Day 641: Protein Banana Bar

I’m not one to usually post recipes two days in a row, and if you follow The Covenant Diet on instagram, facebook, or twitter then you’ve already seen this one, so I’m posting it for those of you that are my blog-only friends!

Essentially, I have been swimming more and realized that my energy was totally tanking in the afternoons when I would swim and so I asked my friends on facebook to help me with some ideas. The consensus was: eat protein pretty quickly after workout. I like to avoid processed stuff when I can, so when my friend Kaci mentioned this idea, I tried it out and LOVED it!

protein banana bar

Protein Banana Bar

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter (give or take)
  1. In a shallow plate combine 1/4 cup oats, a tablespoon shredded coconut, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Cut two bananas in half and smear them with peanut butter (or almond butter would be yummo as well).
  3. Roll the bananas in the oat mixture. And bada bam bada bing… a yummy post-recovery workout bar for you and a friend!

 

Day 640: Veggie Tacos Recipe

I love tacos.

They are so flipping easy and customizable to each person’s tastes and they are just downright yummy.

But tacos, in the original sense, are categorically UNvegetarian and UNvegan. So, like I love to do… I made my own version of them vegetarian style. Of course, to make them vegan, you’d just leave out the sour cream and maybe glop on some guacamole instead.

Plus, if you have carnivores in your life then you can make regular taco meat in a separate skillet and appease everyone! They just might even try the vegetarian option and realize that maybe being a vegetarian isn’t all that bad after all! (Cause honestly, I now prefer veggie tacos to meat tacos.)  Serve these with a small bowl of my favorite Black Bean Soup recipe and you’ll DEFINITELY win them over!

veggie tacos

Veggie Tacos

Ingredients

  • Avocados (I’d suggest 1/2 an avocado per person)
  • Chopped or shredded lettuce
  • Button mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will work)
  • Bell Pepper, sliced
  • Onion, sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or regular chopped tomatoes)
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cilantro (optional… but gosh, why WOULDN’T you use it!?!?! Hehe!)
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Shredded Cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a skillet, saute the mushrooms and onions on medium-high in olive or coconut oil for a few minutes and then sprinkle with taco seasoning (to taste) and saute for a few more minutes.
  2. Toss in bell peppers and saute until firm-tender.
  3. Arrange in tortillas (A little trick, if you put sour cream or guacamole in the bottom of the tortilla it will help to keep the other juices from “dissolving” your tortilla) and spoon in sour cream/guacamole, mushroom mixture, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and top with avocado slices!

Day 639: It’s Not Always About You

working at la madeleine

Every Tuesday and Thursday, both my Kindergartener and my Preschooler are at school for about four and a half hours, and so I often escape away to a coffee shop (if you follow The Covenant Diet on instagram then you’re used to seeing my “I’m working” pics as proof for my husband that I am, indeed, working and not out shopping all day)!

This past Tuesday, I went to La Madeleine to work (they have a great patio… with a plug for my laptop) even though I just felt like my soul was dry as a bone. I tried to work for, like two hours, with pretty much no result. It was like everything that was coming out of me was… blah.

So, after a ginormous group of very loud, very talkative women came in and set up shop right next to me (despite the fact that there were, like, fifteen other tables to sit at), I decided to pack it up and go home and do chores so that I’d at least be doing SOMETHING productive.

And on the way home, I got behind the slowest Walmart truck in all of creation and THEN got behind the slowest lawn mower truck in the world. I kept thinking… something is going on. Like, I feel like there is some kind of spiritual battle going on right now. Like, if my life was really like the book This Present Darkness and I could see the spiritual realm then I would see demons and angels battling it out all around me… for me.

So I took it slow going home, went in and thought “I’m gonna go right back to my patio and just chill and see what God wants to say.”

Well, my husband was sitting right inside the front door when I came home. Honestly, I wanted to just blow right by him… I was afraid that he and I would talk and I would miss out on what God wanted to say. But he needed to talk, and so I was deterred from my plan.

And THANK GOODNESS because He’d been having some kind of major revival on his own while I was gone and he just started to pour out his soul to me… which basically caused me to have some kind of major revival… by association! When the joy of the Lord is around you, it’s just… awesome, no matter who He brought His word to in the first place.

The whole thing was just a reminder for me… that, it’s not always about ME.

It’s not always about MY  spiritual walk.

MY weight loss.

MY  pants size.

MY fears. hopes. dreams.

Sometimes God is at work and that work is not all about me.

And honestly, that is just downright kind of refreshing.

Day 638: Sometimes It’s Simple

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Sometimes what I have to say and what I learn on here is complicated and intricate. It takes time and lots of words to explain, but today… I want to just focus in on this one thing.

Just this one verse for today.

I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I know that you have read it and seen it a million times, but I just want you to say it to yourself over and over and over and over again today. Sometimes… sometimes we just need a reminder that it’s true.

We need to remember that we are not weak.
We are not terrible.
We are not incapable.

In Him, YOU are strong.
In Him, YOU are good.
In Him, YOU are completely and totally capable.

