01/24/2013

Peanut Butter Lovin’

Peanut butter is a favorite food of mine that seems to make its way into my diet pretty much every single day.  Not only is it cheap and cost effective for my grocery bill, but it also has a simple ingredient list (typically just roasted salted peanuts), is a quick and easy choice when I need a snack, is nutritiously filled with all of those healthy fats and protein, and makes everything it is slathered on taste delicious.  I swear, sometimes it seems to be yelling “Eat me!” from inside the cupboard where it sits on my Lazy Susan just waiting to be consumed.

My absolute favorite brand of peanut butter is the Kroger Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, but I also like the Creamy Salted from Trader Joe’s, and the 365 Creamy Peanut Butter from Whole Foods.  What can I say; when it comes to my peanut butter I stick to the simple, money saving store brands.  I have actually yet to find a $5.00 jar that I prefer!

 So what is with my love of peanut butter on this random Thursday you may ask?  Well, today is January 24th, 2013 and it is National Peanut Butter Day!

Peanut butter is an ingredient you see all over the blog world, and for good reason!  It is one of those foods I used to think was off limits for someone wanting to stay fit because of the high calorie count and loads of fat grams.  However, I couldn’t have been more wrong!  After getting past the fear of peanut butter and choosing to add it into my meals, I quickly began to crave the healthy fats I had missed for so long.  My hair is extra shiny and healthy, I have more energy, and I don’t even feel those hunger pains anymore.  Some of my favorite ways to eat peanut butter are:

  • A Dollop on Top of Oatmeal
  • Smeared onto Apple and Banana Slices
  • Stirred into Greek Yogurt
  • Spread on Top of a Rice Cake, Slice of Whole Wheat Bread, English Muffin, or Light Tortilla
  • Added to a Smoothie
  • Mixed into Batters: Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Cupcakes, Breads, etc.
  • Straight from a Spoon!

As you can see, peanut butter does not have to be saved for special occasions; it can be enjoyed at any time of the day!  Don’t be afraid to give it a try and throw a jar or two into your cart next time you’re at the grocery. 

Here are some blog recipes using peanut butter (even making peanut butter!) that have caught my eye:

Courtney’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwiches

Ashley’s Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Overnight Oats

Brittany’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter

Averie’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Katie’s Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

Here are a few of my favorite peanut butter recipes from www.newlywifehealthylife.wordpress.com:

Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies

Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies

Last Year’s National Peanut Butter Day Recipe: Peanut Butter & Oats Celebration Cookies! 

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal 

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Oatmeal

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

Banana Pecan Protein Pancakes with Peanut Butter Almond Syrup

 Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies

 Craving peanut butter yet?  After all of those delicious recipes, how about one more!

 [gmc_recipe 212]

 Questions:

  • What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?
  • Do you have a favorite recipe using peanut butter?  Feel free to link up!
  • What is your favorite brand/flavor of peanut butter?
  • Are you going to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day?  If so, how?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

01/23/2013

Wake Up Call

I woke up slowly and in a haze as my eyes slowly fluttered open and I saw a stream of light peeking in through our charcoal gray curtains.  For a split second I thought my days were off and perhaps it was Saturday morning, but before I could even form a complete thought I began to realize it was not the weekend like I had hoped.  Instead it was a cold, Tuesday in January and the sun should not have been shining before my 5:00 a.m. wake-up-call.  I quickly threw back the covers and checked my alarm clock: 7:35 a.m. 

I looked at my husband who was also beginning to realize that neither of our alarms had gone off.  For the first time in over a year since we had started living together, neither one of us had set our alarms on the exact same night

 Is this simply ironic, or just ‘a part of the plan’? 

I believe the answer truly lies in the eye of the beholder.

As I quickly popped out of bed and hurried over to the shower, I tried to piece together all that needed to be completed to get me out the door by 8:05 a.m. so I could still arrive at work on time.

