Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cost of Food: Artichoke & Lemon Chicken w/ Capers

I have always been interested in the cost of my food.  How much does cooking my own food really save me?  How much am I wasting by buying $9 burrito bowls at Habaneros?  Are some recipes just extremely extravagant that I shouldn't even bother with them?

Since I bought a pile of groceries today after moving in to my new space I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see the cost of my dinner tonight.  I pulled out a new recipe book - 21 Day Sugar Detox.  Essentially this book has a lot of low-carb recipes and I wouldn't consider it a traditional 'I-juice-everything-detox' but more of a 'let's-eat-more-vegetables-and protein' detox.

I bought all the ingredients for 'Artichoke & Lemon Chicken with Capers'.  A google search of this exact recipe will give you countless very similar recipes if you didn't necessarily want to purchase 21DSD.  The version I have is great, since it is a one pot (or pan) creation.

The dinner was delicious and it included a rather tasty roasted dandelion tea - I recommend the drink at least!

Capers are a bit too salty for my liking but I am a huge artichoke fan.  While buying the ingredients for this dish I actually bought one of the jars of marinated artichoke hearts - which I will most likely consume straight from the container.  I added a classic Heidi Salad to the side: greens, balsamic vinegar, and cherry tomatoes cut in half with kitchen scissors.  Trying to cut them while holding them in my hand really is the fun part.

The breakdown:

Chicken thighs - $6.10
Lemon (3) - $2.69
Artichoke - $3.49
1/2 Red Onion - $.99
Capers - $2.79
Olive oil - not calculated
Greens - not calculated
Tomatoes - not calculated

Total cost represents one plate, this recipe made enough for two.

Total Cost: $8.03

I'm not sure what I think of the price.  Is it typical of most meals I consume?  Can I eat cheaper without sacrificing taste, preparation, or health?

Sunday, January 19, 2014


A testimony in a lot of ways is a big coming out of sorts.  It's kind of like saying "this is all the shit that is wrong with me, and I am still a Christian".  It is a way for you, friend, to know some details about me as well.  Maybe things that are scandalous, or things that you didn't know before.

Why post it on the internet?

I feel like God is calling me to.  (Cop out?)

Other reasons...

This is a great way to set up multiple other blog posts on topics that I would like to cover, and this would be great stepping stone.

This is a way to connect to more people, and to influence more people.

This is a way to share a story of God's patience and love.

This is a way that is relevant.

This is it:

I have always considered myself a Christian

When I have been asked to tell my testimony before, I have always given a very glossed over story of my life.  I would say something along the lines of, “I’ve always felt I was a Christian, and I remember my sister telling me about being a Christian when I was about 7.”  I would say that “I’ve always been to church for most of my life, there was a period when I was a teenager that I didn’t go…” and the thought kind of trails off.  “I’ve always considered myself a Christian.” “I grew up in a Christian home.”  I’ve always tried to create the most boring testimony ever, and pray that no one asks questions.

I’ve always considered myself a Christian, and in saying that, I’ve always been a Christian – if I considered it or not.  I have three older siblings (and a mother and father who were and still together) and the younger of my two older sisters told me about Jesus and how you become a Christian.  I remember exactly the time of day (night), where (in our shared room, on my bed) and how I felt when I became a Christian.
We would all go to church regularly, but on some special Sundays we wouldn't.  That would mean being able to sleep in – so I have to confess, I did look forward to those special ones.  We wouldn't attend Christmas services, I only remember going to one or two, as we regarded Christmas more of a time to spend together, and not in the uncomfortable crowd of extra people at the church and in uncomfortable clothes.  Despite this, we still considered ourselves Christians.
I distinctly remember our family not fitting in with our small conservative church of middle class.  We had enough money, but not enough money.  We had education, but my parents, especially my mother, was a little bit too liberal i.e. too educated.  We weren’t as cool as the pastor’s kids, none of us kids played instruments on stage or sang and we were never considered wholesome Christian kids.  I still considered us Christians.
I remember the first time the police were at my house.  I was very young.  Over the years of my childhood my parents would fight to the point that one of them would phone the police in an effort that somehow these strangers could fix their problems with their authority and presence.  It would only be a band-aid solution for the moment and it never fixed their problems.  Eventually, my oldest sibling, my brother, would be the reason for these calls.  I remember the first time I called them, not knowing what to say, panic in my voice, hand trembling at the phone – my brother and dad were fighting, and to someone as young as I was, it seemed like my whole world was crushing down on me – falling apart as I watched.
I still considered myself a Christian through this time.  My mother, in an attempt to regain some sort of moral or ethical reign on the house as my brother left to live with the Pastor of our church, and eventually in his own apartment, she would get the whole family to sit down and we would have a family devotion before we would go to school.  My sisters and I saw through her attempts, as most children can in situations like that.
When I was in my early teens, those phone calls to the police were for me.  I would physically fight with my father and he would with me.  My mother, somewhere in the background yelling, phoning the police and me – a teenage girl fighting with her dad, someone who is supposed to love me, protect me, and support me.  I don’t remember many details, except for the extremely memorable ones, that are usually the most horrific ones.  I felt abandoned, unloved, unwanted – not just by one parent, but by both.  My mother who made excuses for my dad and blamed me, in my mind, was just as wrong – if not more wrong – than what my Dad did out of anger my Mom would justify with a cold heart. 
I still considered us Christians, and myself a Christian through this.
I went to University a few years later, with no real direction or aspirations.  I met my first boyfriend there and within a year I was married. 

