Food + Such

Building a Mason Jar Salad

MASON JAR SALADS!

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This is the best invention EVER for those trying to eat well while keeping up with a busy schedule! Typically, they stay fresh for about a week, just know — angry greens + any types of beans will smell a bit rank after a short few days, but don’t be afraid!

They are still edible + nutrient dense!

 

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The best way to avoid your lettuce + other soft veggies getting soggy is to put the hard/wet things at the bottom, i.e. dressing, broccoli, cabbage, chickpeas, etc, so you end up stacking leaves/peas/peppers/fruit at the top of the jar. 

A 44 oz Mason jar is enough for a full lunch amount, but I typically end up adding extra leaves/greens once I dump it into a bowl because I literally can never get enough!


As far as dressings go, I like to change mine up. I don’t eat any/all oils, but Whole Foods has a few bottled dressings with no oil + they are DELISH!

The sesame ginger + pomegranate balsamic are my two favorites. Often times I’ll just mix in an avocado + drizzle lemon juice with a dash of pepper.

Once you develop your palette further + further, you will discover the amazing + unbelievable layers of flavor in vegetables + fruits! I’m sure I sound like a dork,

BUT I DON’T CARE!

THAT is how awesome plants are.


 

I’ve covered a few ingredients, but below is a full list of things to make sure you are getting a full rainbow of nutrients each day. And, the best part is, you can play around with different styles + flavors! Plants provide endless options!

Get creative!


 

And just look how pretty they can make your fridge look… Ugh. I just love ‘em.

 

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GREENS:

 

  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage (purple/green)
  • Green onion
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Spring mix
  • Peas
  • Lima beans
  • Edamame  
  • Celery
  • Brussel sprouts

 

BEANS:

 

  • Chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • Kidney
  • Black
  • Cannellini
  • Navy
  • Black eyed peas
  • Pinto

 

GRAINS:

 

  • Quinoa (color blend)
  • Barley
  • Farro
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Ground chia

 

VEGGIES/FRUIT/MISC:

 

  • Bell peppers (all colors)
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Apple
  • Red onion
  • Bokchoy

 

NUTS:

 

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pine
  • Pecans
  • Peanuts

 

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The food is amazing, yes, but the best part about it is having friends to enjoy it with you.

Culture + community have more to do with diet than I realized, + WOW! Jill Hawkins was the one to inspire me to make this transition, + has been the one who’s encouraged + (patiently) helped me get to where I am now!  

Find someone in your life who urges you on to greatness in all areas…you never know where you could end up! God has big plans for YOU!

Enjoy the ride, friends! 

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Food + Such

Super Fun Super Foods

Think plant-based eaters can’t enjoy a good party or have fun eating at all? WRONG!! Our options are endless!!!

Hummus + ranch with veggies, Texas caviar + dipping peppers, chili, potato soup…the list goes on!

The saddest thing I hear way too often is that once you go plant-based, life gets boring + you can’t have fun anymore. DON’T BELIEVE IT! This simply isn’t just a diet or a fad or a craze; it’s a true lifestyle change.

I truly believe this is how we were created (in God’s image) to eat. Walking in the cool of the day, through the garden, yielding the fruit of the seeds He planted. He gave all of this to us TO EAT + prosper from (Gen. 1:29).

Ok, I won’t go too far into that, but you get the gist. Veggies are great. Plants are great. God is great.

So, here’s the deal – don’t be afraid!! I’ll say it again — don’t be afraid! Working with whole foods is not a scary thing. We have not been told for too long about how truly good the “good foods” really are for us! There are thousands of unidentified + undiscovered phytochemicals + nutrients in veggies + fruits…but just think about the ones we already know of!?! How crazy amazing is God!?!?!

Down to business…

I’m sure some out there are, so, if you’re concerned about, say, desserts and having to work with dates or anything that doesn’t come out of a box, don’t worry! Forks Over Kives’ (along with hundreds of other resources + magazines) website offers an easy + YUMMY Brownie recipe. I topped mine off with walnuts, + tastes even better served with a side of fruit!

That’s what’s fun about this—you can be CREATIVE! There are few vegetables or fruits or plants that I’ve put together and gone, “Meh, not so good.” But, you’ve gotta be willing to fail…you’re not gonna nail it every time, but that’s okay! Don’t give up!!

Today I decided to use up what I had in my fridge + pantry which was: 2 carrots, 1/2 white onion, 1 bunch bok choy, 2 green bell peppers, 1 hannah yam, and micro greens.

Instructions:

  • Pour 2 cups of veggie broth (Whole Foods brand) into pan with 1/2 tbsp of thyme until it’s warm. Then dump cubed potato + sliced carrots, simmer on med-high heat for roughly 10 min, covered.
  • Once soft, dump onion + green bell pepper in with a 1/4 cup more of broth, simmer on med heat for roughly 5-10 min, covered.

  • Then throw bok choy in with 3/4 cups veggie broth + a dash of black pepper.

  • Let that all sit for about 10 minutes on low heat, covered.

  • Serve hot + top it off with a small bunch of fresh broccoli micro greens.

This recipe took me about an hour to prepare + cook. Super easy, super yummy—who doesn’t want that!?! I had no recipe to follow but just threw everything into a pot + hoped for the best.

I really, really, really, really, REALLY love food. Like, really. So I hope this is helpful + encouraging to you! Just don’t give up…keep trying! You can do it!!

Food + Such

How to Eat Well On-the-Go

Over time I have noticed that the hardest hill to climb in achieving a consistent, healthy diet is the inconvenience of not having pre-packaged, on-the-go options. I know we all live so fast and busy, which can bump eating well down on the list of priorities, but I hope my tips and experiences are helpful and maybe even spark new ideas!

 


 

HOW TO GET YOUR VEGGIES IN: 

I looove my veggies (and I hope you do, too!!!). One of the easiest ways I’ve found to make sure I’m eating enough of them is prepping at the beginning of the week. I pre-wash everything so I don’t have to worry about doing so each time I have to leave my house and throw things in a Ziploc or get home late from work and need to eat as quick as possible so I can get to bed at a decent hour.

I typically will have carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, or celery, and a tub of hummus (I like Cedar’s but my family’s homemade recipe is my favorite) as a snack. I also throw blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries into a big tupperware bowl so they’re ready to scoop out and take with you wherever and whenever you need to go!

As for meals on the go, I make a big pot of either quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice to throw underneath some yummy roasted veggies or mix with spaghetti squash at any time of the week. Also having pre-cooked lentils, black beans, or garbanzos are a good option to have available to add to any meal.

Some favorite pairings of mine are:

  • asparagus, sweet potato, and red onion
  • bell peppers, brussel sprouts, and yellow squash
  • zucchini, sweet potato, and bell peppers
  • broccoli, bell peppers, and red onion

Oh, and mushrooms with EVERYTHING!!!

My all-time favorite seasoning is ‘Slap-Ya-Mama’s’. It. Is. The. BOMB-DIGGITY. Also, adding a splash of balsamic vinegar while sautéing your meals is life-changing. I promise. If you’re feeling Italian, though, Dave’s gourmet pasta sauce (sold only at Sprouts, I’ve found) is like heaven for your tastebuds. I haven’t ever been a huge spaghetti sauce fan, but this stuff is DELICIOUS!!! I will usually just chop up a lot of veggies (to make sure I get those nutrients in), sauté, and then dump on top of my spaghetti squash. It is YUMMY!

Whenever I’m prepping a fresh meal at home, I typically throw about 3 big handfuls of spinach or kale into a saute pan with other veggies. Health professionals say we need to be eating leafy greens 6 TIMES a day. YES- 6!!! That is a lot, I hear you, but you will feel so different due to the amount of fiber and nutrients you’re receiving. (If you are skeptical, you can find more information here)

 

FINDING WAYS TO GET THOSE GREENS IN: 

It may seem weird, but it honestly isn’t as bad as you might think…. Some mornings, I boil some kale and mix it into my oatmeal. Once I’ve added berries, nuts, flaxseed, and maybe some almond milk or coconut sugar, I can hardly even notice those greens!


