Thursday, June 19, 2014

A little obsessed...

So I'm sure this will pass. It's a fad just like any other. But I've been eating tons of PB2 lately... and I can't stop.

One of my favorite meals to make is One Pot Wonder Thai Peanut Pasta. It's not the healthiest thing in the world (but I'm getting visions of replacing peanut butter with PB2 and trying it out asap!) so when I saw this recipe for PB2 Thai Noodles, I thought I should probably try it out. The recipe was a bit incomplete - it's funny because the Bell Plantation website (they are the PB2 people) even put a disclaimer about the recipe that sounded something like "we didn't try this recipe out, so we can't guarantee that it's any good and won't give you diseases." One of my weaknesses is that I rarely read a recipe all the way through before starting so I didn't see that until I was halfway through cooking the meal. I also didn't see that the directions were incomplete, so I had to wing it a bit. The good news is... I am moving away from the timid baker that needs to have every little thing spelled out for her and can make it work on my own!

So below is the recipe... Their ingredients. My directions. Teamwork, I'd say. And I think it was a success!

PB2 Thai Noodles

2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
8 tbsps PB2
4 tbsps water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha (they called for a different type of chili sauce, this is all I had)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lb thin spaghetti noodles (I used about 12 oz. of gemelli noodles because that's all I had)
2 carrots
1 sweet red pepper (I used 2 to make up for my lack of pasta)
8 green onions (I didn't use any because I didn't have any)

For the sauce, mix PB2 with the water. Add the ginger, garlic, chicken broth, soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and brown sugar and use a whisk to combine. Set aside.

Peel and cut carrots into small matchsticks. Seed and cut the red pepper into thin slices that are similar to your carrot slices. Clean and cut onions into thin rounds.

Bring some water to boil and cook your pasta for the designated time. While the pasta is cooking, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and stir fry the vegetables on medium heat until crisp/tender.

When the vegetables are close to your desired crispness (or maybe even a little under done), add the sauce and bring to a boil. When the pasta is done cooking, add the pasta to the saucy vegetables and cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced to your desired amount of sauciness. And enjoy!

Also, Ive got another PB2 recipe that I've been enjoying that is SUPER easy and really delicious.

PB2 Banana Dessert (a really original name... I just made it up)

1 banana
1 tbsp mini chocolate chips
2 tbsps PB2

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice a banana. Make a pouch out of foil and put the banana slices inside. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and PB2. Close up the pouch and cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes depending on how soft you want your bananas. That's it!

Alright, that's enough PB2 for one night...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Nice night for a drive...

I went for a drive tonight. I mowed the lawn and the lawn mower ran out of gas half way through and I decided I didn't want to deal with it. So I hopped in the car, headed to Sonic for a Diet Cherry Limemade, and just started driving.

Independence, at least just outside of Independence is actually really beautiful. The Little Blue Trace Trail is one of my favorite things now and the area around it is just pretty special. I took a different route through the area than I have in the past and happened upon this.

"This being... what, exactly?" you ask. Beauty. I need to go on drives more often...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Try-It Tuesday (or Wednesday): PB2 Frozen PB Cups

I'm a bit of a baker. This can cause problems as most baked goods are not healthy and I am back trying to eat healthy again. If you've been around me for long you've probably heard my rant that sounds a little like this: "Desserts aren't meant to be healthy. The second you try to make them healthy they won't taste very good and they still won't be as healthy as something that is truly healthy so there is no point in trying to make them healthy. You might as well eat the real thing... just in moderation."

This is all well in good until you struggle with the "moderation" thing. I'm not so good at it - which is what put me in this overweight predicament in the first place. So I'm on the lookout for desserty foods that are on the healthier side that don't completely compromise their desserty name. And tonight... tonight I found one...

Have you heard of PB2? It's this powdered peanut butter (you can add a little bit of water to it to give it the PB consistency) that has way fewer calories than the normal stuff. I love peanut butter. It's something I really miss when I am on a diet - I just don't eat it because it is so fatty. So I decided to try out PB2 to see if this healthier alternative would satisfy my cravings - and it did! It is not as good as normal peanut butter - I'm not going to even pretend that it is. But it was still really good, especially when combined with other things. Which brings me back to this healthy dessert I was telling you about...

PB2 Frozen PB Cups

8 ounces Cool Whip Fat Free
7 tablespoons PB2
4 tablespoons water
Hershey's Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup

Thaw the Cool Whip. In a bowl, add the water to the PB2 and stir to combine. Add the PB mixture to the thawed Cool Whip and stir to combine. Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and divvy up the Cool Whip mixture into the 12 cups. Drizzle the Hershey's syrup on top. Freeze for about an hour then enjoy!