I am a statistic.

I am a statistic: a 20-something-married-too-young-divorced-Christian.
My marriage imitated my childhood.  While it didn’t contain the amount of violence that my childhood had, it did contain some to make it just horrible enough.  While I still don’t have the maturity or the wisdom to accurately give a description of what went wrong in my marriage I can say that I was heartbroken.  I was heartbroken over the relationship but on the other side I was heartbroken about every other relationship that ended because of our decision to get divorced.
I was a member of a church in Halifax – which I am no longer a member of.  I had friends that I no longer consider friends and a pastor that wasn’t very pastoral to my time in need. 
During the months that followed the separation I chose bad decision after bad decision.   I failed a few of my classes that last semester of my undergraduate degree (I ended up graduating - and I am 2nd degree'ing it now).  I turned to marijuana and alcohol – getting high and/or drunk for weeks and weeks.  Most painfully I began a relationship – and I use that word as lightly as I can – with a man that had no place being in my life or in my bed.

I was completely lost.

Where were my people?  Where were the people that would take care of me?  Love me no matter what?  Love me unconditionally?
I still considered myself a Christian through this.  Why?  I’m honestly not entirely sure.  In my darkest moments I knew that there was something more.  I knew that the people that were in my life – my parents, my friends, and the people in my church – were only people.  And they were all people that were incredibly disappointing.  Realizing this was almost comforting and I have become more accepting of the disappointment as the years go on.  My childhood should not have been one full of horrible memories – and that is disappointing.  My marriage should not have been so incredibly painful – and that is disappointing.  And that summer, that was full of alcohol, drugs, and regret - was also full of disappointments – and I was probably the biggest disappointment of it all. 


Through this all – God was with me. 

Mathew 28:20 says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” and I believe that God was with me through my childhood - through every relationship I've had, through every mistake and right now.  While I made that conscious decision with my sister, on that night, in our shared room to become a Christian – I believe that God has chosen me every day since. 


While this may be painful for some people to read, it is important for me to share it.
I have had this written for a few weeks, so this is not a whim for me to be publishing it.  I have thought long and hard about putting it on the internet, and I believe this is where it should be.

If you are dealing with any of the issues I have mentioned, please email me.  I would be more than happy to help you find support or be a listening ear.  

As always, much love from me to you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Retreat Jan 2014

Fireworks in the snow.
I have just returned from a youth retreat with two other leaders and five kids.  To say that I was a 'leader' would probably be stretching the truth, I mostly just acted as a warm bodied adult and the other leaders took care of the rest.  :)

The theme of the weekend was ideas around 'following' and what it means to seek out solace, the Sabbath, or 'retreating'.  Which is completely hilarious if you know me.

Retreating into a cottage, in the woods, two hours from the city, with a bunch of people (yes, people!) where I have to actually interact with them on daily basis (hourly, minute) is not something I would necessarily call a 'retreat'.  After being home for a few hours now, I have retreated inside, I retreated to my bed.  I have found solace among my familiar things.  I have found comfort in being home.  (Maybe I finally know what it means to go on a 'retreat' - it's physically what you do after to get away from the participants!).

