Ripe bananas…

January 21, 2019

What do you do with your extra ripe bananas?

I was looking for something different than the typical banana bread or muffins. Then I remembered my husband really likes baked oatmeal and it has been quite some time since I made him any. There are many different varieties, we enjoy the blueberry too; but today I searched for a banana recipe to use up some ripe bananas. Makes a nice quick, easy breakfast when it’s made ahead of time or super delicious served fresh and warm right out of the oven.

My recipe is adapted from the one I found from ‘love grows wild’ blog.

Banana Baked Oatmeal
4 cups old fashioned oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
4 cups milk
2 cups banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup walnuts, chopped & toasted

Preheat oven to 350*. Start by placing chopped walnuts on pan and roasting in oven for 5 minutes. Also prepare 13×9 pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, eggs, vanilla, and banana. Then slowly whisk in melted butter.
Then add the rest of the dry ingredients (except walnuts); stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes.

Serve warm or cover in airtight container and enjoy several days for quick, easy, healthy breakfast.

banana baked oatmealEnjoy!

Joy in all circumstances…

January 18, 2019

Finding more joy, sharing more joy, overall just being more joyful, regardless of the circumstances, has been part of my resolution for this year. I feel very fortunate in my life that my ‘circumstances’ have been good….I do not feel like I’ve had to go through any great trials. I haven’t had to fear for a sick child’s life, my and my husband’s health has been good, and I still thankfully have all of my parents and grandparents. Praise God; I am so very thankful and truly know how fortunate I am. I thank God daily for His goodness.

But what about if and when my circumstances may not be so rosey and fortunate? His word tells us to find joy in the not so nice and easy circumstances too. I have many, many friends, family, and even some I do not know, that are really struggling right now, with some very hard circumstances…their health, their children’s health, divorce, etc. I pray for them and believe in the power of prayer and when I can, share verses or words of encouragement with them.

But sometimes I feel guilty doing so…wondering how they are receiving it. Like, sure it’s easy for her to share a verse about finding joy, she’s not walking in our shoes right now. No, I’m not, and I hope if I ever have to I will be able to use my own words as advice for coping during that time. But what if I don’t share it, all hope for finding peace, joy, and comfort in the Lord may be lost.

I felt this devotional was beneficial:

https://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/encouragement/encouragement-for-today-january-17-2019.html

Not only does it have a reference to baking πŸ˜‰ but explains that joy and hurt can coexist. We don’t expect all things to turn to roses in a tough situation just because we throw up a ‘Praise Jesus.’ But, this may be more realistic:
That’s why I’m glad these verses don’t say ‘feel the joy’ but instead, ‘consider where some glimpses of joy might be even in the midst of all the hurt.

I pray we can all find glimpses of joy amongst any trials (great or small) we’re going through. And realizing, although it may sound cliche, that we do truly go through everything for a reason; whether it’s to shape who we are or bring out the better in someone else, or be there to comfort someone as they walk through a similar trial. God knows best, trust Him that he is with you in all your are going through and all that lies ahead.

The prayer warrior that I am wants to pray for you! Most times out running I am praying the whole time; even for random strangers. So if you have a prayer request feel free to comment or send me a private message. Know that I will pray for you, your circumstances, and that you can find joy and peace along the way. ❀

My drug of choice…

January 13, 2019

Four and half hours of sleep, 19* outside, and 6 miles around town solo, in the dark with no music…doesn’t really sound like the recipe for an awesome run, does it? The x-factor? β˜•

I am super sensitive to caffeine and always avoid it unless 1. I need to make a longer drive and fear falling asleep (rare) or 2. I like to have a tiny bit before I run. I guess honestly, I use it like a drug. 😜 I haven’t ‘used’ caffeine since last June before my half marathon. I have avoided it due to pregnancy and now nursing. I’m sure the baby isn’t used to it at all since I dont ever consume it. I’m told only 1 % enters your breast milk. I took my chances this morning since I had such little sleep and wanted to head out for a run; it would be such a small amount consumed, and at least 2-3 hours before he ate again.

