Recipe: Southwest-Inspired Corn, Black Bean, & Avocado Salad

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This is one of those “sorta” recipes… it is designed for one of those days when you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to go out but you need flavors and tastes that aren’t usual and… well, you’re either feeling lazy or you don’t have time or energy to slave over the stove.

With that being said, I’m gonna be looking for a substitute for the frozen veggie mix in this recipe so that there is also an all-homemade version.

Southwest-Inspired Corn, Black Bean, & Avocado Salad

Ingredients:
• 1 bag of Southwest-Inspired Corn And Black Bean frozen veggies mix (from Target… there is a pic of the bag below)
• 1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• tsp lime juice
• 1/4 cup shredded Colby jack cheese

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Directions:
1. Cook bag of frozen veggies in the bag in the microwave. Let them cool for a minute or two and then dump them into a cereal size bowl.

2. Add in sour cream and lime juice and stir until combined.

3. Incorporate the avocado chunks and shredded cheese.

4. Eat!

I thought it was super yummy! And so easy and quick. I ate the entire bowl cause I was so hungry but for a normal day it would probably make two servings. This whole not eating after 7pm certainly makes me hungrier at lunch!

Well, that and the hour long walk we took this morning during some fabulous weather!

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Day 221: Shop It To Me

Day 18 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

So, I’ll admit that shopping is way more fun now that my body is a little different. I just enjoy putting on clothes that fit nicely and don’t go all baggy in the wrong places or fit too large in the right places. It’s easier, too. I used to have to try on 53 tops before finding one that works.

But at the same time, shopping has gotten much harder. For two reasons.

One. I feel like I have gotten closer to God in an unexpected way… in a way that is learning to struggle less with my exterior self. It is another journey that I am just beginning… being free from the world’s impressions of me, but it is a journey I have needed to take my whole life… just as long as I have needed to do this covenant to be free from food. And well, feeling the need to buy a certain outfit of a certain brand of a certain tightness of a certain cut… well, I’m learning that I want to be as free from that as I have learned to be from food. I attribute this quite a bit to another covenant companion of mine whom I have mentioned covenanted from buying any new clothes this year. So, all of those thoughts run through my mind as I am looking at clothes.

Two. A less “spiritual” reason, but my husband recently resigned from his job as a school teacher because he has the opportunity to pursue, full time, the manufacturing and distribution of his product Chord Dice… it is a set of dice for guitar players that helps them to write new songs, learn chords, and for guitar teachers to use to teach their students theory. Allow me to gush my pride in my husband for a moment. I am so proud of him for following God’s leading throughout this process. He has said time and time again that it is God who goes before him. And he shamelessly put the inspiration verse on the instructions: Psalm 33:3… “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

Well, all of that wonderful ooshie-gushie stuff to say that right now we are having to be extremely tight on the ol’ budget. He just got his last paycheck from school and so we’ll have to rely solely upon his income as a part-time guitar teacher to sustain us (by the way, if you are in the McKinney area, he is great! McKinneyGuitarLessons.com). This means noooooooo extras for while. I’m totally okay with it but it sorta forces me into the no-buy mode.

Soooooooo, ALL of that to say that yesterday, when I went to drop off some clothes to sell at Clothes Mentor, I felt I had some extra time so I slipped in next door to belk’s and just… tried on clothes. For just the fun part. I tried on the clothes that I never look at because they are so expensive. I didn’t even go to the clearance rack. Only like four pieces, but it was fun! It was almost extra fun because I knew I wasn’t gonna buy anything! Ha! I used to do this in college with my friends… we’d go to the mall and just try on prom dresses for the heck of it!

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And then it was extra fun because I took some pics… who needs to buy clothes when you can have a pic of yourself wearing them for free?!?!? Ha!

Anyway, I’m not sure if this really has any spiritual significance but it was just too fun to not share!

Day 220: It’s Whatev

Day 17 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

So a covenant companion of mine has reworked her covenant terms and it’s essentially opposite of what I am doing and I am totally okay with it!

She is a type I diabetic and so, naturally, she’s “allowed” to make her own rules! But she texted me the other day excited about her new covenant “terms” and told me that she is doing a low-carb, high protein diet and that she has been having perfect sugars with it!

My response: awesome!

Cause it’s not about making the foods the thing that rules in our hearts but it is about relying upon God to sustain. to fulfill. to redeem.

And then I came across this verse and it totally made me think of her…

    I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. 1 Corinthians 7:35

So I mean, whatever you want to covenant… pray to Jesus about it and if you see a green light from Him then go for it!