In Him, YOU can do ev.er.y.thing. Because HE gives you strength.

Day 637: Kitchen Work Out

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I used to always say, “If I didn’t have to work, then I could lose weight and be skinny.”

And, like I said in My Story, I got my wish… sorta. I got to be a stay-at-home mom three years ago. Only to discover that it was about 8,000 times MORE difficult to lose weight in that environment.

I mean, a big chunk of my day revolves around food now: make everyone’s breakfast, make bagged lunches, preschooler’s mid morning snack, my lunch, my husband’s lunch, plan and prep dinner, afternoon snack for the kids, cook dinner, feed dinner, dessert time, plan more meals, grocery shop, etc, etc, etc.

PLUS, my “office” as a stay-at-home mom is, essentially, in the kitchen (we have one of those houses where the living room is the same room as the kitchen… a blessing and a curse.)

I just never escape food.

But… the more that I seek Him through this process,  the more I am glad that is the case. Cause I want to WORK OUT this issue. And you know what they say: practice makes perfect.

And I’m just getting in A LOT of practice.

But ya know, if a big focus of mine was to become physically strong and buff, then it would be awesome to live IN a gym because I could work out every spare second.

Well, I do live in “the gym” for this mental and emotional workout. Because I am around food all day every day, I get way more practice than I would away at work. So, even though (like on Day 623: Perfectly Prepared) I may FEEL like His work is slow… it could be that by working on this right now while I’m around food all the time, He’s chosen a time of my life during which I could learn faster.

Like, maybe this track of becoming free from food will only take a few years whereas I might have never come across the entire realization that is The Covenant Diet had I been working or it might have taken me ten years for it to click instead of just two or three.

What it boils down to people, and I know I keep saying this over and over again… is that we just have to trust that His timing is working out. Even if it seems like you have no progress… keep it up because it WILL come. Even if it seems as if you are in the MOST difficult situation to deal with your food issues (or whatever it is that is weighing your soul down)… it could be a blessing that you are getting to confront it head on instead of the pain of it lingering for years and years.

Let’s trust the slow (or fast) work of God.

He’s got this!

Day 635: The Diet That’s Not A Diet

more jesus

I thought about doing Paleo.
For like a day.
Being vegetarian/sometimes vegan is just so… easy for me now.

No defrosting.
No cross-contamination.
No hormone or non-hormone worries.
No lean or not lean.

It just matches me.

BUT.

Props to you people doing Paleo. or Vegan. or Weight Watchers. or WHATEVER!

And that’s one of the things that I love so much about The Covenant Diet… it’s not A diet! It really should be called The Covenant Life (but that website was already taken – ha)!

The thing is – so much of a successful lifestyle change comes from the heart and not the mind. I can count calories for six-months straight but if I haven’t had a change of heart about food, I’ll probably just revert right back.

And this is our goal. We are trying to shift from a food-focus to a faith-focus. Because we need Jesus just as much, if not more, AFTER our diet is over than we did during it.

When the compliments stop.
When another salad is just NOT what you really want.
When your mom makes her infamous chocolate chip cookies again and you haven’t had them in soooooo long.

THAT is when we need Jesus to remind us of our freedom from food.

And so it doesn’t matter at that point if you are vegetarian, vegan, rawist, whatever… what matters is that we work on refocusing our minds. What matters is that we allow Christ to redirect our attention to Him over and over and over again. What matters is that we don’t “go” on a diet but that we live in health and freedom.

And THAT is what The Covenant Diet is really about.

Day 633: Re-Imaging

One of my favorite parts of this whole blogging experience is the pictures. Some of them are just personal snaps I take on my phone (like from my birthday yesterday on Day 632) and some are pics I take and then infuse them with scripture or a quote. It’s really cool – I’m not an artist but I can use an app and convey some kind of truth or encouragement visually!

Recently, when I was working on Day 626: New and Free, I made this image…

go and sin no more

I loved it. It was so powerful to me.

And just as I was about to hit publish, my eyes glanced up at the text to which I was referring:

Your sins are forgiven.
Go.
And sin no more.

I suddenly realized that I had completely focused on the second half and forgotten the first.

And the most important part.

Your sins are forgiven.

And aren’t we like that with ourselves? We forget the MERCY and GRACE of Christ and go right to “DON’T DO IT ANYMORE.”

So, I re-did the image and used the new one instead

your sins have been forgiven go and sin no more

And I liked it so much better! For two reasons.

It was so much coooler looking to me!

And it was the full story of how Christ speaks to me. to all of us.

It’s the combo deal that we can get from Him. Forgiveness and Hope in a better future. Forgiveness of whatever we were in the past but also Hope that we can still have that full and abundant life that He offers.

So friends, really zone in on that today.

Your sins are forgiven.
Go.
And sin no more.

Day 632: You Say It’s My Birthday

The hubs and I out for birthday lunch!

The hubs and I out for birthday lunch!

Yesterday was my birthday.

I’m now officially 35!

