Banana, Berries & Bacon…oh, I mean Beets

B in the A to Z Blogging Challange. Bananas, Berries & Beets....or Bacon
B in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Bananas, Berries & Beets….or Bacon

Welcome to day two of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today we are exploring healthy foods in the B column. The reason I put bacon in the title was not to tease you, but to bring out the point that living healthy is not about denial. It’s about making daily choices that benefit your body and mind. you can still enjoy the things that you love. Moderation is good.

I’m in this for the long haul so I want to able to maintain not destroy. I still cook real bacon to a crunchy crisp and eat a slice with my eggs every once in a while and I’ll add the bacon dripping to my potato salad…we don’t eat it that often so might as well make it right.

As I eat better and fill my body with rich foods of the earth I found I don’t really crave sweets or fatty foods as much. That might just be me. Check in with me next year and we’ll see how I’m doing.

Now back to the food of the day: Bananas, Berries & Beets.

Bananas are a happy fruit - your brain likes them.
Bananas are a happy fruit – your brain likes them. (and your gut and your bones)

You can’t go wrong with Bananas. They’re one of the most consumed fruit on the planet. They provide potassium and fiber and help the body absorb calcium, so they are perfect with that skim milk or almond milk smoothie. They also add a creamy texture, like the avocado.

They’re also a feel good fruit. Banana’s increase the level of dopamine, serotonin & nor-epinephrine…you know, the stuff that makes your brain happy. Yes, bananas can ward off depression. So instead of the gallon of ice cream eat a banana. At least cut one or two up and add to the ice cream. (and it will absorb the calcium)

If you’re looking for something with high benefits, but low calories pick up some berries! Blueberries are my favorite. They help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar even lowering it,(perfect fruit if your diabetic or just trying to lose weight)  protects vision and improves memory. It is another brain food that helps keep your cognitive skills sharp. Along with all that, they provide vitamins C and K and manganese. The compounds that give them their beautiful vibrant color is linked with helping  inflammation and building up your immune system. Blackberries also have much of these healthy characteristics and are high in fiber. (we love our fiber, but *side note* remember you need to drink plenty of water to help the body processes easier.)

The thing that gives blueberries and beets their color is the thing that will help you be healthier.
The thing that gives blueberries and beets their color is the thing that will help you be healthier.

BEETS!!! Beets? Yuck. Yes!! Beets are awesome in so many ways.

The betalain that gives the deep, rich red color of the beet is an antioxidant that could help ward off cancer and other diseases. It pretty much has a whole alphabet of vitamins, along with potassium boosting your immune system. The greens of the beets are good too. They carry a whopping 44 milligrams of calcium, so pair it with a banana (in a smoothie) and your bones will thank you.

With all that, we’re still not done with the beet. It has compounds that can lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. It helps your hard working muscles and joint relax. (anti-inflammatory) Yes, beets are worth the time. So find a way to eat them. They are jammed full of hard to get nutrients. If you don’t like smoothies, try roasting your beets or cut them very thin and add them to your salad with some bacon & walnuts.

Blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, triple zero Greek yogurt, Flax seeds and unsweetened almond/coconut milk thrown into my Ninja for 35

 

To get this rich color you can’t add green to this smoothie.

  • 1/2 Peeled and sliced beet
  • 1 cup  frozen organic organic blueberries
  • 1 cup  frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 organic banana
  • 1 Tb flax seed
  • 1 cup Oikos Triple Zero Nonfat Greek Yogurt (Vanilla)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk

 

 

For the smoothie abovebeets-blueberries-blackberries-bananas-spinach

  • 1 cup of organic spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1 cup of organic blueberries
  • 1 hand full of organic blackberries
  • 1/2 beet peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tb  Oikos Triple Zero Nonfat Greek Yogurt (Vanilla)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

 

 

 

 

For a note on color:

*Warning* When you mix colors opposite on the color they neutralize each other – you know, green & red, purple & yellow, orange & blue turn into browns, greys, & swamp water green. All those colors that look  vibrant next to each other turn dirt colors when the blades mangle them together. That is way you see so many of my smoothies before the blend. 🙂

So do you have a favorite healthy B food I left out? Broccoli, beans, Brussels sprouts…

 

 

I have Joined the A to Z Blog Challange

Starting in April, I will share my new obsession with you. I will explore the wonderful world of food, God given food that grows from the earth and nourishes our bodies. All the colors and textures create their own unique art work.