(The key players.) 

(As you can see, the simple drizzle was ugly so I started taking a knife through it to give it the marbly look.)

I really liked this dessert. I whipped it up (ha, whipped it up... get it?) in about 5 minutes. And it is especially refreshing being a chilled dessert in these hot summer months. And if you're a Weight Watchers girl like myself, it's only 1 point. Ridiculous, right? (If you're interested in trying out PB2 it's a bit difficult to find in store and is a bit more expensive than regular peanut butter. But I bought a big jar on Amazon and it wasn't too bad.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Beautiful nights.

(Rosedale Park.)

It's raining. Have I mentioned that I don't love rain so much? To counteract the rain, I spent my evening at Starbucks... Because if it's going to rain, you might as well post up in a cozy coffee shop. Am I right?

Last night, on the other hand... was perfect. I spent the whole evening outside starting with a bike ride, then a walk, then some disc golf, then finishing things up with some tasty Mexican food on the patio of one of my new favorite places, Taco Republic.

Here are a few pictures from the night. I'm thankful for summers. And nice weather. And rainy weather that makes you even more thankful for nice weather (and I suppose it's good for watering the earth and cooling things down and such...) I'm just thankful for beautiful nights.

(The drive through downtown...)

(Disc golf with some of my favorite people: Julie and Anthony.)

Friday, June 6, 2014

A beacon.

I started reading the devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young a few months ago. I was a skeptic because I used to think devotional books were kind of lame. But my friend Jessie kept on telling me how great it was, my mom got my brother's girlfriend (and my friend) Erica one for a gift, and I'd heard other people talk about how great it is, so I decided to give it a shot. I needed a little kick start to my quiet times and... I'm a fan. It's a quick read, which even though we don't want to admit it, is helpful because we don't always make a lot of time for time with the Lord. It gives perspective to what God's doing, viewing life with a Kingdom perspective, and just being aware of His presence in your daily life.

Today I was reading about being aware of God's presence. Here's what it said:
My world is filled with beautiful things; they are meant to be pointers to Me, reminders of My abiding Presence. The earth still declares My Glory to those who have eyes that see and ears that hear. You had a darkened mind before you sought Me wholeheartedly. I chose to pour My Light into you so that you can be a beacon to others. There is no room for pride in this position. Your part is to reflect My Glory. 
I love this. Sometimes I worry that this blog could be viewed as rejoicing worldly things too much, and not what God is doing/the Kingdom. But I think (I hope), that a lot of what I find to be beautiful and blogworthy, is actual God doing His thing. He chose to pour His Light into me so that I can be a beacon for others! That's a pretty cool thing... So I want to continue. I want to keep "noticing" and blogging about it. So I can reflect His Glory! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Loving in May.

(Fresh flowers. I used to think you had to have a guy buy you these... That's just dumb.) 

I have been a little inconsistent with blogging lately. As always, I have good intentions, but they don't always work out. I have my brother Cory working on a new design for the blog - hopefully that'll give me a renewed inspiration.

Here are some things that I've been loving over the last month.

San Antonio. I went to Austin to see my brother Joel graduate from law school. We spent a few days there then made our way over to San Antonio. I'm a fan. City and water combined is one of the best things, in my opinion, so the River Walk is pretty great.

Crustless Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche. I made this recipe the other night for some friends and it was pretty tasty. If you are looking for a healthier (there is still a ton of cream and whole milk - but at least there isn't a crust) take on a quiche, this is a pretty good one.

Belize Outdoor Furniture Set from World Market. I've been searching for the last month or so for a decent deal for outdoor furniture and this was the best deal I've seen so far so I went for it. (And you should too, if you're looking for something like this - I've been pleased.) My deck is coming along, my friends. An update with pictures is coming soon.

Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. This pie is one of the easiest things you can make (especially if you cheat and buy a pre-made Oreo crust like I did this time) and it is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. I made it for some friends the other night and it was a hit. I like to freeze mine so it's a nice, refreshing summer dessert.

Arrow. Now before you judgingly say, "Is that the comic book show on the CW?" I'd encourage you to stop. This show is great. And the first season is on Netflix. I'd suggest you start watching now so you can get caught up on it (and hopefully the second season when they post it) in time for its return in the fall. You'll thank me, I promise. (Actually you should thank Cory, who was the one who told me about it.)

Walks. So I'm just going to be real with you - I'm not a runner. Even when I was in shape in high school, I hated running. (Suicides at the end of basketball practice was one of my least favorite things in the world.) But just because I don't like running doesn't mean I can't be active. And I do like myself a nice walk. So I've been trying to be intentional to do that lately.

Alright, there was a quick recap of some great things that I appreciated last month. Now hooray for June, right?