3 apples a day sounds like a tasty way to lose weight!

High in vitamins C & A
Also high in a couple B vitamins (mostly B6) which help give you energy
Refreshing for a hot day since it is 92% water
Antioxidants in this sweet fruit help with eye strength and health


You can throw this in anything- eggs (quiches, omelets, scrambled eggs, etc), on sandwiches, tacos, salads, steamed or stir fried and tossed with chopped walnuts for a side dish.
High in vitamin C, A, B2, B6 magnesium, calcium, folate, iron, zinc and vitamin K (which is a hard vitamin to get!)
One of the best vegetables to protect your body from free radical. It protects your body from cancer substances.
Good for your heart, brain, and eyes

Broccoli: (another staple in my diet)

Again, high in vitamin C
Rich in fiber, folic acid & potassium
Helps improve your immune system
Contains an antioxidant called glucoraphanin which helps with skin damage and repairs your skin
A cup of broccoli contains the same amount of protein as a cup of rice or corn, but less than half the calories!

Right now everything is so fresh and colorful and CHEAP since it's all in season. Go stock up your fridge with all these yummy, whole foods.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Psalm 55:22

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
I was reminded this past week of the power of prayer. I have to admit, my prayer life is not the greatest. I know God tells us, commands us, and wants us to pray to Him and that He listens to my prayers, but sometimes I don't pray for certain things because I feel like God already has the result planned out regardless if I pray or not. (I know that is not the right way to think and am constantly praying about it!) Other times, it's not that I think God can't answer my prayer. I know and believe that nothing is too hard for God. But at times I think a certain request isn't important enough for God to change/answer. Early this past week as Zach and I were praying before he left for work, Zach prayed for a certain request and I confess that I sinfully thought, "hmmm, that won't happen". But that weekend, God answered our prayer!!!... Despite my sinful, doubting heart. I was reminded how important, how powerful prayer is. That God does listen to every request (and all other aspects of prayer). When I really stop and think about it, I am in awe that the God of the Universe cares to listen to my prayers. I'm doing a "reading through the Bible in a year" plan and am reading about Solomon right now. I sometimes think it would be so much easier if God spoke to me through dreams and prophets like He did in the Old Testament times. Sometimes He seems so far away in today's times. But the reminder this past week, of answering just a small prayer- but that truly was a miracle- brings to my heart how close God really is and how He is in every part of my life. I am so thankful to be one of His and saved by Jesus' blood!

Also this past week, I taught 21 first graders at VBS. I had a blast! This was my first time EVER doing VBS. I had two awesome helpers, Rachel Tessier & Sarah Climp, that helped me so much with decorations, splitting the kids up, and keeping them in line. The hardest part was probably just getting them to all stop talking over each other. LOL. That age group is my favorite though and I met a lot of kids that don't go to our church so I had never met before. It was fun hearing them call me "Teacher" or "Mrs. Felix". :)

Zach came and helped out for two of the days he was off work and the kids just loved him. :)

Rachel with her group.

I can't wait to do VBS again next year!

(This picture was taken by our awesome photographer, Sarah Barrett)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ice Cream...You Will Scream!!!

I was staying with my grandma in December and saw this article in one of her nutrition books. I made a copy of it, and it is one our refrigerator now. Did you know what was in your ice cream?!?!

"Ice cream manufacturers are not required by law to list the additives used in the manufacture of their product. There is hardly any ice cream flavor that does not have a chemical substitute. Some artificial flavors are poisons, powerful enough to cause liver, kidney, and heart damage.

-Peperonal is used in place of vanilla flavoring. This is a chemical used to kill lice.
-Vanillin is also used to produce a vanilla flavor. It is a chemical made from the wastes of wood pulp, and it has no relationship to the vanilla bean.
-Benzyl acetate is a synthetic chemical that imparts a strawberry flavor. According to the Merck Index (an encyclopedia used by chemists), this substance can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It is also a nitrate solvent.
-Ethyl acetate is used by many manufacturers to give their product a pineapple flavor. This is a substance that can cause liver, kidney, and heart damage. It is used as a cleaner for leather and textiles, and its vapors have been known to cause chronic lung, liver, and heart damage.
-Amylbutyrate replaces genuine banana flavoring. Amylbutyrate is an oil paint solvent.
-Aldehyde c 17 is an inflammable liquid used in aniline dyes, plastic, and rubber. It is also the flavoring in cherry ice cream.
-Butraldehyde is used in nut-flavored ice cream. Butraldehyde is an ingredient in rubber cement.
-Diethyl glycol is used in antifreeze and in paint removers. In ice cream, it replaces eggs. According to the Merck Index, it is sufficiently toxic to cause liver and kidney damage.
-Chemical additives such as propylene glycol (the antifreeze constitutent), glycerin, sodium, carboxy methylcellulose (a cellulose), monoglycerides, diglycerides, disodium phosphates, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, polysorbate 80, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate are all permitted by law."