Obligatory hair braiding by a Jr. High'er :)
Don't get me wrong - friendships have started and others have strengthened, there was interesting conversation and fun games played.  I did enjoy myself.  (I swear!)

But I did spend some time thinking about the word 'retreat' and the ideas that surround it.  What are we actually 'retreating' from?  Can we name it?  Is it something we do, does it have a face?  Does it have something to do with being uncomfortable, or are retreating from the comfortable to the uncomfortable?  What purpose would being uncomfortable serve in an intentional Christian community?

We can gain deeper friendships and stronger relationships.  Which takes effort, and patience, and time.  And being uncomfortable, especially for this secret introverted girl.

For now - I will catch up on sleep and eat some vegetables (I only had a few carrots!) and think more about what it takes to gain friendships and to be uncomfortable.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Classes & Candy

The beginning of a new semester!  New classes, new professors, more friends, more homework, more exams!!  I am excited for this semester because I am finally taking nutrition classes which I am in school for! At the end of last semester I was a little worried about whether this was actually what I wanted to go back to school for.  A second degree is tough.  I feel older (because I am) than most of the other students (although there is quite a bit of us with other degrees) and I feel more mature than other students.  But after finally taking nutrition courses I feel more confident in my decision to still be in school and to be a pursuing a better future for myself.

Winter 2014 Classes 

I am continuing the second half of Anatomy and Physiology (one class, they are combined at my school).  I'm also taking an Intro Foods class that is all about animals.  In the first class we watched a video of a man squeezing out fish eggs of a female fish, then squeezing out the sperm of the male fish and mixing it all together in a bowl! (With his bare hand)!  

I am also in a business class, micronutrients and sports nutrition.  Expect lots of future posts about sports nutrition!  

Stuff I've been enjoying

I wasn't planning on going to the gym yesterday (even though I ended up going - and I hurt my hamstring!) so I went for an hour walk before my last class of the day (which is pretty late, 6-7pm).  I walk for 30 minutes in one direction, and I turn around and head back.  I ended up in this really neat natural foods store!  I had no idea it existed!  I got some candy (pictured) that I'll definitely be back for. :)  

Honey Twins still has sugar in it, but it is made with gelatin and has no artificial flavors, colouring, or preservatives.  It also has some legit vitamins and minerals: vitamin C, E, B5, B6, B1, niacin and biotin.  I highly doubt conventional gummy bears are similar. ;)

I picked up a devotional for the beginning of the year, The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer.  Super cheesy title, but some really great stuff inside.  It is not Bible heavy, but mostly just inspirational thoughts, stories, or ideas to think about to help gain more confidence, or trust, in yourself.  I recommend it!

The following is a quote that I pulled from the devotional for today, January 9:

I am looking forward to writing more about my studies, training, and my life with the readers of this small and humble blog.  I have big plans for this (and for my life) and I want to use this place as a way to document it and to share the journey.  I hope you will bookmark the home page and add me to the list of blogs you regularly read!  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Obligatory New Year Post

Do you know specifically what your resolution was for last year?  Did you write it down somewhere?  Or was it something vague - like lose weight, be more productive, eat healthy?

Well - I actually do have a Goals for 2013 list.  I actually have two of them which add up to 10 points I wanted to accomplish plus a mini list of revisions.

Ugh  - let's just say I overshot the whole resolutions thing last year.  I had goals for my GPA, for the number of push-ups I wanted to do, chin-ups, pull-ups and dips.  I wanted to accomplish specific yoga poses and to hit certain numbers on my front squat, deadlift, floor press, and overhead press. 

I hit my goal of a 125lb front squat and a 75lb overhead press (I actually think I can OHP more than that, I'm not sure of the specific number at them moment). 

Two goals accomplished out of 10?  Hmmm.... not bad?!

Perhaps I should have focused on three or four things and worked really hard to accomplish those. Or, maybe I should have made a better plan on how I was going to go about accomplishing all ten goals in 365 days. 

A better plan.  Losers set goals.  Winners set plans?  

My Plan for 2014

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure. 

I want to focus on my career and education, and really decide and think about where I want both to take me.

I want to 'eat better' which basically means stop eating shit that makes me feel like shit.  I want to follow a meal plan, create a better food budget, and learn new recipes.

I want to do and be so much more than what I am today, and that will be my resolution.  Maybe I'll even drop the 'more' and just, be.