Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our New Baby Brother!! :)


     Our new baby brother is here!!!! :)
     He was born on July 7th at 7:10 pm. He weighed 9 lbs 1 oz (smaller than our little sister Zuzu!) and he's 22 in long. 

     Barret Earl Clinton Sweat is his name. Barret, after William Barret Travis, a lawyer and soldier who died at the alamo (read about him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Barret_Travis). Earl, after our dad (of course), and Clinton after our great grandpa on my moms side.

 Look at his cute little fingers!! :-)

 Little footsies! :-D

 His poor little face isn't as swollen now. :-)

Our first time seeing him at the birthing center (my mom doesn't go to a hospital).


I am so happy that he is here! We thought my mom would never have him, it was such a long wait!
No more waiting now! :-)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Running and 5K Races (Father-Daughter Time!)


     Last year, around May, my dad and I started running in the evenings to train for 5K (3.1 miles) races. We run about 3 laps each time we go to our community park's 1-mile path. Not only is it great exercise, but I get to spend one-on-one time with my dad. Thats rare with a family of (almost) ten.
     Last year my dad ran 7 races and I ran 9 (they aren't as enjoyable by yourself). We ran until late Fall; after that it got to cold. ;(
     Thankfully, Spring is here and we're back at it! We ran our 1st race for this year on May 10th. I won 1st in my age group and dad won 2nd in his (he came very close to 1st). A couple weeks ago, on a Saturday (May 24th), we ran our 2nd race. I think it has been my best! :) A friend of my Aunt Kathy's and I ran together the whole time. We even finished together! We both got 2nd overall female. It was great. :)
     Early in the morning is my favorite time to run. Most of the time it's in the evening though, because that's when my dad gets back from work (he builds houses. I think thats why he's such a great runner).
     Sometimes my Aunt Calley will run races with us, or Tim and Tracy; some friends that dad built a house for.
     Besides regular old 5K's, we have also ran a mud run, color run, and glow run.



This is us at the "Pumpkin Run" in our small town last year. We both won 1st in our group.


My dad and I at a Color Me Rad run in Knoxville last year. There aren't any prizes in these runs. They let the people out in waves every 15 minutes!


Before the Mud Run we did with Aunt Calley, Tracy and Tim.


After the mud run!


The race we did Saturday. My dads number kept flying up!


At our house with our medals. We won 1st again! :)


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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fooled Ya Cheese Sticks {S}


    
     Words can't describe the crispy, tasty, cheesy, goodness of cheese sticks. Especially, when they've just come out of the oven. And the best part about these is, you actually get a serving of vegetables if you eat a few! :) Ok, you got me. Maybe the best part isn't that it has vegetables in it. The best part would probably be getting to eat the cheese sticks!
     Some of my siblings like to eat these with hot sauce. It reminds them of a local pizzeria that we have. They serve the best cheese sticks with a mild dipping sauce. I have to say, I think I like these just as well. They also remind me of Little Caesars! :)
     This is a delicious cheese stick recipe I created. I adapted the base recipe of the Fooled Ya Pizza recipe in the book. I wouldn't recommend doing the recipe in the book, because in my opinion that version was way too eggy. It wasn't crispy at all. Or sturdy. We had to use a fork to eat it. I like to do what I call "tweaking", when a recipe isn't how we want it. I'll try something different or substitute in a lot of things. It worked with this one (sometimes my "tweaking is unsuccessful).
     Not one of my family members doesn't LOVE these cheese sticks. My brother Kaleb said, "I like this better than Trim Healthy Mama." I replied, "This is Trim Healthy Mama!" I didn't tell him what they were made of until after he had eaten five of them. :)
     For all you THM beginners, this recipe requires no specialty ingredients. No almond flour, flax meal, protein powder, or any of that stuff you have trouble pronouncing the name of. You could make a nice pizza crust with this too.
     If you want, make yourself some marinara sauce to go with them! I think I will next time.




Fooled Ya Cheese Sticks {S}
Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 2 (16 oz.) bags frozen cauliflower, lightly steamed
  • Scant, 1 1/4 cups carton egg whites
  • 4 lightly packed cups shredded PS mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic, optional 
  • salt, garlic/onion powder, and Italian seasoning (to taste)
Topping:
  • 1/4 cup ricotta, optional
  • 1 1/2 lightly packed cups shredded PS mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 lightly packed cups shredded monterey jack cheese
  • Italian seasoning, optional
Directions:

     Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
     After lightly steaming cauliflower (just until warmed all the way through), place in colander and press all liquid possible out with a paper plate or paper towels.
     Place cauliflower in food processor or blender and pulse to rice size pieces.
     Lay cauliflower out in a thin layer on paper towels and soak up all the liquid possible with another layer of paper towels on top, OR you can wrap up cauliflower in an old dish towel and squeeze out all the liquid possible. (The main idea is to try to get ALL the liquid POSSIBLE out so that your crust will be crispy and not a soggy-eggy mess.)
     Place your cauli-flour (although it looks, nor feels nothing like flour) in blender. Add egg whites and pulse to combine. Add cheese and seasonings and blend well for a couple minutes, stopping to scrape the sides every so often.
     Plop cauli-crust mixture onto a parchment lined (about 11x15-in) jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Spread mixture out evenly, filling the sheet/pan.
     Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
     Remove from oven. Carefully, grab sides of parchment paper and flip the crust over (move the crust back on the pan with 2 spatulas if you miss the pan a bit).
     Bake in oven for 20 minutes more.
     Remove from oven and spread optional ricotta layer on top. Sprinkle cheeses and optional Italian seasoning on top.
     Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes more or until desired brownness/bubbly goodness is achieved.



Lightly steamed cauliflower


Pressing out the water with a paper plate.

Pressed cauliflower

Rice size cauliflower pieces

Spreading the cauliflower on paper towels.

After the cauliflower was pressed with another layer of paper towels.



Cauli-flour in blender



I had to push all the cheese in with a rubber spatula.

Blended cauli-crust mixture

After I spreaded it out on the rimmed cookie sheet.




My crust missed the pan some after I flipped it, so I took 2 spatulas and carefully (so that my crust didn't rip) pulled it back on the pan.


While the crust was baking for 20 minutes more, I shredded the cheese.

The crispy crust is now ready to be topped.

Ricotta layer

Mozzarella, monterey jack, and parmesan

After the cheese sticks baked for 10 minutes. Yummy!!

I think that these are delicious with hot sauce and crushed red pepper. I bet they would be really good with a homemade marinara sauce too!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Testimony and Bible Time


     I feel the need to tell you guys about the best thing that ever happened to me. That's right, it's better than when I started Trim Healthy Mama. It's better than when I first discovered how to ride a bike. It's better than the time I bought my own hamster. It's better than when I got to go to Disney World.
     It was the time I accepted Jesus into my heart to be my Lord and Savior; when I accepted his precious gift of salvation and placed all my trust in him. (John 3:16-17, Luke 13:3)
     I have always grown up in church. When I was little I knew you had to be saved to go to heaven. I knew you couldn't go to heaven by good works or because a lot of your family members were saved. (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5) I just didn't understand it yet and the Holy Spirit hadn't drawn me. I remember being around 6 years old asking my big sis (Savannah), "When am I gonna get saved?" She would reply something like, "You will. Just wait."
     That day came. Of course I wasn't expecting it, at the time. Because I had heard that same story so many times. The story about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins. Ms. Lisa, our children's church teacher (at that time) would tell that story at the end of every children's lesson she taught. She would put piece after piece of felt on the board, placing the picture in our mind.
     It was October 27, 2007 on a Saturday night. We were at church having Children's Day. On Children's Day we would have games for all the kids and a cookout for the whole family. Afterward, Ms. Lisa or one of the Sunday School teachers would teach a lesson.
     That night, as a 7 year old girl I felt it for the first time. I felt the Holy Spirit yanking (not tugging!) on my heart, saying, "GO!" Thankfully I obeyed. The Holy Spirit sure is good at his job. I couldn't sit there any longer. I looked at my mom, who was sitting beside me, and asked, "Can I go to the altar?" "Yeah!" she said.
     I walked quickly down the aisle and to the left altar (I was sitting on the left side). I knelt down and asked Jesus to save me forever, on that altar. I remember I cried and cried. Ms Lisa came and read scripture to me, and showed me what the Bible said about salvation. I can't remember the exact verse, but I think it was in Romans. She asked me, "Did He save ya?" I remember nodding my head with joy.
     I believe Jesus took me in the moment I obeyed that still small voice and ran to him. No, people don't get saved by going to the altar to pray. Some people go, just to go. Whether it be for a friend or because they want people to look at them. People get saved when they realize they are a sinner, the Holy Spirit starts drawing them, and they OBEY the voice of the Lord. They ACCEPT Him. They no longer wait. They've made the decision in their heart already when they say to God "OK, I'll go to you. Save me."
     You know if you've been saved. I have never been the same since. Don't get me wrong, I still sin every day, and I have awful problems with pride (It hurts to admit it). But, when I do fail God or sin against him, I feel terrible afterwards. The Holy Spirit tugs and tugs, telling me, "You shouldn't have done that. Make it right."
     Please pray for me. That I would get rid of my pride. That I wouldn't think I am at the same level as my elders. I know God's going to help me. I just have to continue to read His Word every day, pray to Him, and grow in grace. As Paul said, "I die daily." (1 Cor. 15:31).
     So, have you been saved? Have you been born again? Do you know that you will go to heaven when you die? The Bible (God's holy word) says Jesus is the only way. You won't get to heaven any other way, but through Him (John 14:6). You may ask me, "How do you get saved?" Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." And Luke 13:3 and 5 says, "...but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." So, all you have to do is repent, believe and confess. Pretty simple, isn't it? You see, Jesus already did the complicated part when he died on the cross.
     After I got saved I followed the Lord in believers baptism. I love to hear my dad read the story about Philip and the eunuch before baptizing someone. My dad said one time, the moment the eunuch said I believe that Jesus is the son of God, he was saved. Then the eunuch showed the world how he had changed by being baptized. Some people don't have the chance to be baptized after they get saved because of disabilities or death right after, so I thank God that he gave me the opportunity to show the world what Jesus had done for me.



     I know you are probably thinking, "After a post that long, it must have been the best thing that ever happened to her!" Well, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. If you get saved it will be the best thing that ever happened to you. :)



     Just last week I finished reading the whole Bible. Yeah! Now I get to start all over! :)
     There's always something else God will show you through a verse or a story. Fellow believers, don't stop reading His word!



     Here is a picture of my VERY worn out Bible reading plan. I never go by the day schedule. I just read what's on the paper.


Here is a picture of the Bible I use and the new plan I'm working on. I love it!



Every once in a while, I'll read from a devotion/study book. I like what I've read from this one.

I always drink a cup of coffee while reading my Bible. :)

When do I read my Bible? I have long days, so I usually wake up at 5 am, read my Bible, and go on with the rest of my day.


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Blueberries 'N' Cream" Oatmeal (and Learn How To Soak Oats!) {E}


     This is a new favorite breakfast of Savannah and I. It is very hearty, filling, and it taste great too!
     I would say it is very super-foodish (if you use steel cut oats) because I soak the oats properly to remove all the phytates and lower the carb count (of course carbs are welcome in this meal, since its E) ;) and oats are very good for you. They are full of fiber and they also help with blood pressure control. Here is the article I found that talks about the benefits of oats: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-steel-cut-oats-2053.html
     You may ask, how do you properly soak oats to remove all the phytates? And what are phytates? Phytates or phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorus in a lot of different plant tissues. The bad thing about this is phytates bind with certain important minerals, causing those minerals to slowly and not fully be absorbed.
     To soak oats properly, so that all the phytates are removed, you need some phytase added to the soak, an acid medium (I use apple cider vinegar), and water. You need phytase because it is the enzyme that breaks down phytates and oats are very low in phytase.
     Of course blueberries have healthy benefits too! They are full of antioxidants, they help preserve vision,  they help with brain health, and they are also high in fiber. Another plus about them is, they are super yummy!! :)
     You could use any fruit in this recipe. I think it would be delicious to try strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, or maybe even mango!
     I would like to thank user and administrator cashen10 on the Trim Healthy Mama Forum for posting my recipe on the forum and sharing it with others. I'm so glad you tried it, and loved it! :) Here is the comment cashen10 made on the forum when I shared this recipe:

Sophia, I wanted to let you know I made the "Blueberries 'N Cream" oatmeal a few times now & my family loves it. Even my super picky, doesn't eat oatmeal hubby really liked it. The only change I made was that I used steel cut oats. I'm going to copy the recipe and put it under the E recipes so others can see it too :)

Read more: http://trimhealthymama.freeforums.net/thread/2730/soaking-oats#ixzz314KH3PgE

   
     Oatmeal, I think, specifically "Blueberries 'N' Cream" Oatmeal, is one of my new favorite breakfasts. I think if you try this you will put it on your favorites list too. What breakfast foods do you already have on your favorites list?


These are steel cut oats. ;) My new fave way to enjoy these oats is with stevia sweetened nonfat greek yogurt (extra creamy goodness!) and lemon zest (I always save the lemon zest when I make singing canary).



Old fashioned oats. This is a batch I made before I discovered it was best to add more liquid while cooking, to make it a thinner consistency.


"Blueberries 'N' Cream" Oatmeal {E}
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Cups old fashioned oats OR steel cut oats
  • 2 1/2 Cups Water 
  • 4-5 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons spelt, rye, OR whole wheat flour
  • (about, I eye-balled it!) 1/2-1 Cup unsweetened almond milk OR water
  • 1 1/4 Cups (be generous, if you like!) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/4 Scoops Swanson vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
  • Generous, 1/4 teaspoon stevia extract powder (go THM brand!)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:

     Combine oats, water, apple cider vinegar, and spelt or rye flour in a medium sized bowl (with lid). Seal lid on top and let your oats soak at room temp (I just set mine on the counter) for at least 24 hrs. This process is to remove the phytates from the oats and decrease the carb count a little.
     After your oats are done soaking and you're ready to make them, dump them into a medium sized pot and add almond milk/water (use only about a 1/4-1/2 cup if using old fashioned oats, use about a full cup if using steel cut). If you are using old fashioned oats, cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. If you are using steel cut oats, cook for about 15 minutes (give or take). Stir oats, while cooking.
     After your oats are done cooking add the blueberries, protein powder, sea salt, stevia powder, and vanilla extract. Stir and combine well. Serve in pretty bowels with optional stevia sweetened greek yogurt and lemon zest (or you could add an extra splash of almond milk).

Enjoy! :)


 

Picture Time!!!



Getting the oats measured out to soak.




After the oats soaked for 24 hrs.


I dumped them into the pot, but didn't add the almond milk, because this was before I realized it was best to add extra liquid to make it thinner.

After they were cooked. As you can see they are a little thick. That is why I say it is best to add some almond milk or water.


Adding in the yummifier ingredients... ;)


After combining, you get a lovely purple color.




My lovely steel cut oats after stirring the Greek yogurt over the top. I added extra blueberries and heated them up some to get the darker color.


As you can see they are quite delicious. :)


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Monday, April 28, 2014

Crunchy Cheese Chips {S}


     These are so good!! And my little brothers and sisters love them! They are easy and simple to make too! Cheese (and optional seasonings). Yep. That's it! Nothing but cheese. The best part? My picky big sister says they remind her of Doritos when I make them with Colby cheese and Cajun seasoning! :)
     I must say, they are quite addictive. Sort of like peanuts. I mean, they are addictive like peanuts. They sure don't taste like them though.
     A convenient thing about them is you can use almost any type of cheese you have on hand (except mozzarella). Also, they only take about 45 minutes to prepare and cook. The only "specialty" item you need to make them is parchment paper. Yes, it has to be parchment paper. Wax paper won't work, I've already tried it. ;)
     This recipe can also be used to make tostadas. Just form the cheese into a large circle shape and follow the other directions just the same. It is actually really delicious! My family and I had Mexican tostadas one night for supper and we all loved it!
     They do have a Crunchy Cheese Crackers recipe in the THM book, but I don't really care for the way the microwaved ones turn out. So, I came up with my own oven baking times and shredded my cheese (a lot easier that way and you get more chips out of one batch).
     Do take note that depending on the way your oven heats up, how thick you spread your cheese, and what type of cheese you use, you may have to adjust your baking times. ;)



   



     Crunchy Cheese Chips {S}
Ingredients:
  • 3 Cups Shredded Cheese (We like sharp cheddar and Colby best)
  • Optional seasonings of your choice (Cajun or paprika is good!)
Directions:

     Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
     Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
     Sprinkle cheese, evenly, in a thin layer on parchment paper. Sprinkle optional seasonings on top. 
     Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. 
     Remove from oven and gently pour as much oil as you can off (into the sink or a cup). Take paper towels and press onto cheese to soak up excess oil. The cheese shouldn't stick because of how long it has been in the oven. 
     Gently flip (like a pizza crust) the flexible/gooey cheese over so it can crisp on the other side. 
     Bake for 7-10 minutes more, keeping an eye on it the last few minutes so that it doesn't get too brown. We don't want it to taste like burnt cheese! 
     Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 
     Break into chip sized pieces. 

Enjoy! :)


   
   
     More Pictures...


A cup full of delicious cheese.


Plopped it onto the parchment.


Sprinkle and spread it evenly across the parchment.



I used taco seasoning this time.



See all the oil around the edges? This was before I poured it down the sink.



After I poured the oil out I barely touched it with a paper towel to see if it was going to stick. If yours sticks that means it needs to go back in the oven for a few minutes.



Press the paper towel down to soak up the oil.



When I was taking up the paper towel there was one spot that stuck. That's OK. ;)



See where it stuck? It'll melt back together in the oven.



Now its time to flip it.







 After I flipped it. ;) See the edges already crisped a little from the oven?


15 more minutes in the oven, and this is what I got. Be sure to do yours in the oven for less time. As you can see, mine got too done. There were a few burnt spots, but the rest was great!


You should be able to pick it up, like a giant chip.



I was a little bit anxious, and didn't let it cool all the way. It was a little chewy in the middle because of it. After it cooled in the bowl, they were more crunchy like.




My little brothers love Cheese Chips. :) They were the first ones to dig into the bowl!


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