Anyway, that tiny bit of caffeine today made me feel like I could run forever! I have been enjoying my runs post-baby, but this was the first time in a longggg time that I had that feeling like I could run forever. I was really slow, but still, I love that feeling! I set out to do 5, being a weekend I had more time, then 5 turned into 5.5, and then heck, I might as well do 6! I honestly could have kept going (at my snails pace), but figured the baby would be waking back up and wanting to eat again soon.

Thankful each time I’m able to get out for a run, and super thankful for that ‘I could run forever’ feeling this morning! Thanks to a little caffeine! πŸ˜‰ Makes me hopeful that I do still have a marathon in me somewhere, eventually. 😊

Get it in when you can…

January 4, 2019

Happy New Year!

We seriously have such a good baby, but he’s still a baby and babies can be very demanding, requiring almost all of your time and attention. So finding any time to run has been difficult.

In the past I’ve always been a creature of habit. I’m a morning person and like to get up early to get my run in. After all no one tends to need me at 4:30am and I’m not sacrificing anything but my own sleep. Well now someone does tend to need me at 4:30am and sleep is a hot commodity!

In the past I hated running any time but the mornings because I would typically get really bad shin splints for whatever reason. I could never really explain it but it always seemed to happen with runs later in the day as opposed to morning runs. I also like to run on an empty stomach because heart burn/indigestion usual results.

Lately I’ve come to the realization that I just have to go when I can find the time; when the opportunity presents itself whether it’s 4am, 9pm, or like today, 45* and I’m able to take the stroller. And as much as I hate, hate, hate the treadmill, I’m probably going to have to resort to using that as well.

If you want something bad enough, or if you love something enough! You’ll find a way! Today the whole crew tagged along! The kids didn’t mind since it’s been months since they’ve been able to ride bike. It’s not very common to have our bikes out in January! (*Baby was very bundled and closed up tight in the stroller; he stayed very warm for the 33 minutes we were out! πŸ˜‰)

Lastly, to celebrate the new year and I guess to act as a resolution of sorts for myself, I signed up for the marathon I’ve been wanting to complete for two years. It’s not until December 2019 and I never commit early, but this one is kind of pricey and there was an early bird special so I decided to go for it! Now I just need to get back in marathon shape/lose my baby weight, but it’s definitely a good motivator and I’m dreaming of it already!

The next little chef…

December 29, 2018

Christmas break has been rush, rush, rush, with the last of 5 different get togethers today. I was thankful for two days of downtime, including yesterday when Lila and I enjoyed time cooking together. ❀

She received an awesome gift for Christmas from her aunt and uncle; it’s one of those subscription box gifts for kids. We’ve been given the kiwi crate one previously, which I would highly recommend for kids of any age; great stem, fun learning activities. This subscription box is cooking themed, called radish kids. The first box came with three different recipes, as well as an apron and her own measuring cups. The instructions are step by step with color pictures, easy to understand for an 8 year old. (A younger child would also benefit if they had help reading the instructions!) There was a grocery list of ingredients included also. My daughter was able to plan dinner, participate in the grocery shopping, and then make dinner with minimal help. She leaned a lot and was so proud of herself. She couldn’t wait for her daddy to try it. She tried to pull a fast one on him and tell him I made it because she wanted his true reaction and then to tell him she had made it. 😁

The recipes included in this box were minestrone soup and rosemary focaccia. Two things she had never eaten before, let alone made. There was also a recipe for hot cocoa cupcakes and a gift of spiced cider that we’re saving for another time.

She really enjoyed the whole process and I was thankful for this gift and the gift of time spent with her, and sharing something that I love to do with her!

She enjoyed being able to cut up everything herself with the kid friendly knives they received for Christmas last year. I’m always thankful for their help cutting things up! They work pretty well!

In addition to learning some knife skills, she also learned about yeast while making the bread and letting it rise. It was a great experience and both turned out delicious!

It was a perfect day of Christmas break and the food was delicious! And the time spent together was priceless!

Expectations…

December 22, 2018

I’m still loving it! Although I didn’t really take a whole lot of time away from running (thankfully), I wasn’t sure what to expect getting back into it post-baby. With my other two, I hadn’t been this much into running yet, so I wasn’t trying to get back out there, pounding the pavement, as soon as I could. I expected to, or hoped to be able to run by 6 weeks but other than that I really didn’t know what to expect. Maybe that was best because I guess I have exceeded my expectations with running at 4 weeks postpartum. However I am slower than I guess I anticipated and it’s been slow getting back into it.