 

PACKAGED OPTIONS THAT ARE NOT FILLED WITH CRAP:

I love, love, love Lenny + Larry’s Protein Cookies. Snicker doodle + Lemon Poppyseed are my favorites, but they are all verrrry tasty! Lärabars are also a great option if you only have time to run in whole foods and snag something off the shelf.

The things about those products is that they are not only protein dense, but also have a great amount of fiber. Our issue these days is NOT getting enough protein in our diet (we have WAY too much, to be honest). Our dilemma is that we simply do not get enough fiber. So, my main recommendation would be to ALWAYS have whole, fresh fruit available to take with you everywhere. It’s a great source of vitamins and nutrients to keep around.


I’m not gonna lie and say it will be easy at first but, with a little effort and elbow grease, YOU CAN DO IT!!!


Well, friends, that’s all I got for today….BUT STAY TUNED!!! Much, much more (along with pictures) to come!!!!!

Hope this information is helpful to y’all!

EAT MORE PLANTS!

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Gratefulness

Sorry for my absence, readers. Life has been a hectic blessing lately. Between nannying, working at the feed store, and other miscellaneous jobs such as babysitting and painting, I don’t have much time for leisure or rest. I am learning, however, that sleeping at night is a precious gift I’ve taken for granted way too long.

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Since I last wrote, lots has happened and lots has not. I’m back in the states, not living with my family, got to vote for the first time in a presidential election, and am growing into an adult. But even with all that, it is hard for me to decipher, after living the most sanctifying, adventurous year of my life, what constitutes as a significant event and what doesn’t. That probably sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to put it.

Let me explain…

Because I am back in my hometown—where everything is routine and doesn’t ever change—life mostly seems mundane. It’s hard for me to adjust to this normalcy because, as a young adult, exploration and change and newness have been my norm; but not so for now. However, I am not ungrateful for the culture and place in which I was raised, I’ve just been introduced to different ways of life, so now my desires and goals have been shifted and are expanding.

Here’s a lame illustration: It’s as if I’ve been eating Dryer’s ice cream my whole life and someone just graciously opened my eyes to Blue Bell, and now I can’t go back to what I knew.

I continue learning that I’ll never be done learning. While I love living “on the edge” and praying for divine financial providence due to not working for a paycheck, it is so rewarding to reap what I’ve sown in working 50 hour weeks. I’m learning that jobs can be a blessing; I am constantly presented with opportunities to be a witness to my coworkers and customers. This is one of the many reasons I don’t use the term “mission field” very often because really, as a believer, my charge to share the good news is not continent specific. The vessel in which I minister the word may change country to country, but it is the same word no matter my location.

Before returning to the states I had prayed for change, for things to be different and completely unlike before I left ‘home’. I asked for new communities, job positions, etc. And let me tell ya, He heard me. I got more than what I asked for and what I honestly, on my own, couldn’t handle, but that was the point. When I initially was back here, I found myself in some really unhealthy, ungrateful patterns, and I always seemed to be in a funk.

Everything made sense on one hand, and on the other nothing. I didn’t (and quite frankly still don’t) know how to reconcile all that I’ve seen, heard, and lived with where I am now at.

So, my word for 2017 is gratefulness. On great days, on bad ones, I must be grateful. Grateful for His daily giving of new mercies; for breath; for bread; for His blood shed; for the Rock which I can undoubtedly cling to and trust.

Be blessed.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…”

Hebrews 12:28

 

Uncategorized

The Hustle + Bustle

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Wow, please forgive me for my lack of writing lately! Life back in the states has been as busy as it usually is; maybe even busier due to my three jobs. My circumstances as of late are undoubtedly keeping me on my toes, but the Provider has provided and I must be grateful.

While everyone else in suburbia has settled into rhythms and adjusted to routines, I’m still trying to not forget the last year of my life. Oddly enough, I find it’s a shockingly easy thing to do with all these first-world distractions swimming about my head. Like the times I biked around the outskirts of Berlin and could hardly form a prayer because ‘what is life?’ was all I could think; or when I hiked to an extremely undiscovered, remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea with friends I’d met only months prior; and how could I forget returning to my second home and catching up with friends which I hadn’t seen in three years?