We’ll talk about everything from avocados to ugli fruit. Any excuse to take pictures. LOL

Why has this become an obsession? In the middle of February I made a commitment to myself that I would live a healthier life. Sitting in front of the computer and sitting in the car has taken a toll on my body and as I approach 50 I realized I had to make some changes. Some things happen to us beyond our control, but I can control what I put in my body and how I use the body God gave me.

11149268_10153198041191740_364585605645514242_n
Noah inspired me with his no excuses motto – really how can I argue with him?

Last season of Dancing with the Stars, I fell in love with Noah Galloway. (the inspirational kind of love) I wanted that kind of determination in my life.

I knew I had it. It took will power to finish my master’s degree at forty.  To find ways to inspire students, To write a 60k word novel. To work until I got my story published. To keep writing in order to get more writing contracts. It wasn’t easy with a language disability (dysgraphia). With hard work and focus I accomplished my dreams and reached my goals.

 

Unfortunately at the expense of my health. I now need that drive and focus in order to reach my health goals. In doing so I have discovered the world of smoothies and the wonderful fruits and veggies that can go in them. Arranging the colors and selecting the flavors to combine have fired the creative side of my brain.

Do you have a favorite food that nourishes you, heart, mind and body?

As the sun sets on March I hope you walk along with me through my April journey.

Sunrise at the end of my road. Yes I live in the country. And love it.
Sunrise at the end of my road.

 

New York or New Orleans?

New York or New Orleans?

I’m a little over half way through my A to Z blogging challenge and yes I’m a little behind. I have missed N & O. For N I was going to say how much joy we experienced on our trip to New York. The energy and vibe of one of the biggest cities in a very land locked piece of property. We got to dance in the rain in Times Square see works of art I’ve only read about and eat at a family diner off Wall Street. Of course one of my highlights was meeting the Love Inspired staff at the Harlequin Offices in the old Woolworth Building and having lunch with my editor. I have to say the people were super friendly and even when we got a bit confused in the subway there was always someone willing to help.

Wefoundthis gem of a family diner off Wall Street. Home cooked food with very good prices. The hamburger was 4.95.
We found this gem of a family diner off Wall Street. Home cooked food with very good prices. The hamburger was 4.95.
Lower Manhattan - I amazes me so many people can live in such a small space. It looks as if it could just fall of the little piece of land.
Lower Manhattan – It amazes me that so many people can live in such a small space. It looks as if it could just fall of the little piece of land.
In the city you can hardly see the sky. From the river it looks like another world
In the city you can hardly see the sky. From the river it looks like another world
The human spirit is amazing...you can see it and feel it in large doses all over New York, but no matter how many building we build we still are drawn to nature. Central Park is an oasis in the mist of a man made jungle.
Central Park

The human spirit is amazing…you can see it and feel it in large doses all over New York, but no matter how many building we build we still are drawn to nature. Central Park is an oasis in the mist of a man made jungle.

In the summer we were in New Orleans. A big city with a completely different feel. Relaxed, happy, laid back and ready for a good time. I’m not a party person so I wasn’t sure about New Orleans.  We fell in love.

New Orleans French Quarters
Waiting to enter the unknown in New Orleans.
Pirate Ally
On the way to Pirate Ally in the French Quarter’s of New Orleans.
There is so much art and creativity in New Orleans
There is so much art and creativity in New Orleans
ANy one who has ever been to New Orleans will tell you to stop Cafe Du Monde, any time of day or night.
Anyone who has ever been to New Orleans will tell you to stop by the Cafe Du Monde, any time of day or night.
So many shops had a cat in the window. This one was watching over a weaving shop
So many shops had a cat in the window. This one was watching over a weaving shop
You can't go to NOLA without at least one visit to the cemetery. This was taken at Lafayette Cemetery No 1
You can’t go to NOLA without at least one visit to the cemetery. This was taken at Lafayette Cemetery No 1
Taking the Paddle Boat down the Mississippi while listening to live music was a wonderful experience. Warning save your money and skip the dinner.
Taking the Paddle Boat down the Mississippi while listening to live music was a wonderful experience. Warning: save your money and skip the dinner.

We stayed in the French Quarter and walked everywhere, even late at night we felt safe.

Have you been to both of these cities? If so which one do you prefer? Have you been to one but not the other? Maybe you have not been to either. If you had to choose one which would it be: New York or New Orleans?

 

 

 

K is for Kissing in the Rain

Yes, I’m a few days behind on my blog challenge, so to make it up,  I’m listing my top five favorite kissing in the rain movie scenes. K is for Kissing in the Rain

1) Has to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Something about the desperate lip lock in the pouring rain is so…so primal.

In my up coming book, Lone Star Hero, she kisses her hero in the rain. Have to say it was one of my favorite scene to write.

In real life it might be more awkward and cold than romantic but that’s why we love fiction. Here are my 2-5

2) Spiderman

Kissing in the rain turned up-side down by Spiderman
Kissing in the rain turned up-side down by Spiderman

 

3) Notebook

Kissing in the rain including clingy white shirt in Notebook
Kissing in the rain including clingy white shirt in Notebook

 

4) Australia  (Hugh Jackman)

Hugh Jackman in Australia - enough said
Hugh Jackman in Australia – enough said . Is it just me are does she not look wet?

 

5) 50 First Dates

Kissing in the rain from 50 First Dates.
Kissing in the rain from 50 First Dates.

 

Did I miss one of your favorites?

With age, you s…

With age, you see people fail more. You see yourself fail more. How do you keep that fearlessness of a kid? You keep going. Luckily, I’m not afraid to make a fool of myself. – Hugh Jackman

In the A to Z blogging challange we have arrived to the letter  J….uhmm…what do you think comes to mind?  I know an actor that has the last name of Jackman.

Is that Hugh Jackman on my blog again? He really needs to stop following me.
Is that Hugh Jackman on my blog again? He really needs to stop following me.

Another J that brings me joy is Jackson Pollock – “I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.”

Jackson Pollock 1946 Eyes in the Heat
Jackson Pollock 1946 Eyes in the Heat

If you have never “dripped painted” before, you should try it…it really is a joyful experience.

Jackson Pollock Number 8 1949
Jackson Pollock Number 8 1949

Now that I think about it – the person that brings me the most joy is Fred, his real name is Jesus. Yes, ironic because that makes me think of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who I give joyful thanks for everything in my life. The word teaches us to live a life without fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

(self-control, really? – the whole eating habit thing keeps haunting me.)

What inspires you? How do you get past the fear to be the person you where created to be? Fearless?

I is for I LOVE YOU

I is for I LOVE YOU

For the A to Z blogging challenge we have arrived to I. For the letter I I’m rambling on about the phrase I LOVE YOU.

 

I was researching ways to say I love you. Guess what I found – tons of ideas that had to do with food. Makes me think of my earlier post about eating habits.

How we love is the core of our childhood.

I will always love you - I almost cried every time I read this to my babies
I will always love you – I almost cried every time I read this to my babies

The words “I LOVE YOU.” are so important to some, to others it is about actions. Words mean little if not followed up by action.

One of my favorite books is The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.  How do you show love? What makes you feel loved?

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

 

You can take a survey and find out what you value. You can also explore your children’s love language. Do they feel loved by words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, thoughtful gifts, or physical touch. For some, one hug means more than 100 words.

SO how do you say I LOVE YOU….how do you know your loved?

 

 

 

H is for Hero – Do you really need one?

I’m a child of the 80’s and one of my favorite past-times was watching MTV at my BF, DeDe’s house. (I lived out of town and only got four stations.) Bonnie Taylor’s song, Holding Out for a Hero, was one we loved watching over and over again. Looking at it now I find it a little bazaar and twisted.

My mom said, “She doesn’t need a hero, get that girl a gun.” My mother was a wee bit independent and yes, we had a 22 hanging over our front door. Always loaded, because you might need it, but that’s a story for another day.

Now I write about hero’s and post pictures of my favorites.

Hugh starts with an H too.
Hugh starts with an H too.

Yes, readers and writers know the difference between reality and fantasy. That’s the point. I mean when we watched Wizard of Oz we knew clicking our heels wouldn’t get us anywhere, we might imagine it, but we knew it wouldn’t really happen.

Same way with the heroes in romance novels. We want them to seem real, but not too real. That’s part of the fun, right?

There are all kind of heroes: the bad boy, the lawman, superheroes, and poets. You have the classic prince and outlaw. Some tortured souls and others are healers. The warriors and protectors stand strong above all others. The man that will sacrifice all for love even his ego.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor - in the rain.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor – in the rain.
Come on, I can’t talk about heroes without at least one picture of Thor. (Shout out Joni Hahn and Sasha Summers)

When we close the book, the real heroes are in our lives, men and women that are there everyday, are waiting for us even when we sneak away to another world.

What is your favorite kind of hero? If you leave a name or post a photo, I’m add them to my hero board in pinterest.

One more of Hugh, just because I can.
One more of Hugh, just because I can.

I got this idea from my daughter’s blog
http://stormi16.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/do-i-really-need-a-hero/