With that being said this morning’s run felt amazing! First time I upped my mileage to five. I was honestly getting tired of my normal 4 mile route around town so I did an out and back. I felt good at 2 so I turned around at 2.5. thankfully I still felt great when I made it back, despite the nasty wind and some slippery spots out there! My time is slowly improving and I can’t complain at all since baby is just shy of 2 months old.

I’m honestly just thankful for any time I get to run…mornings out are hit or miss, totally dependent on when the baby wakes up/eats/goes back down. I always have my running clothes laid out so when the opportunity presents itself I can grab my stuff and hurry out the door! I’m thankful for every opportunity I get!

So all in all my take away I guess is the fact that I’ve had very little expectations with getting back into running, which has lead me to be happy with where I’m at currently! If you’re in the same boat, maybe not postpartum, but getting back into running or whatever it is you’re passion about…give yourself some slack, set realistic goals, and allow yourself to celebrate little victories along the way! ❀

I’ve also spent lots of time in the kitchen this past week … mostly early mornings and nap times, to get my Christmas baking done. If time allows I’ll share some recipes with you soon! Until then enjoy this Christmas season! πŸŽ„β€

Encouragement

December 11, 2018

It’s easy to become discouraged… whether it’s ‘my times are so slow’ getting back into running, or ‘I still have 10+ pounds to lose,’ or ‘I need to be a better parent/spouse.’ Just layin’ it all out there because I’m willing to bet you can relate to one if not all of those statements. It’s so easy to become discouraged…so here’s some encouragement for me and you both…

1. Whatever you’re plugging away at…keep doing it. Baby steps… And it’s ok to celebrate little achievements/improvements along the way.

2. Be patient…it doesn’t happen over night. (Whether it’s a goal or weight loss etc.) As for baby weight, as I’ve heard myself tell friends and had to tell myself…it took 9 months to put that weight on, give yourself a break, it may take some time, be patient (and continue to work at it).

3. Focus on the positive things and small victories- ‘yay! We made it out of the house for school this morning without any yelling/bickering!’

4. Sometimes when you’re at a low point and having a hard time focusing on the positive, lift your eyes to the Big Guy. I’m convinced Satan wants us to focus on the negative…it makes us miserable and in that state we definitely aren’t glorifying God. I have to remind myself of this and not let him win! Remind yourself through God’s word, just how much He loves us. He knows everything about us, all our thoughts and screw ups and He still loves us, immeasurably so.

So chin-up buttercup. I think we’re all in the same boat, at one point or another anyway. We all need encouragement. Wouldn’t this world be a beautiful place if we all loved one another? Gave encouragement to those around us…were real with ourselves and others. It’s OK to admit we need encouragement. We all do!

Today I’m choosing to celebrate small victories, as my run felt great this morning…and I’m just thankful for whenever I can get out!

And I’m even more thankful for and encouraged by God’s love for me!

Be encouraged, you’re a child of God!

Sugar cookies

December 6, 2018

Need a quick sugar cookie recipe? Not the kind you spend hours rolling out, cutting, then frosting…those are great but I don’t (currently) have time for that. Not only that, but the reason I’m baking these ones today is per my grandpa’s request. πŸ˜„ He told me his mom used to make them, with a raisin on top. So today, I’m adding a raisin on top for Grandpa! ❀ It’s special things like that, that I love to know and that allow baking to have a special meaning as well.

Anyway, to not keep you waiting for the recipe… (Did you know according to Facebook people just come for the recipe, no one wants all this chit chat lol πŸ™„πŸ˜‚πŸ˜œ)

Like I said, lately I’m short on time and this recipe came from one of those lovely church cookbooks…so I simply took a picture of it for you rather than taking the time to retype it. (Forgive me!) These cookies are pillowy soft and you can dress them up with sprinkles to suit any holiday! The secret ingredient is nutmeg- Adds the perfect touch! You may even want to add it to your own roll-out sugar cookie recipe!

Enjoy!

Formal introduction…

November 21, 2018

While blogging about the baby in my last post, I realized he was probably not properly introduced or formally announced to the blog world. 😚😜

This is Mr. Henry born October 23rd.

Posing with his medal from his first half marathon; hey, he was there! 😁 And dreaming sweet dreams of more races in his future. β€πŸƒ We are totally in love! 😍

In addition to sharing our new addition, there’s something to satisfy the bakers here, too. I like to bake for people to thank them sometimes. For the OB doctor and nurses I made this Nutella cheesecake (my doctor had a bit of a love for Nutella…) I made it a week or two in advance and then put it in the freezer so I could take it out and take with me when the time came! I think it went over well; everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Ferrero Rocher Nutella Cheesecake: I can’t take credit for the recipe, but I did adapt it some from the original (found at bestcookingtime.com). I can tell you it’s super rich, for a good reason- it contains almost 3 whole jars of Nutella.

Ferrero Rocher Nutella Cheesecake
For a 10″ cheesecake:
Crust:
2 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
1 cups rice krispies cereal, slightly crushed
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup Nutella
Cheesecake:
4 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 eggs
4 tbsp corn starch
1 3/4 cups Nutella (15.9 oz container + 1/4 cup)
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Ganache topping:
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate (chips or finely chopped)
1/2 cup Nutella
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
*Reserve 1 cup of the ganache mixture to decorate the top

For the crust: Line the outside of a 10″ spring form pan with two layers of foil to protect from water seeping in while cooking in water bath.
Combine the dry ingredients. Then combine butter and Nutella and microwave 30-45 seconds until melted. Mix together with dry ingredients. Press in bottom and up sides of pan. Set aside.
For the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350*.
Combine cream cheese, sore cream, sugar, whipping cream and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing just long enough incorporate.
Scrape sides of bowl and mix in corn starch. Add in the Nutella and melted chocolate, mix until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Place prepared pan/cheesecake in a roaster type pan that will hold water to bake cheesecake in a water bath. Fill with hot water around cheesecake, 3/4 up the side.
Bake on the middle rack at 350* for the first 30 minutes, then decrease temperature to 250* and bake for another 75 minutes. Then turn off oven and let sit for one hour with oven off. Remove from oven and allow for cool to room temperature before placing in refrigerator.

To make the ganache: Combine chopped chocolate, Nutella, whipping cream and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 1 minute intervals until melted and without lumps. Reserve one cup for decorating the top. Then add the chopped nuts to what remains and pour over the top of the completely cooled cheesecake.

Chill and enjoy!

Back at it…

November 20, 2018

I’ve started to write a few different blog posts since the baby was born 4 weeks ago and none of them have made it past the ‘draft’ stage lol. Been a little busy…

But I did set a goal for myself to do a Thanksgiving run… because I always enjoy a nice early morning Thanksgiving run. It’s my second favorite holiday (second to 4th of July) and I always use my running time as time spent with God, time to reflect, think, be thankful…so Thanksgiving day is definitely a great time for all of that! And I’ve definitely been itching to get back out there!

Anyway, the baby has been a great sleeper at night for the most part and it just happened to work out that I was feeding him from 4:45- 5:45am and thought ‘hey I have time to squeeze a little run in.’ By the time I actually finished feeding him and got around and out the door, I only had 30 minutes before I had to be back to get the older two ready for school…so I did what I could. I was a bit slow but trying to cut myself some slack, right?

I was proud of myself for being out there 4 weeks post-baby. It wasn’t without some aches and pains but nothing to write home about. I’m sure each run will improve.

I’m already very aware that it’s going to be more of a challenge to get out running. If it were the time of year where the weather was nice, I could pick up and go with the baby jogging stroller, but I don’t want to take him out in the too awful cold.

For any other new moms or moms-to-be that run and are reading this, I’ve done some reading about nursing and running also. I wasn’t as big into running back when my other two were born, so this is new to me and I had some questions/concerns!

Some of the articles I found helpful:

https://www.lllusa.org/running-and-breastfeeding/

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/6-things-i-wish-i-knew-about-breastfeeding-and-exercise/

https://www.womensrunning.com/2016/01/training/tips-breastfeeding-runners_53288

Hopefully if someone like myself is looking for input, they will find this helpful!

Looking forward to more runs in the near future!