GROSS!! Not to mention all the sugar, high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup!
I am a huge ice cream fan. I've been having fun trying out recipes to make our own, healthier ice cream choice. It still has sugar and it still has fat, but they are made from real ingredients that you can actually pronounce and NO white, refined sugar. I posted a dairy free, chocolate frozen yogurt recipe earlier and I'll post two more today.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

4 cups milk (the recipe called for 4 cups raw milk which is thicker and creamier than the milk you buy at the grocery store. So I used 2 cups milk and 2 cups whipping cream)
1 cup peanut butter (we only had chunky peanut butter, but I think creamy would be better)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sweetener (I used coconut palm sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix everything together and pour into ice cream machine!

Strawberry Ice Cream
4 cups milk (see note above)
2-3 cups mashed strawberries
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (also note that it will lose some of it's sweetness when frozen. I did 1/4 cup maple syrup plus 3 Tbsp honey)
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in your ice cream maker. Yummm!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pressed for Time?

I haven't had time lately to do very long workouts before heading out the door to go somewhere else. And with VBS coming up this next week (I'm teaching the 1st graders!!), I'll be even more busy. I mentioned early the HIIT runs for cardio, but for strength, I've been doing short 10-15 minutes body weight training, but upping the intensity.

The one I did last night was the 100 pushup challenge (all regular pushups, no "girl" pushups if you can) combined with a 300 rep squat challenge (go all the way down until you are practically sitting on the ground). I did the pushups in 7 minutes and 14 seconds and the squats in 14 minutes and 10 seconds. A great workout that works almost every muscle! Now you do it and beat my time! :)

My personal favorite is just 10 minutes long and it's burpees...with a couple modifications. Standing up, squat down to place your hands on the ground by your feet. Jump your feet back so now you are in a plank. Do a pushup and jump your feet back into your hands. Stand up to a squat and staying in the squat position, jump forward, jump back, stand straight up and jump your knees to your chest. That's one rep. Set your timer for 10 minutes and do as many as you can. I did 50 the first day and 60 the next day.

I've also been doing Tabata workouts and love them! They are 4 minute workouts with 20 seconds of pushing yourself as hard as you can go and 10 seconds of rest. There are so many you can do. I'll list a couple here, but if you want more ideas, just google or YouTube "tabata workouts".

20 sec Squats (as fast as you possibly can)
10 sec rest
20 sec Burpees (as explained above)
10 sec rest
20 sec Mountain Climbers (here's a good picture I found showing how to do it

10 sec rest
20 sec High Knees (one leg at a time; knee up past your hips)
10 sec rest
20 sec Squats
10 sec rest
20 sec Burpees
10 sec rest
20 sec Mountain Climbers
10 sec rest
20 sec High Knees

Workout #2
Burpees (20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest)
Jumping Jacks (20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest)
Plyo Jumps (squat down and touch the floor and jump up, hand above your head and feet off the ground as high as you can) (20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest)
Plank Jacks (just what it sounds like. Drop down into plank position and your hands stay in one spot while you jump your feet out and in). (20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest)
Repeat once more time for a 4 minute workout.

All these workouts are intense and you'll feel great after doing them. The best part is that they don't take very long! It's perfect for the days you don't have time to workout very long. The past couple weeks, my only workouts have been HIIT runs and/or tabata.

I also want to post a recipe for cupcakes I made last night. The best part is, they are gluten free and dairy free. (I think I may have an intolerance to either dairy or gluten but am not sure which one it is. Currently I am eliminating both and then will slowly add each one back in and see which one doesn't agree with me).

Coconut Cupcakes- makes 9

    1/2 cup coconut flour  
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
    3 eggs, gently beaten with a fork 1/3 cup of honey 
    1/3 cup of coconut oil  
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used frozen that were slightly thawed)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a medium size bowl, place the coconut flour, sea salt, and baking powder.
Melt honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan, just until melted. Let it cool completely so the eggs won’t curdle. Combine wet ingredients (eggs, honey, and vanilla), and mix thoroughly into dry ingredients.
Fold in fresh or frozen berries. In papered or lightly greased muffin tins, put about 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin tin. Bake for 375 degrees until the muffins are lightly browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the middle of the muffin, 20-28 minutes. (Our oven cooks things super fast so it only took 15 minutes for me. Just keep an eye on it!)
Cool and enjoy! 

The blog I found this recipe (, also included this frosting recipe. I don't have a double broiler yet, so I didn't do the frosting part. It still tasted great...kinda more like a muffin though. But if you want it to be more like a cupcake, follow the recipe below.

Frosting- makes 3 cups
3 egg whites
2/3 cup of honey 

pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the unbeaten egg whites, honey, and salt into the top of a double boiler over hot water. Beat with an electric beater on medium to high speed, while you bring the water to a boil. Continue to beat for 7 minutes, or until the mixture forms soft mounds. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla slowly and continue beating until frosting is stiff enough to hold it’s shape.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Bread

I have been trying to make bread in the oven for awhile now, but it never turns out right. On Monday I got a $7.50 bread machine (I love a bargain!) at the thrift store. I just made my first loaf of bread and am so excited to find out that the bread machine works perfectly! The bread tastes amazing!!! I am so excited to try all different recipes and now I will make all our bread. Here is the recipe I used for this time:

Whole Wheat Bread
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons powdered milk
2 tablespoons butter (use whole/real butter!)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

In a saucepan, add the water and milk until warm. Pour in mixing bowl and add all ingredients in the order listed. Mix together and put into bread machine. Press start and 4 hours later, you have yummy, healthy homemade bread!