  • Shower
  • Wash my hair (This must wait – besides, who doesn’t love a messy ponytail from time-to-time…?)
  • Make-Up  Clean Face (The natural look is in, right?  A little moisturizer and just a quick swipe of mascara will do the trick)!
  • Get Dressed (My clothes are already picked out and hanging in the closet…so happy I decided to be organized Monday night)!
  • Pack Lunch!
  • Make/Pack Coffee!! (A Necessity)
  • Start Car for Warmth!!! (9 degrees outside, and only about 25 degrees inside my garage!)
  • Grab Purse and Jacket
  • Head out the Door!

Early mornings tend to be my best time of the day.  I like to wake up early at 5 a.m., hit the snooze button for ten minutes and then take my time working out on our elliptical while watching an episode of Friday Night Lights.  (My newest obsession…Thank you Netflix)!  At around 6 a.m., I head to the shower and when I am finished I then proceed to get dressed, do my hair and make-up, and then make the bed and pick up any little item that may be out of its place and put it away.  I then go downstairs and eat breakfast, pack my lunch, put away dishes, check my email, blog/read blogs, watch the news, and spend a little time with Tim and Tebow.  From there I head upstairs again to brush my teeth and before I know it, I am saying my goodbyes and on my way to work.  To me, there is nothing like starting the day in a stress-free way!

Tuesday though, this was not the case.  I was praying for peace and direction for my day as I could feel the stress slowly starting to build in my body.  By 7:55 a.m. I had finished everything on my list except the last four bullet points.  I was doing well, but was still in a bit of a panic as I ran down the stairs.

As I quickly came around the corner, there was my sweet husband in the kitchen.  While I was upstairs he had packed my lunch, made the coffee, grabbed my coat and purse, and already started my car.  In that moment, I could feel my whole mood begin to shift as I felt the peace I was yearning for begin to comfort me.

Even in moments that may seem little in the grand scheme of things, God is there.  I could look at the fact that neither of us set our alarms as just an ironic coincidence, a burden, or a day spoiler.  Or, I could look at it as being part of the plan, part of God’s plan for us.  Because of this Tuesday morning chaos, I was reminded of how blessed I was to have such a great man as my husband.  Someone who was willing to put his own struggles aside to try and make my day a little easier.  Someone who chose to put his wife before himself.  Someone who reminded me what love really is during that moment.  And you know what?  I was pulling out of my driveway at 8:03 a.m. and even arrived to work a few minutes early!  Sure, my morning did not go as planned, but I was reminded of my blessings and even got to sleep an extra 2 ½ hours.  Win, win!

The next time you find yourself in a panic moment, I encourage you to stop, take a deep breath, and try and take a look at the big picture.  Look for the beauty and positives all around you.  I guarantee they are there just waiting to be found.

Jeremiah 1:2-4

Jeremiah 1:2-4

 

Questions:

  • What was the last ‘panic’ moment you found yourself in?  What do you do during those occasions to find calm?
  • Have you ever forgotten to set your alarm or overslept, and found yourself running behind?  How did you get back on track for the rest of the day?
  • What do your morning schedules look like?  Are you an early riser, or a night owl?
01/21/2013

Welcome Back!

I have sat down to write this post countless times before, hoping the words would just flow the way I would like.

Anyone who read my blog, Newly Wife Healthy Life, on a regular basis knows how much I love to write.  It is not only a hobby used to fill my time, but it also brings with it a peace of mind knowing I can get thoughts out of my head and into words to be read.  I go through moments in life when writing is the only thing that gets me through the obstacles I face.  It is a form of therapy during dark days.  It is a form of speech to tell others how I feel.  It is a way to show love to those I cherish. It is an expression of myself when spoken words are not needed, or don’t come into existence easily.

The past month and a half, I decided to take a little time away from writing to clear my head.  With it being our busy season at work, preparing for Thanksgiving, running a household, trying to stay sane without much free time, and decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc. for Christmas, I chose to live in the moment and soak in each opportunity presented without running myself ragged.  At the end of the day, if the choice was to spend time with my family, bake a batch of Christmas cookies, watch lighthearted holiday movies, or simply catch up on sleep rather than write, it is an easy guess what found priority.

tebowwinter

girlsatchristmas

tim&janaChristmas

 

Now that January is here though, I have been able to take a step back and focus on some of my goals and hobbies I missed during the busy holiday season. One of these activities I have truly missed greatly is blogging, writing, and sharing my heart, home and recipes with anyone willing to take the time to read what I have to say.