So, I’m no longer in my early-thirties; I’m officially in my MID-thirties. Not entirely sure what the significance of that is though since I never really matured past thirteen. I’m still goofy, nerdy, a terrible dresser, and have more bad hair days than good.

Anyway, we had a fun little family party last night, and for those of you who struggle with sugar, you know birthdays can be a… challenge.

And about a week ago I thought, “Hey, ya know, I’m gonna test the waters with my ‘new covenant’. I’m going to eat some of my birthday cake. A real birthday cake with chocolate and icing and the whole nine-yards.”

As I was thinking that, I remembered that I wrote about last year’s birthday on Day 266: Blessed Birthday and about how it was a no-cake-for-me birthday. So, I thought that for nostalgia purposes I would go back in and reread it.

Yeah. It totally changed my mind.

And ya know, I might have been totally fine if I’d had cake yesterday. But for MONTHS and MONTHS I’ve been praying for God to lead me back to the freedom I knew that first year… and I read the last sentence of Day 266 and it stopped me dead in my tracks:

“Seriously, who needs a birthday cake with all of that blessing? Not this girl. Not this year.”

I thought… I don’t need a birthday cake.

Not this girl.

Not this year.

 

And for the record, I didn’t have one. My mom got my kids cupcakes so that they could blow out candles and she got a pineapple to stick candles in for me, but we ended up not even doing that. Know why… because I was having so much fun just being with my family that I forgot about me. I forgot about cake. I forgot about sugar. All I wanted to do was just live and enjoy the blessing of my life and my family.

That, my friends, was a real celebration of life!

The only other pic I took on my birthday was a crazy pic that I put on facebook to help get my husband's business some attention!

The only other pic I took on my birthday was a crazy pic that I put on facebook to help get my husband’s business some attention! It worked! We got a TON of shares!

Day 630: Tree Hugger

It’s “fall” in Texas.

Which means that it’s 86° at noon… and that’s actually kind of nice right now and we’ve been trying to enjoy the temperate weather. If it would stay 88° all year long then I’d be in heaven, but alas… winter is inevitable! Ha!

A couple of mornings a week, my three-year-old and I have been dropping my oldest off at Kindergarten and then going to the park to enjoy this nice weather before he goes to preschool. Recently we went to a different park than we usually go to and we were there all by ourselves (well, us and some very, very busy squirrels) and it was just beautiful!

Given that my child is ALL. BOY. he immediately found a tree to attempt to climb despite all of the awesome playground equipment  there. But, I was really surprised when he couldn’t climb the tree… especially because it was at an angle.

Tree Hugger - bent tree

So, when he asked me to climb it, I thought… “Oh I’m really gonna show him what an awesome mom I am now!” And then I couldn’t climb it either!

Because at the very bottom it had been climbed by so. many. people. that the bark was worn almost completely smooth!

Tree Hugger - smooth bark

And I was really struck by it… so, of course, being the iPhoner that I am… I immediately began snapping pics of it. And so, of course, that got me thinking about it.

Ya know… I gave up pretty quickly trying to climb the tree. For several reasons. I didn’t have on shoes with any grip. My 3-year-old bolted off to another section of the park. I was kinda afraid that I might fall.

So I gave up and just took pictures of it thinking, I bet it would be cool to see the park from up there.

And as I took more pictures I noticed that just a few feet up the tree, the bark was rough and definitely NOT smooth because either not as many people got up there or because once you got past the initial first few feet of vertical climb, it was much easier and you didn’t have to “grip” on as much.

Tree Hugger - rough bark

And of course I immediately saw the parallel to my own life there. So often I give up when there is an initial struggle. I don’t feel like I have the proper “footwear” so I just… stop. I don’t go get different shoes or just go barefoot. I just stop trying. Like, so many of us, when we don’t IMMEDIATELY start to lose weight we just give up. We don’t try a different diet or a different focus, we just give in.

Or there is another responsibility that I use as my excuse… I have to chase down my kid or pay a bill or do the dishes. Same thing: I don’t have time to go workout because I have to do other stuff. I don’t have time to grocery shop or cook because I have other things to do.

Or there is the biggest reason that we don’t “climb” the tree: we are afraid we might fall… that we might FAIL. So, as soon as we try to climb on that slick bark and we can’t immediately do it… well, that’s just a great excuse to stop right there. Because if I stop trying to lose weight then I can’t fail at trying to lose weight.

Win-win, right?

Nope.

Because it is once we climb past that slicky part that we get to see the world from a different perspective. We might be scratched up a bit. We might be breathing hard from the exertion. We might be scared to death… but we are up there!

Tree Hugger - bent tree 2

So, I am reminded with whatever struggle I am going through… don’t just give up because the first part is difficult, or even seemingly impossible! Seriously people! Let’s remember… with God all. things. are. possible.

Climbing a crazy tree (in the spiritual sense) is possible!

And just as crazy seeming… overcoming your issues with food. learning to rely on Him. losing weight you’ve carried for years.

Even that is possible.

Say it to yourself right now: I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

Now, go climb that tree.

{And now indulge me in a cute pic of my kid. I just had to throw it on here too!}

Tree Hugger - little boy