Monday, April 07, 2014

Savor. 651-700

651. Nickel Creek's "Doubting Thomas" & remembering all the stories & youth connected to it
652. Finding a 7-11 in Kanab, UT - which means a yummy Slushie.
653. Buying way too many bags of Trolli egg gummies.
654. Realizing that our hotel in Kanab is right next to the Escalante Staircase Visitor Center
655. Driving down a road just far enough to see if we could catch the sunset
656. Seeing at least 20 deer cross the road and chase their friends
657. Belgium waffles at hotel breakfasts.
658. Walking next door to the visitor center to register for the Wave
659. The fact that they only let 20 people hike the wave every day - to keep that land protected
660. Being the number four in the lottery for The Wave
661. Speaking German with a French/German couple
662. Not winning a permit for the Wave on Saturday
663. Driving three hours north east to the Hole in the Rock dirt road. 
664. Only getting to mile 16 out of the 26 miles on the dirt road.
665. Exploring the 25 mile Wash.
666. Stepping into mud or quicksand and being able to laugh about it and get my boots out
667. Climbing a cottonwood tree
668. Getting off the Hole in the Rock road before it rained on us. Didnt' want to get stuck in the mud.
669. The beautiful scenery that changes before your eyes
670. A second morning eating Belgium waffles - I really like them! So yummy!
671. Watching a couple from Japan celebrate because they got a permit for the Wave 
672. Driving over to Arizona for the day.
673. Finding a Sonic & drinking a Route 44 Cherry Limeaid
674. Sitting at the edge of Horseshoe Bend, AZ
675. New adventures
676. Experiencing Red Mountain Resort with Michelle
677. Yummy and healthy food
678. Access to a variety of hot tea all day long
679. Early morning hikes in the Red Rocks
680.  Trying new workouts back to back
681. Riding bikes to have coffee in a neighboring village
682. Laughing. A lot.
683. Trying to open wine without a wine opener
684. Sabbath by lying in a hammock for the afternoon
685. Walking the labyrinth by myself surrounded by red mountains
686. Meeting Deedre and Kim on one of the morning hikes
687. Running into Abby while getting my haircut with Merrill! I love small reunions!
688. Experiencing The Summit Youth Ministry conference for the second time.
689. Catching up,with Anne at dinner in Atlanta
690. Lunch with my YMCP guys
691. Meeting & listening to the guy behind the Kid President share how God is using them
692. Listening to speakers and feeling so thankful that I do what do & how we do it
693. Sonny's barbecue
694. A slice of pizza from the best pizza place ever in Atlanta
695. Love when friends come into town
696. Wine tasting with Candis at Arrington Vineyards
697. Talking about guys with Candis and her friends
698. Yard Sales. Don't like them but thankful for the people who give and the people who buy so my youth can raise money
699. Laughter with my youth after an entire today together at the yard sale
700. Face timing with my dad and Grace

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." - W.T. Purkiser

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Sweet Potato Pancakes...dang.

I keep playing with recipes.  I'm still loving all the ideas I get from people on Instagram.  It's amazing how Instagram has become a place of fitness/cleaner eating encouragement.  If you are interested in seeing some - search #clean or #protein on Instagram.

The past few weeks I've been adding baked sweet potato to a lot of recipes recently.  I slice the sweet potato into rounds and then bake them till they are soft.  Then I add a few slices to my recipes.

Baked sweet potato slices!

My favorite way has been in my oat protein pancakes! (original recipe here)

I feel like I am cheating when I am eating!  So decadent and so flippin moist!  Seriously people - you should try them.

I added zucchini this morning too.

Want to try them?

Here's my Sweet Potato Zucchini Protein Oat Pancake recipe for one:

I mix all of this in my mini ninja that my amazing mom gave me for Christmas.

1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
1/2 scoop Vega Sport Vanilla
3 slices baked sweet potato
1 egg
1 tbsp ff yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon or more to taste
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp of water

I also added 1/3 cup zucchini this morning.

Let sit for a few minutes.  Heat up pan and add 1/4 tsp coconut oil for each pancake you make.
Then eat!
My amazing mini Ninja

I topped mine with natural peanut butter today but that changes depending on my mood.
Breakfast this morning. So good!

Pancakes. I love pancakes. (Waffles too but I don't have a waffle maker right now)

One of my favorite recipes from Niki G's Meal Plan is the oat pancake.  I started making something similar a couple years ago but I forgot about them.

Here's Niki's recipe:

Oat Pancakes 
1 egg, 3 whites mixed with
½ cup dry oatmeal (I use the old fashioned oats because they are less processed then the 1-minute version)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 packet stevia
Cook on medium heat in skillet
Top w/Barlean's - Strawberry Banana Omega Swirl Flax Oil, 1 Tbsp

Part of Niki's plan is that you eat the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner  for an entire week.