Day 219: Nothing Good Happens After… 7pm

Day 16 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

So, even though I don’t weigh myself, like I was saying the other day… I still have sizes that tell me if I’m losing weight or not. And lately, it’s been a bit slower than it was at the beginning. I know that’s because I’m so much closer to my ideal weight than I was in January (thank you, Jesus), but I also know that there is still some extra lovin’ hanging around on me.

I am hanging around a loose 10 and a fitted 8. And I’ve been there for most of the summer. Actually, I don’t think I’d have fit into an 8 at the beginning of the summer so I might have lost a bit.

So lately, I have been really evaluating my eating to see if that is an indication of why I am sorta at a plateau. Again, it might just be that my body is finding homeostasis like I talked about on day 115, and I’m cool with that.

Well, honestly, even as I write “I am cool with that”… in my heart, I’m not “cool with that”. I want to be skinny. I want to wear a size six. I want my body to be admired, envied, coveted.

Are my desires in the right spot? No. But those are my real desires. Godly or not. That’s where my mind wants to go.

And that is the entire point of this covenant: to be transformed. to be renewed. to be changed. on the inside. Perhaps the outside of me will be transformed, renewed, changed, but the purpose is to allow God to do all those things to my soul.

Okay, but honestly that was a bit of a divergence from my original topic! Ha! Got a bit carried away by the good ol’ Holy Spirit!

I was talking with my covenant companion, Christy, the other day and she mentioned that she is no longer eating after 7:00pm. I just kept thinking about that. Cause you know what they say, “Nothing good happens after… 7pm!” Right?!?! Haha! But seriously, there is very rarely any purposeful eating after 7pm. It’s usually tied to some other feeling or emotion.

Exhaustion.
Sadness.
Loneliness.
Boredom.

There are a bunch it could be. But whatever the reason, I often find myself snacking during those late evening hours. It’s a bit like my afternoon hot spot that I talked about the other day.

So, I decided that I’d give the no-eating-after-7pm thing a go.

Wowsers. It was one of the hardest thing I’ve done since the beginning of my covenant! But that was a great sign that I had found yet another snackie hot spot like I discovered a few days ago that needed some fixing!

So, we’ll see in a few days if I’m still as impressed with the “After 7pm Fast” as much as I was last night!

Day 218: Mid-Night Musings

Day 15 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

It’s 4:45am and I’ve been up for about an hour with a cough. My husband, toddler, and I all have it. Not sure how the five-year old skipped it, although if Murphy’s Law proves true, he’ll get it just in time for school! Ha!

Anyway, I’ve had this cough for about a week now. Most days it’s just been annoying but yesterday and through the night I have actually felt sick. I went to bed, well, on time last night… but when my boy woke up at 3:30 I could not go back to sleep because of this tickle-itch in the back of my throat. Of course, I came out of the bedroom and am now lounging on the couch hoping that sleep will find me again.

I should have known I’d get sick once I started a fast… poor ol’ Satan. He needs a new bag of tricks… doesn’t he know that he’s already done this to me… twice?!?!

Anyway, one of the big things on this hard-core Daniel Fast is that I decided not to drink anything other than water. But yesterday, I literally was at my wits end with this cough. Meds weren’t working. Cough drops were having zero effect. My husband suggested that I have a cup of hot tea. I was on the verge of giving in and just having a cup of hot tea in the mindset that it was medicinal, but then he suggested that I have some hot lemon water with honey. My reaction was one of disgust, even though I knew that it would help me, and so then when I thought about my options, I was like “well… a cup of hot tea would be nice and it wouldn’t be much of obedience to Him, but a cup of lemon water… ewwwwwww. Yes, even with honey… ewwwwww… it’ll be like a sacrificial obedience.” So I figured that it was safe to view the lemon water as medicinal instead of a cup of tea.

And wow, did it help.

And wow,  was I glad that I avoided the tea and went with more of a sacrifice… went with obedience.

And it wasn’t like a legalism kind of thing… I really wanted to please God by not giving in easily to something that would break my fast agreement with Him. It kind of reminds me of this conversation:

What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

And in a way, I felt like it was obedience… trying to obey Him. That is what pleased Him. And that is my goal.

Day 217: Practice Makes Perfect

Day 14 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

I’m not sure how I survived this for forty-six days during Lent. Geez. All I want is a tortilla and some feta cheese and my life would be great.