But when I’m driving around and making plans and shopping at Whole Foods, it’s as if it never happened.

I have no doubt that the statement I just made may sound zany; even if it is, nonetheless,  it’s true. Unless you have walked in someone’s shoes, you cannot authentically know how they feel or how their situations have affected them.  Though I am blessed with a handful of friends whose experiences align with mine, when others whose don’t but try to act as if they “get it”, my impatience glides right in the way and I just want to forget about it and shut up.

Imagine taking a trip to the Vatican and the only vise you possess to capture its ornate and intricate beauty is a disposable film camera from Walmart. It would obviously have no chance at adequately relaying what you physically saw in person. What the Lord has allowed me to see, witness, and learn is honestly hard for me, the one who endured it, to fathom; how could I, after all? I’ve been taken on an adventure beyond my imagination.

One of the issues with being me is that if I don’t have hours (at least) to explain in full the greatness of something and the remarkable details embedded within it, I practically give up. I don’t fancy partial story-telling or being restricted by time, space, or what have you. I’ve been so spoiled and blessed by Eastern-Time-Zone lifestyle; having unlimited time and availability to say what deserves to be said. But since I am now in a Western zone, I have got to switch my brain. Essentially, I have to get over myself.

Harsh? Maybe. But necessary. Life, no matter how much Satan strives to convince me otherwise, is not about me. And as a follower of Jesus, especially, I am compelled to live out that belief.

So, if you run into me purchasing groceries or sipping coffee at a regularly frequented shop and my words are few, I apologize in advance. I am in no way justifying my lack of extraverted-ness, but simply trying to be honest about the difficulty I have with briefly explaining this journey I’m on as just “fun”.

How could something so great be described in such few and simple phrases?

I hope this is making sense.

Frankly, I am asking for grace. I am an imperfect human; I want to outdo others in honor, and sometimes that is just hard. BUT, that is no excuse; His grace has covered as far as the east is from the west. He has made me a new creation and I’ve got to live like that!

On top of all that crazy, I’m writing a book. So, blog posts will be more scarce in the near future.

Thank you, readers and pals, for the encouragement and support you so fervently dish out. I am grateful for a blessed life and the privilege to write about!

 

Traveling Tips

Why I Don’t Have Favorites Or Least Favorites

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Massai Market, Nairobi, Kenya ’16

Usually after I return home from traveling, the question that’s never lacking is “What’s next?” But not so much this round. “What was the best and what was the worst” is what I keep hearing. I suppose since I’ve explored not one, not two, but three continents in the seven months I was away, folks are curious about which location offered better memories + sweeter reminiscing.

To be frank, I think my answer is pretty unpredictable.

As if it were my profession, I make it my aim to never travel with expectations, good or bad. I’ve come to terms with the fact that things will not always go my way while internationally traveling. But if I go on expecting that unrealistic reality, I’d be miserable…and where’s the fun in that?


“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

― Alexander Pope


 

Were some days brighter than others? Of course; life is what it is, even across the pond. But when your focus is not on you getting what you wants and expectations are not set, the journey, I find, is far more enjoyable.

Folks travel for a plethora of reasons: work; vacation; specialty food + beverage; searching for a more extraordinary life than the one they currently lead. Why do I do it? Mostly because God, thankfully, has peeled back a layer that only He in His natural mercy can. Though I was brought up to believe this, I now realize that life in the states (or any first-world country for that matter) is not paramount, nor the “American Dream” an actual dream.

Wandering anxiously with blurred vision and a tired mind throughout airports, train and bus stations, running into hardly anyone who speaks your mother-tongue, then somehow miraculously plopping down in the seat at your departure gate is beyond satisfying. (A big-bad-wolf-like inhale and exhale usually ensues for me at this moment.)

As I’ve mentioned before, the life of a middle-class-traveler is far from glamorous. I don’t really have the resources to judge the “bests and worsts” because when you live in a big world on a small budget, everything is a gift. Despite what Instagram or Facebook might deceivingly show, my meals were actually seldom “post-worthy”. There was a week in Papua New Guinea where my team and I ate chicken/beef flavored biscuits, known as SNAX, for nearly every meal; and Coke was typically more trustworthy and accessible than water. But  like my momma always told me, “Ya get whatcha get and ya don’t throw a fit.” Paul would even teach me to count it all joy, and even give thanks.

The challenge I’m trying to relay is the boycotting of expectations; to just go with the flow. I know that’s not the Western World’s M.O., but it’s a helpful one; and I think you should try it out.

This philosophy won’t magically make your problems disintegrate or circumstances change course, but if you remember eternity, your attitude in them will be much more bearable for you…and others around you.

 


“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.”

― Bill Watterson


 

Life In Kenya

Life + True Fulfillment

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 

Lately I’ve been at an immense loss for words because there’s a lot of stuff racking my brain. But today I feel led to spit something out. Bear with me. 
In my experience, when one decides to live overseas + make foreign lands their home, two things happen: 1, you realize that life continues for everyone everywhere (no matter how hard you try to pause the clock); 2, your life is doing the same, just in ways that are unfamiliar. 
God mentions several times in scripture how every day spent in His presence is a time of transformation, despite us not being presently aware of it (as He reveals things to us rightly in His timing). And if, though it may be simple, the most pressing realization from my time overseas is His omnipresence, I don’t consider it redundant, as this truth slips my mind far too often. 
Here’s my point: While I’ve had many peaceful mornings watching the sun rise over the pacific shoreline, ridden horseback in the backwoods of New Zealand, and eaten more passion fruit than I knew existed, there are still days that I’m left empty. Now, I’d consider myself to be a fairly easy-to-please type of gal; I enjoy the rural, bush life + simplicity. But then a friend gets engaged, one (or five) have a baby, Tanya Tucker performs at Billy Bob’s, and I am jarred by my aloneness + distance. 
Living overseas is a great joy to me, but it is not magic. 
If you ever want to truly know how He goes about using every instance to stretch and grow a person, travel. I promise you—it will rock your world. I’m not insinuating that leaving home makes you a better you, but you’ll sure learn a lot about yourself and what areas of your life are lacking. 
For example, humility. If you want to successfully travel + make friends in foreign places, you can’t be offendable. I noticed my need for growth in this characteristic the other day when my Kenyan housemates kept bugging me about how and what I needed to eat for breakfast. In my head I was thinking, “I’m 21 years old…I ain’t gonna let myself starve. I got this! Get off my case.” But dang, that’s not how Christ would’ve responded. 
If you’re interested in becoming like Christ, give community-living a shot. 
With the encounters I’ve had over the past year, His creativity only becomes more evident in the way He [kindly] showcases, through each circumstance, my state of humanness (I often forget it). Although I’ve had the time of my life, He’s still holding up the mirror of accountability to me that says, “Oh, Han, remember…” 
Coming “home” will be hard. Not just because of the hullabaloo in the U.S., but because of cultural hang-ups and people needing to always know what’s next in my life when, honestly, I haven’t a clue. I’ve lived the last 12 months knowing not much more than where I would lay my head at night. I realize this can’t be a reality for most, but it has been mine, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
God, in His sweet superiority, has continued to reveal to me the truths of His word that says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) 
The consensus of that verse is not to wait around for Him to purchase a plane ticket + ship you overseas, but to be bold; take a step of faith; and forget worldly certainty. Open your hands; get em dirty. Forsake the misleading promises of the world for a greater mission: His kingdom being furthered in whatever ways that may pan out (don’t worry; He knows what He’s doing). 
My hope rests in Him and the fact that He doesn’t waste time. A big pet-peeve of mine (probably the biggest, actually) is lallygagging. But, of course, there are uneventful days; and even then, I can’t doubt His plans. He is never late, never off. 
We were created to be taught + glean from Someone greater than us. 
If your heart, will, + spirit are bridled to His, you won’t believe the things He can orchestrate.