My prep a couple weeks ago!

One week would look like:
Breakfast - Oat pancakes with fruit
Lunch - Turkey Chili
Dinner - Cashew Butter Chicken

I prep ALL (or as much of it that I can) on Sunday/Wednesdays so that I have NO excuses for what I choose to eat.

I started following her plan back in January and now I'm experimenting with all of the meal ideas.  I've added new things and tried different fruits or veggies or seasonings depending on what I like or have been craving.

I have played a lot with the Oat Pancake and have a basic recipe that I've changed a bit from Niki's.

Em's Oat Pancakes
1/2 cup oats - ground up into flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tbsp ff plain yogurt (sometimes this is greek - depending on what else I'm making that week)
1/4 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp water if it's not runny enough

I let this sit for a couple minutes and then cook in a griddle with 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  YUM!

Optional add ins:
1/2 banana
1/2 scoop protein powder - I use Vega Sport Protein (Previous post about why Vega here)

Oat pancake with Natural peanut butter.

Marathon Training and Clean Eating

I'm in the middle of training for the Country Music Half Marathon on April 26th. I ran 10 miles yesterday and then ate baked sweet potato fries and greek yogurt tzatziki.   I am trying to be prepare for how I will train AND what I'm going to eat while training for my 8th full marathon this fall.

I've run the Akron Marathon for the past 5 years to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of my younger sister. I really am not a marathon runner but I feel that as long as I can run a marathon - I'd like to so I can continue to raise awareness and money for MS.   This year she won't be in town the weekend of the Akron Marathon - so I have been trying to figure out where else to run my fall marathon.  I haven't picked one yet.

BUT I am already thinking about the training and the nutrition.  One of the reasons I don't think I'm a marathon runner even though I've run 7 marathons already - is that I get sick after I run.  ***TMI warning!*** I've had runners trots, needed to throw up while running and my body feels achy for hours after I run.  I had a colonoscopy in 2010 to see if there was something wrong with me but I have a healthy colon.  So each year I work on what I eat while I'm training and then specifically what to eat the week of the marathon.  Last year I made it through the entire marathon without feeling badly and then I one light beer.  And almost immediately felt horrible.  I made my own protein bites to eat instead of nutrition filled with artificial ingredients.  I only drink water and take Hammer Endurolytes.  Those three things seemed to work pretty well for me last year.  Until the beer...

I'm also working on cleaning up all of my eating.  I've been following a cleaner eating plan since the beginning of January with Niki G's Fitness - my boot camp community that I joined when I moved to Nashville. But I know that once I start into my full marathon training - I will have to add foods to my current eating plan.  I crave protein when I am in full marathon training mode - last year I ate a lot of hard boiled eggs and salads with avocado.  Yummy!

All of this to say - I haven't found a lot of info online for marathon runners and clean eating. That doesn't mean it isn't out there - send me links if you'd like!  But because I'm not finding a lot of it - I am going to document some of what I am going to be eating over the next year.

I have found a lot of information on Instagram about cleaner eating by people who are training for bikini competitions or are into Crossfit type fitness. I am so thankful for that info!  But I want to use as much whole foods as possible and if I use any kind of protein powders then I want to know exactly what is in them.  I don't want to gain weight while training this year.  I want to fuel my body efficiently and still enjoy what I'm eating!

Healthy.  Strong.  Cleaner. Here goes...

I passed my dad last year at the Akron Marathon. Akron, 2013

3 oz Flank steak, sautéed zucchini, yellow squash, mushroom & sweet onion on a fresh salad! 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Stevia Marshmallows - total FAIL

I'm going camping this weekend with my boyfriend.  We are heading to campsite near Oneida, TN that I went to for a week with my Pensacola Youth when we served with Confrontation Point back in 2006!  He picked Bandy Creek Campgrounds because it's supposed to have very little light pollution - for night time photography!

I'm excited to go hiking and find waterfalls AND make yummy smore's!!!

I decided to try to make homemade sugar free marshmallow's this morning with stevia. I'd like to keep eating less sugar but still enjoy things that I love to eat.  Last year mom and I made Orange and coconut marshmallows around Easter.  They were really yummy... so I thought it wouldn't be too hard to figure out how to do the same thing but with stevia.

I borrowed a stand mixer & kosher gelatin from my friend, Michelle yesterday.

Then I found a couple different websites that had recipes for sugar-free marshmallows. I decided to try this recipe on Purely Twins website.  It doesn't sound too hard!  I don't have liquid stevia at the moment - so I looked up the conversion of liquid stevia to powdered and added the powdered to the water that I boiled on the stove.

I have no idea if it was the powdered stevia or if I didn't let the water come to a full boil. But when I started mixing the water/stevia solution with the water/gelatin solution - it just got frothy like this:

And that never changed.

I mixed it for 10 minutes.  For another 2 minutes.

And then another 2 minutes.

Then poured the mixture into my prepared pan. And watched all of the bubbles pop and slowly settle into a slightly caramel color water.  Water that has gelatin and stevia and vanilla in it.

I'll probably have jello later.

It's too bad - my boyfriend can't eat marshmallows because they may have msg in them and msg gives him HUGE headaches.  So I was hoping to succeed at the sugar-free version for me and then find a way to make sugar marshmallows without gelatin for him.

But I think I'm going to let it go for now and just enjoy jet-puffed marshmallows out of a bag this weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Protein Powders - Cleaner?

I have spent a lot of time reading through different protein powders to find one that is cleaner.

I haven't bought it yet because I still have a few samples to try but I think I am going to use Vega Sport Protein as my protein powder.  I like to add a little protein powder to smoothies or pancakes or bars every once in a while and I really wanted one that is less processed and has very little additives.  Or none.  This one is plant based - and it seems to have ingredients that make sense to me. And it's sweetened with Stevia!

I have also used Whey Protein from Jay Robb.  It's sweetened with stevia and I feel like I recognize the ingredients.  But I'm trying not to take in Whey Protein for now.

I realize that there are probably others out there that are cleaner - and I'd love input from people who have tried some!

This journey into cleaner eating has meant that I read a lot of ingredients.  I still don't know a lot of what I need to pay attention to - I'm learning as I go.  But I definitely feel like I have a much better idea of what I am putting into my body these days.
Protein powder pancakes with strawberry yogurt syrup, March 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Savor. 601-650

601. Running my last 8 mile taper run through Black Mountain.
602. Naps on the deck at the Knob.
603. Second chances
604. Hard questions
605. The warmth of arms wrapped around me.
606. Friends who teach with me.
607. The same two friends who meet me at Los Compadres for chips and drinks.
608. Sharing in life stories.
609. Julia, mom and Grace picked me up from the airport the weekend of the Akron Marathon!
610. Grace's smile.
611. Raising over my goal for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in honor of my sis.
612. All of the messages that we received in support of the marathon and my sister.
613. The grace that my parents offer so that I can struggle less.
614. Rolling a ball with Grace.
615. Excitement of walking through the Akron Marathon Expo with Julia and dad.
616. Getting to know Julia's community better.
617. Digging through old pictures to find some of dad for his surprise retirement party.
618. Hugging dad and Paul before the marathon.
619. The feeling of freedom & strength while running down the hill before I got on the towpath around mile 12 during the marathon.
620. Knowing I would finish the marathon.
621. Passing Brandon the last two miles and giving him my arm band.
622. How I always sob as I cross the finish line.
623. Running up heartbreak hill. Or walking it. I hate that thing but I get to the top!
624. Finishing strong - and thankful that I got my nutrition & water intake right this year!
625. Dinner with one of my girls, Jamie at Los Compadres. Love getting to know her better!
626. Catching up with my amazing, strong warrior of a friend - Mary Ann.
627. House sitting at the Kuna's for over a week. Such a great place to be still. 
628. My cell phone does not work at the Kuna's.
629. The Brantley's opening up their home for our Fall Break movie night!
630. Getting to know youth families even better.
631. Going to Wilderness Trail for a Fall Hike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
632. Sharing a ministry that I love so much with my new church family.
633. Being invited to the oldest UMW Circle at Lebanon FUMC to share my story.
634. Vacation in Utah! 
635. The wisp of cloud resting on the tallest mountain.
636. Rising up and away from beauty
637. Having a friend who can get away for a week 
638. Michelle being willing to be flexible for three days to see if we could get a permit to hike the Wave.
639. Feeling so small and insignificant next to mountains
640. Crumbling the edge of sandstone with my boots
641. Yellow trees that pop up unexpectedly
642. Driving a long road that has a new view around each corner
643. Chopsticks trying to grab the last of a shared Pho
644. Remembering how yummy Del Taco guacamole salad was
645. Stopping the car for fire roasted pizza on the side of the road. Even though we already ate lunch. 
644. Giggling as we walked back to the pizza with frozen yogurt in our hands
645. Melty mozzarella on a margarita pizza
646. Finally getting my Zion National Park stamp - it was closed last time
647. Finding my stamp that Mary Ann signed for me - verifying that I had been in Oct 2010. 
648. Sharing that moment with her over text
649. The cameras in cell phones now
650. Listening to songs that I hadn't heard in awhile

"I'm so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers." - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Mom & Dad's the night before the Akron Marathon. September 2013

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I love learning new things in youth ministry...

...or actually this time - it's not new but I relearned it.

Here's my latest 30 Hour Famine blog about getting out of the way so that our youth get a chance to lead There are also some quotes from my youth about their experience.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


My latest blog for the 30 Hour Famine...

How do you see yourself? 

Who are you really?