Monday, May 20, 2013

The skinny on GREEN smoothies!

Green smoothies.
It seems everywhere you look, these amazing drinks are popping up all over the place from the gym, pinterest and your local health food store.

So many recipes that I come across online for green smoothies almost always say something like this....    "1 cup berries, 1 cup liquid, handful of spinach..."



A handful?


The whole point of a green SMOOTHIE is to physically ingest as much greens as possible. We're blending them down to drink it up! If I wanted a handful I would throw it on my salad and be done with it.

So, let's go over some basics, shall we?

Step one. Stock up on your veggies! The above picture is a grocery haul from last week.
Every week I load up on organic (always!) spinach, kale, romaine, chard, dandelion greens and avocado. Once home, I rinse all my greens, dry them & then freeze them in
labeled, Ziploc bags. Freezing does absolutely nothing to the nutrients and it prevents them from browning in your fridge. There is nothing worse than throwing away precious produce! This also makes it super easy to throw right into your blender when you're ready for a smoothie. No excuses! They are already rinse, dried & chopped!

Now, step 2. THE CRUCIAL STEP! This will help you avoid that whole "handful of spinach" bit!
Stuff your cup/blender. Did you hear me?
2 cups! 3 cups! However much you can jam in it :)
Next, add your liquid. For this step, I usually just use 1/2 cup of filtered water. Others use almond milk, coconut water, juice. Whatever suits you!

VoilĂ !

Beautiful, condensed, green, nutrient-packed GREEN JUICE!

Feel free to add more at this point. It's really up to you and what your taste buds are accustomed to. I normally do 2-3 cups every day in my morning smoothie.

My go-to essentials for a green smoothie are almond milk & peanut butter.
Always organic, peeps.
I see so many people use non-organic almond milk.
Have you compared labels? There's a difference.
This peanut butter!  You can find both of these at Whole Foods. I am sure Trader Joe's and smaller organic shops carry different brands that you can find!

Some fun facts on greens:
Kale - The "Queen of Greens"- One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Spinach - Very low in calories and fats (100 g of raw leaves provide just 23 calories). It contains a good amount of soluble dietary fiber; Fresh 100 g of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of iron; one of the richest among green leafy vegetables. This green leafy vegetable also contains good amounts of many B-complex vitamins such as vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.

Dandelion greens - The DETOXIFIER! - Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption. If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.  Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).

Amazing... right??? So, let's start jam packin' our smoothies with these wonderful greens that come right from the earth and supply our bodies with the nutrients we so desperately need to live a healthy, vibrant life.

My favorite monster green smoothie recipes is as follows:

Blend down 2-3 cups of greens in the above method.
Add 1 cup vanilla almond milk.
1 banana.
1 heaping scoop of peanut butter.
1 scoop of protein powder. (I currently am using Perfect Fit Protein from Tone It Up, my favorite workout gurus. Organic, Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Non-GMO, Kosher, Non-Fat, Low in Sodium, and Free of Sugar, Dairy, Lactose, Cholesterol, Soy, Corn, Wheat and Allergens.)
3 ice cubes.
Enjoy...   and drink up!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What NOT To Say To Returning Missions Members

Perhaps you know someone who has returned from a missions trip. Or perhaps you know someone preparing or fundraising for one. After two intense trips of my own, I have a compiled a helpful list of five things NOT to say to the person upon re-entry into the United States.

5. We have problems of our own here in the States. We need to help our own first.

Seriously. Please. Next time you see a child picking through a landfill for something to eat in the United States, call the press. Call the authorities. Then call me....   Because I have never seen/heard of it. Do we have problems in the United States? Of course. I do believe we are called, as believers, to help and love our neighbors whenever we see or hear of a need. (overseas or down the street) Food pantries, visiting an elderly neighbor, ministering to a family afflicted with sickness... all very important things which I often advocate. But, I do believe we are called to go further. Deeper. More self-sacrifical. Jesus got his hands dirty with some of the most unlovable characters in the Bible. Are we not expected to follow in His footsteps? Matthew 4:19-25

4. Can't they fix their own problems?

Do yourself a favor. Find out which country they visited and then read up on the history BEFORE asking this question. Things like civil war, corrupt governments, natural disasters, etc all may be things you'll be looking for as to reasons why the nation is struggling. After brushing up on some history, you likely can skip this question.