So funny how starting this whole thing in January I was probably thinking “All I want is a Reese’s peanut butter cup and my life would be great.” ha! How things have changed.

But actually I think the temptations are harder on a short-term fast because you know that you’ll get that stuff again… and soon. When I started my covenant so many months ago, the lust for chocolate and sugar quickly died off and stayed away for quite a while because the day when I would once again get to have those things was sooooooooo far away it was pointless to even dream about eating it after a while.

But now that I’m pretty much just one week away from a feta topped salad, or a cheese pizza, or a fish taco… well, it makes the wanting of it stronger. But that’s a good thing on a fast. To want something but not be able to have it. It creates a tension in me… a tension that brings my struggle to light. A struggle between the light and the dark.

What it does is make me practice over and over the act of choosing God. relying upon God. feasting upon the things of the Spirit.

And hopefully three weeks of “practicing” that will carry over past those three weeks. So that for another three weeks I’m still just in the habit of choosing God over my own desires and wants.

Day 216: Squeaky Clean Soul

Day 13 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

My husband recently went out of town for a week and while he was gone I, out of necessity, had to get back into a pretty strict routine. Kind of like our school routine.

Which means I also had to get back into a routine with my cleaning. It’s not that I don’t clean in the summers… it’s that I don’t clean on a routine. It’s all kind of sporadic. “Oh, that’s sorta messy… I’ll clean it.” or “Oh, that toilet is gross, I’ll clean it.” It’s more like a REactive type of cleaning instead of PROactive.

Anyway, so tonight I was cleaning up the kitchen before bed and it was looking pretty good. But then I kept remembering that Sarah Richardson, in an HGTV magazine article, said she always puts everything away before bed. A little Martha Stewartish if you ask me. But it kept running through my mind last night.

So I thought, I’m gonna at least do this in the kitchen/big room. And suddenly you start to notice things that have been there for a few days but they have been there just long enough that you start to subconsciously ignore them. They become part of the landscape.

Like this one corner of my kitchen is what the FlyLady would call a “hot spot”. Tons of stuff gets “dumped” there throughout the day. So I went to clean it tonight and there were two plastic popcorn tubs that had been there almost a week. Two bottles of medicine. A rag (always there). My husbands daily collection of cups despite the fact that I have designated a coaster on which he can have one cup a day. A pen. Two twist ties. And an iPhone charger.

So I cleaned it up and wow- it made such a difference. I took a pic of the “after” only because it didn’t hit me until after how this tied into sin. into gluttony.

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There are so many things in our lives that get stuck in the “hot spot”. Little sins often that we ignore until we don’t even know they are sins after a while. We don’t even know they are there.

Gossip.
Laziness.
Envy.

Gluttony.

And sometimes we have to make a concerted effort to clear those things out. It’s so much nicer afterwards to be clean and free of it, but it does take a little sacrifice of time and effort to clean it out.

And there are also little eating hot spots during the day… like when I put the boys down to nap every day, I often come into the kitchen immediately looking for something. My friend Christie has mentioned that her hot spot is right after she puts the kids to bed in the evenings. Some people it’s right when they get home from work. Or on their coffee break.

But I know that I need to work on my hot spot this week. What I will do I think is replace my hot spot with Jesus. Instead of immediately coming into the kitchen after the boys go down, I will immediately go into my room and pray for 15 minutes. I read my bible in the mornings before the boys get up and I pray continually all day, but rarely do I stop and take the time to meditate on God.

Maybe switching those two things out will help to get rid of my afternoon snackie hot spot and therefore keep me out of the hot seat! Haha. Sorry. Nerdy joke!

Day 215: The Icing Off The Cake

Day 12 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Confessional time.

I’m not sure what made me remember doing this, but I just thought of it and thought it might help yet another addict not feel so alone.

Oh, I know what it was- yesterday when I was talking about wanting something decadent… I remembered what I used to do when I needed a “fix”.

Sooooo, I was your typical “I’m not gonna buy candy to keep in the house because if I do then I’ll just eat them all.” But then I’d get hit with a craving (or what I thought was a craving- now I realize it might have just been more of a thought!) but I wouldn’t have any candy.

Soooooo, I would get out all the fixins for some good ol’ chocolate buttercream icing.

Powdered sugar.
Cocoa powder.
Butter.
Milk.
Vanilla extract.

And then I would make myself a bowl of icing.

Of course, never would I do this in front of my husband! This was only a sneak eating ritual. But when I started staying home, some days that was my routine. Put both boys down for afternoon naps and immediately come into the kitchen and make myself a vat of icing. Maybe put it in the fridge for a bit so it was more like ice cream.

Now don’t think I’m trying to sound all perfect now. My new “replacement” for that action has been to make my granola bar in a bowl. It might be more “healthy” but it’s the same act.

I want a treat.
I am not hungry.
I’m going to eat a treat anyway.

Chocolate icing.
Granola bar in a bowl.
A freshly cut up pineapple.

It’s all the same now. If I’m not hungry, then… I should not. eat.

Anyway. This was more of a pep talk for me to remember that just because I’m following some Daniel Fast doesn’t mean that I am exempt from overeating. from gluttony. from sin.

Day 214: Fasting 101

Day 11 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

Well, I should have worked on my post during nap but I really just wanted to play dress up… and that turned into a little closet kriya… which turned into a big closet kriya.

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But it feels good to have done it! Although most of the stuff came from my top tier of clothes (like they are my winter clothes and my don’t-fits, so they are up extra high and I have to use a ladder to get up there) so the main part of my itty bitty closet doesn’t look that different!

What I really wanted to write about were some thoughts that I was having this afternoon right after lunch. I was super craving something… decadent. I think it is because I saw the tupperware of leftover chocolate no-bake cookie bars that I made the other night for my book club. They were apparently really, reallllly good. And well, they have peanut butter and chocolate in them. That combo is like flipping kryptonite to me!

And I just kept thinking about them. and thinking about them. and thinking about them.

I finally got up and mixed some peanut butter and raisins together as a “treat” (which I really do enjoy) but I wish now I hadn’t even done that. I wasn’t hungry. I was trying to fulfill a desire that was all in my mind… not fulfilling a physical need for nutrients. Humph. Oh well.

But I did start thinking about what Daniel said in the verses that inspire most Daniel Fasters (in Daniel 10)… he said that he ate “no rich foods”.

Soooooo why no rich, choice, tasty foods for his fast?

I guess when you deny yourself of something “rich” then you are reminded of sacrifice. Like, when I want a chocolate no-bake cookie bar and then I realize “Oh, I can’t have one…” it forces me to think of my sacrifice. of my choice to abstain. And those thoughts make me remember who drove me to abstain. and why He led me down that path.

And that leads to an opportune time to pray over whatever it is that God motivated me to fast about instead of thinking about something earthly like a chocolate no-bake cookie bar.

Maybe all of this was like a review for those of you who are well studied in the art of fasting, but I guess 214 days in, I needed a little bit of a reminder as to the who, what, where, and when of it all.

Day 213: Peach Portions

Day 10 of my hard-core Daniel Fast.

This morning, like most when I am on a Daniel Fast, I woke up and wasn’t even thinking about breakfast. Really, for the past 200-something days I have breakfasted on coffee with almond milk and an occasional day with fruit or oatmeal or something. But most days I don’t eat breakfast because the coffee and almond milk fill me up.

Since I am not having any coffee during these 21 days I have I had to actually eat breakfast. But I don’t usually get hungry until 8:00ish or so.

And so this morning around 8:00 I was taking some medication and knew I was hungry so I thought to go ahead and eat a banana.

About an hour later I thought, “I’m hungry again.” Which is not atypical with this diet to be hungry every hour… so I went ahead and had a bowl of peach slices.

Thirty minutes later… hungry. I thought, “Okay, I need to have something with substance this time.” So I had a couple of spoons of peanut butter and a few raisins. Much better. I made it until lunch on that.

But what I was thinking of is that how cool it is that fruit has sort of been built-in by God with portion control.

I mean- a banana comes in its own wrapper. Once you’re done… you’re done. An apple- in a wrapper. Orange… yep. a wrapper. Peach? Messy, but still in a wrapper. Now berries… those are a little different. They are sorta like buffet style. But anyway. A lot of fruits and veggies are almost like designed for you to just eat one.

So I started trying that. Just eating one thing to see if that satiated my hunger. Cause I used to be all like “Oh I’m hungry” and then I’d automatically pour myself a huge bowl of cereal. or make myself a complete sandwich. or eat a batch of cookie dough. But now I sorta “probe” at my hunger. I think it’s kind of like how nutritionists say that it is better to have like 5 small meals a day. I think I kind of eat like that now.

There isn’t really any deep spiritual principle with that one. I just think it is pretty much the opposite of gluttony… and that is on the right track spiritually.