As someone who reads plenty of blogs, including those very successful ones written by full-time bloggers, I know at times it is easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. Sure, I may not have thousands of readers per day, but I do have loyal followers who have emailed me, reached out to me on twitter, and even told me in person how much they miss my posts. As someone who is humble to the point of lacking self-confidence at times, it has blown me away at the support I have been given and the encouragement I have received just when I needed it the most. God provides people in our lives to help us along the way, even during the days that feel gloomy and discouraging. I know taking a break over the past summer, and this most recent one during December may cause me to lose a few readers, or won’t catapult me to blogger fame status. To be honest though, I know deep down that it was more than okay; it was only human to need time away to collect my thoughts. I am hoping that in thanks to the break, I am returning as a better writer filled with new ideas and a fresh perspective for my future posts. I needed a mental break and so I took it. The last thing I ever want is for blogging to become a chore in my life when it is such a positive outlet for my creative juices to flow.

I blog to share my passions like creating recipes, learning to be a loving wife and homemaker, spending time with my family, trying to stay healthy emotionally and physically, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and what he has done positively in my life. There was a period of time when I was angry with the Lord and I didn’t understand the direction my life was headed. It was during those times I learned the most about myself and the faithfulness of God. Even now as I am going through big changes in my life, I know He is the one person you can always trust and that won’t ever leave you alone or let you down. I feel a calling from Him to share my blessings, and hopefully His light to others through this blog by doing what I love: writing.

journaling

I may not have been blogging, but I have spent a lot of time over the last month thinking about the direction I would like this blog to take. To be honest, I still am not 100% sure! I know that I will be sharing recipes, my faith, fun events I attend, home decorating and craft projects, my journey as a new wife, and anything else that has importance to me. However, one thing I do know is that I do not fit into one specific category. I think part of my struggle to define my blog is that I enjoy a lot of different things, but I am not exactly an expert…I tend to learn as I go! I wouldn’t say I completely fit into the ‘healthy living blog’ category, especially if any of those requirements is to work out x times per week, or eat x number of calories, or run x number of miles. I strive to live a healthy life both emotionally and physically, but after years of making diet and exercise one of my very top priorities, I now prefer to put my family, friends, God, and life experiences first.  I am not a ‘food blogger’ as I don’t photograph everything I eat and sometimes I eat the same meals day after day, which can get a little boring to photograph, write about, and share. I like shopping and clothes and putting together outfits, but I am not a ‘fashion blogger’. I am not a ‘home improvement’ or ‘home decorating’ blog as I don’t do large makeovers/remodels on a regular basis, and I am not real handy with a hammer and nail.

So what kind of a blog is this? I guess the answer is simply: mine. There is no specific category I fall under, and honestly I kind of like that. I am not trying to be anyone except myself and I what I share is real and meaningful to me and my life.

As you can see, I have made a few changes to the blog now that I am back starting with my new name: Happy Wife Healthy Life!

header

I decided to buy my own domain name, something I have wanted to do since I began blogging. I figured that I won’t always be a ‘newly’ wife, so I better choose something I hope to always be instead, a ‘happy’ wife! I have also finally gone self-hosted! I was very nervous to “bite-the-bullet” and invest my money, but so far I am beyond happy that I did! The process has been slow, but I am proud of myself for tackling this change all on my own and learning how to run a self-hosted blog as I go.  I have now truly made it mine and I know having this freedom will encourage me to stay committed and help me to remember how much joy blogging brings me. To anyone still reading, I want to thank you for sticking with me during my breaks. Having a reader like you is one of the greatest gifts in my life. I hope you will continue to stand by me and grow right with this blog as I once again begin this exciting journey.