3. Well, you did your good deed. Let's get back to normal life.

The United States is not 'normal life'. We live in a Disneyland type of bubble. Here's an idea. Pack up your suitcase, travel to a developing country and walk through a dirty hospital that you likely would never allow your dog to be treated in. I'd like to think a mission trip is only the beginning of our realization that we are blessed beyond measure just by being born within American borders. Perhaps we are blessed so we can be a blessing to others.

2. I hope you handed out birth control.

Yes, that's working out so well for China, isn't it?
This is too broad of a topic for one paragraph. Detailed blog coming shortly.

1. Was it fun?

You've never been on an intense missions trip to destitute areas, have you?

Keep in mind that YOU live in Disneyland and the majority of developing countries basically live in the dumpsters behind it. Give people time to process their thoughts and feelings upon their return. Expect them to randomly cry. Expect that a simple act like grocery shopping will rip their heart in two as they remember children who were sucking on chicken bones, desperate for nutrients. Truthfully, we're struggling with the fact that we get to wander air-conditioned buildings, picking from thousands of food items....satisfying all of our heart's desires. We begin to think back to the mother who was so grateful to receive a simple bag of rice and beans.
Be gentle and patient and remember that you do not have the answers to solve the world's problems. As believers, we are called to serve people right where they are at. And a lot of places, where they are at, are some of the most difficult sights to take in. If that's hard for you to understand, hurry. Sign up for the next intense missions trip you hear of.
You'll never be the same.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ozzy Osbourne, Jesus & Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Some people associate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches & bike rides with their youth.
Me? It would be Ozzy Osbourne.

Long, long ago (1998) MTV performed a nationwide search interviewing thousands of people & accepting video testimonies of just how dedicated & crazy of an Ozzy fan people were. I JUMPED at the opportunity. I had been an Ozzy fan for a few years and it had turned into a fun, slightly unhealthy, obsession. I knew every song. Make that lyric. I watched anything and everything that I could get my hands on that contained footage of the Ozz man. Back in the 90's there were a handful of Ozzy web sites and I ran one - Waiting for Darkness - that ended up winning awards for the amount of content and design that it displayed. I would sleep in parking lots, waiting for the ticket terminals to open for the upcoming concert. I blew entire month's paychecks on scalped tickets to see the action from the front row. Metal Edge magazines? I owned them all and wallpapered my bedroom with every single picture I could find. And truly... I had a hole in my heart and Ozzy seemingly filled that for me. His songs, videos, the fun & the craziness filled a void and I owned it. Needless to say, the producers took notice when I entered the nationwide search. And I won. Here it is ...... In all my glory, meeting my idol.

I know. Crazy, right? It really was one of the most exhilarating days of my life, thus far. Ozzy (and his wife, Sharon) were so amazing and accommodating to me. After the interview was long over, we sat and chatted. They invited me on the tour bus. I was given backstage passes for the rest of the tour and met up again with them twice in Florida. And would you believe during the show in my hometown, Ozzy grabbed me on the side of the stage during my favorite song (Mr. Crowley) and planted a big kiss on my cheek...something he had remembered during the interview. (It took me about 5 minutes to be able to stand up afterwards!) Over the course of the next couple years I was sent passes for the local, and not local, shows. Ozzy is truly a class act - a gentleman in every sense of the word. And his wife, Sharon? Just as lovely of a person as you could imagine. They treated me like family.
But, I have to tell you something. I came to a realization after my FANatic experience that forever changed me. Ozzy was just a person. An amazingly talented, smart & fun individual. But, a person. Not a god. Not an idol. But.... a person. Ozzy even said to me himself...  He hoped he "hadn't disappointment me" because he knew that about himself, too. He's just a man... living his dream, making a living and entertaining the masses. And actually, realizing he is a person....not an idol....made me love him more. I was not disappointed, but I did come to some conclusions. People tend to set such high expectations on musicians and celebrities when in reality, they are the same as us. They are people with flaws and voids in their owns lives and they lack the capability of truly filling the voids in their fans. Along my journey in this life, I have come to find out who and what exactly fills that void & need we are all born with. I believe I was meant to meet Ozzy that set me out on this journey of discovery.

A lot has changed since that day.
Ozzy cross tattooed on my
back + the wedding dress

Am I still a fan? YES. I can honestly say after 18 years, I still enjoy popping in an old favorite (The Ultimate Sin or No More Tears... and always some classic Sabbath) rolling my windows down and blasting my speakers. Some of my children are even big fans. My little girls leans towards Ozzmosis as her favorite album  (:

Children. That's right. Since meeting Ozzy I became a mother and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was shortly thereafter that I encountered my Savior, Jesus Christ, in a whole new way. I then married the love of my life and had three more treasured children. Yes, in that order.

2000, 2005, 2007, 2010

Motherhood changes you. (At least it should)

Pure and simple.

After I gave birth to my daughter I suddenly had two innocent eyes staring back at me. Eyes that needed every part of my being. Eyes that would one day ask me life's biggest questions. And at 20 years old, I grew up overnight.

It's been in this journey of motherhood, marriage & life that I have come to know my Creator in a personal way. It is Who I depend on. It's Who I seek for answers. It's where I go to for help. He never let's me down. He is truly the One who fills me up so much that I overflow. (Psalm 23)

Ozzfest '98. Best seat in the house.
And you know what's funny? I do believe even Ozzy himself is on this journey of discovery and fulfillment. Ozzy has been mistaken a lot in the past as a Satanist and demon worshipping rock star. When in reality, his music is filled with questions on the afterlife, God and the meaning of life itself. In my interview, he mentions how he "hopes after all these trials and errors we don't just end up in the floor. I hope there's something better than this." We were discussing his song "See You on the Other Side"... a song well worth listening to. At the time, I was not prepared to answer his questioning. I'm ready now.... I know the answer for myself. I truly hope Ozzy continues seeking out his own questions in the meaning of life. I will say, I was so encouraged watching the documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne ( Check it at 1:30:00 into the movie, pretty much the end. I literally CRIED when I saw it.

I still am the same crazy girl at heart that I was back in 1998. Ozzy's cross is tattooed on my back (an 18th birthday present) & I do believe it has a new representation in it's meaning for me. I will still be at the concerts, raising my lighter and singing along. I'll continue to spin the records, thinking back on all the fun that is wrapped up in so many of the songs of my youth. Why? Because it's rock 'n roll and that's what we do. But, beyond that, my hope lies in Jesus as the One that I go to for fulfillment.

And Ozzy, if you're reading, let's do lunch when you come back to West Palm Beach. We can eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and catch up.

My life now.

God Bless you all!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guatemala on the.. er...el cerebro

With my upcoming Guatemala trip with World Help looming overhead (9 weeks and counting…) I have been inclined to get back into the Guatemalan spirit.
In our home, we are now using what little Spanish we know with each other (Adios, hola, and gracias….). Current new app on the phone…. Learn Spanish. And in the car? We’re rocking out to the Spanish station. (hey, we have several to choose from here in South Florida)
My first night in the country I’ll be actually staying in Guatemala City, which is different than my last trip when we we’re taken directly to Hope of Life. I’m looking forward to experiencing a little more of the culture while we are there and hopefully will be able to take in some of the sights and sounds of the capital.
A small glimpse of city life that I enjoyed. Check it out: