Healthy Eats- Tamales

During fall break, my family had many delicious homemade meals. We had stir fry, an Italian, Mexican and Thanksgiving meal from Thursday to Sunday. I love being home and having home cooked meals. My brother, Zachary, likes to cook a lot, so for the Mexican meal, he decided to make homemade tamales. They were really good, but they took so long to make. If you want to make them, allow yourself a few hours or ask some friends or family to help you out. There are also many ingredients for this recipe, but it was a fun experience. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Chicken stock

Chili powder

Cumin

Garlic Powder

Corn husks (about 60)

 

For the sauce, you’ll need:

32 oz El Pato

1 chopped onion

1 Tbsp cumin

1Tbsp chili powder

4 minced garlic cloves

2 Cups chicken stock

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

For the dough:

6 Cups masa harina (corn flour)

5 Cups chicken stock

2 Cups lard or Crisco

3 Tbsp onion powder

3 Tbsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp cumin

 

I know there are a lot this seems like a lot, but I think it’s worth the patience.

 

First, boil the chicken in enough chicken stock to cover with the chili and garlic powder and cumin. Let it boil until it’s done. Shred the chicken after it cools down a little bit.

 

Soak the corn husks in a sink or roaster for about 17 minutes.

 

Mix all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl.

 

Put some olive oil in a large skillet, then cook the onion on medium-high teat until it’s tender. Add the chicken, cumin, chili powder, garlic, chicken stock and some salt and pepper and El Pato. Cook and let it simmer until the sauce is thickened and most of the liquid is gone. This will probably take about 20 minutes.

 

Now this is the tough part, which will require the most time.

 

Take a few of the corn husks out of the water and place them on a towel. Put some water in a small bowl.

 

Spread about 2 Tbsp of the dough mixture on the corn husks from the straight edge up about 3 inches. Put about 1 Tbsp of the chicken in the center. Fold the edges of the dough over the chicken then fold the empty end of the corn husk. Check out some rolling videos on YouTube to get a better idea of how this works!

 

After they’re rolled, take a small string of the corn husk and tie it around each of them.

 

Lastly, steam the tamales for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

This is a long process, but it’s fun to try new foods and learn how to cook different things. Since this was a big family meal, we had queso, chips, rice and a lot of other things. I hope you take the time to try this recipe sometime!

 

Zoodles and Pesto

I love Italian food! I have been craving Italian food since going on this diet months ago. I found a couple of simple recipes for healthy Italian meals, but really, there weren’t many options. It’s hard to find things to substitute for bread, cheese and pasta. One dish I found was with zucchini noodles. My aunt told me they are called “zoodles” in the healthy foods world.

Here’s what you need to make Zoodles & Sauce:
 6 large zucchini, spiraled

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 ripe avocados
1 c fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt

 After the zucchini is spiraled, put it on paper towels so any extra water will be soaked up.
 Add the avocados, basil leaves, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor. Process the ingredients until everything is finely chopped. Slowly add 3 of the olive oil tablespoons until the sauce looks creamy.
 In a large skillet, add the last olive oil tablespoon then add the zoodles. Cook on medium to high heat for about 3 minutes or until it is tender. I added some salt and pepper to the zoodles while they were cooking; I think it helped the taste.
 Lastly, add the zoodles to a large bowl and toss with the sauce. This can be seasoned with pepper and Parmesan cheese.
This can be served with some Italian green beans or grilled chicken, or whatever else you would like to make with it! Of course, fruit is great with it (and with everything) as well. There’s something special about a hot, home cooked meal with some delicious fruit!
When I made this I cut the recipe in half, but even then it was enough for at least three to four people.
Honestly, I was not a huge fan of this dish. It was good, but I didn’t cook the zoodles long enough and I put too much garlic in the sauce. I would definitely be willing to try this recipe again sometime. Italian food is so hard to replicate with healthy stuff, but it sure is worth the effort.
As always, customize this to make it your own and to make it what you like. Maybe squash would be a good thing to use instead of the zucchini. Whatever you choose, at least still TRY. Try to eat healthier and find out what foods you prefer to cook with!

Healthy Eats- Mexican Skillet

I am about to begin my sixth week of not eating flour or sugar. This past week I tried to only eat whole foods, such as meats, fruits and veggies. I had been allowing myself to still have potatoes, corn chips and lots of cheese until a week ago.

I went home recently and had one night at home with my youngest brother. He really wanted pizza for dinner, but I told him I couldn’t eat it.

I knew we had some hamburger meat at home, so I decided to go with a Mexican skillet meal. I had made some Mexican dishes before, but this specific recipe was a first for me.

To make the Mexican Skillet, you will need the following:
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)

½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
3 cups water
1 package Mexican rice
Garlic powder
Salt
Black pepper
Taco seasoning
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can red kidney beans, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

This meal required many ingredients, but didn’t take too long to make.
First, cook the rice according to the package.

Cook the meat, onion and green pepper in a skillet on medium heat until the meat is fully cooked.
Lightly sprinkle garlic powder, taco seasoning, salt and black pepper onto the meat mixture.
Add the rice to the meat mixture after it is fully cooked.
Add tomatoes, corn, final cup of water and beans. Cook and stir until ingredients are evenly spread.
This will take about five minutes.
Remove the skillet and sprinkle the cheese on top.

Serve hot, as soon as the cheese melts.
I ate this with corn tortillas as a little bit of a “cheat” meal this week, while my brother had it with flour tortillas.
This dish would be good with sour cream, lettuce, cold tomatoes, corn chips or salsa.
My brother and I really enjoyed this meal, and I’m glad I got to “experiment” during my short time at home. I will definitely be cooking this again sometime.

Clean Eatin’ Stuffed Chicken

For the past month, I have been eating healthier. I’ve gone without flour and sugar for the past 30 days. Eating healthy can be difficult at times, but ultimately it makes me feel a lot better about myself. I still eat fruits, so I do get sugars from that, but have eliminated all simple sugars. 

Since I’m graduating college soon, I thought I should start learning how to cook more. I started trying to learn a new recipe every week that is still within the regulations of my current diet.

 

Now most people know that if you’re on a diet day you typically don’t eat pork or beef. Chicken and fish are a lot better for you, as well as turkey sometimes.

 

The first recipe I decided to try was Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast. The only chicken I ever made prior to this was Parmesan chicken, so this was quite the experience for me.

 

To make this chicken, there were just a few ingredients, and it was actually pretty simple.

 

Here’s what you need:

1 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless

4 ounces of jack cheese (any cheese will work)

1 cup fresh spinach (cooked if you prefer)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (I did not use these because of my diet)

Sea salt

Ground pepper

6 toothpicks per chicken breast (may take more)

 

First preheat the oven to 350°, then flatten the chicken so that you’ll be able to stuff it, and place on a nonstick pan.

 

In a bowl combine all dry ingredients, except the breadcrumbs.

 

Next put a small handful of the spinach mix onto the flattened chicken.

 

Fold the chicken to wrap around the stuffing, then use the toothpicks to hold the chicken sides together.

 

Fastening the toothpicks on the chicken will take a little time, but make sure you count them, so you won’t lose them in the chicken after it’s done baking.

 

Brush the olive oil onto both sides of the chicken and let the chicken stand where its middle is on the bottom of the pan.

 

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto the sides of the chicken, or sprinkle the rest of the spinach mix.

Put the chicken in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Be sure to take out all of the toothpastes before eating the chicken, so no one gets a chunk of toothpick in their dinner.

 

I served this chicken with fresh green beans and roasted potatoes, but any sides would go well with it.

 

I hope this recipe worked for you and gave you some encouragement that not all healthy food tastes bad!

 

 

Forgivness 

Forgiveness. It sounds pretty simple, right? Your parents forgive you for staying out too late, breaking the rules and whatever other little things we do to push their buttons. It looks easy enough but tends to be a lot harder when you’re the one who does the forgiving. 

The devil tell us that when someone hurts us, revenge is the only answer and that we should hold onto that pain that they caused, but we can’t listen to that voice that tells us that hurting someone is okay. God tells us He will forgive us for our sins as we forgive one another. Imagine the worst thing you’ve ever done. Got it? God forgave it. He forgave you. It’s already been done! Isn’t that amazing? He loves us so much, enough to forgive you for every wrong you have ever done in your entire life. 

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

The amount of love the Lord has for every single person on this Earth is unfathomable but so attainable! He is called the Father for a reason, because you are His child. You are always on His mind and always forgiven.

So how do we forgive others? I know from personal experience, forgiving someone who hurt me so badly was one of the hardest things I had to do. 

For years, I held onto the pain that was caused and couldn’t let go no matter what I did but refused to let it go because what they did was too much for me to handle. I chose my pride over my happiness; my unforgiving heart didn’t cause any upset with the person I demanded an apology from, but caused me to be upset because I held onto the hurt I was feeling.

Once I realized that forgiving them wasn’t for their benefit, but for my own, I worked on accepting the pain and swallowing my pride. It was one of the hardest things to do, but I knew that God would help get me through it because He forgave me for the unspeakable things I have done. 

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

Really think about that. We can do anything with the help of Christ! The options are endless! With the help of the Lord, I was able to forgive the ones who hurt me and I felt so free once I did; like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was amazing!

Forgiving is hard. The pain can bring out things in you you never really expected and so can forgiving. It brings a new strength and understanding and faith for God. Trust in Him and believe that everything that happens is for a reason in God’s plan. 

He loves you way too much to leave you stranded.

By Ramsey Smith 

Finding Satisfaction in Jesus

Galatians 1:10

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

 This is a tough pill to swallow, because it hits so close to home for me. Everyday, I have found that I am (in some way) seeking the satisfaction of others over Jesus. From going out of my way to avoid offending someone, to becoming depressed the very moment I don’t live up to others expectations.

 Let me show you what I mean.

 The other day, I was with a group of friends. We were at a farm, and we were having a fantastic time. The problem came around when I stumbled on my words and said something ridiculously awkward. It was just a moment, and everybody was fine. The thought, however, haunted me the rest of the day. I repeatedly thought things like, “What if they hate me now?” or things like “Well, there goes three friends.”. See, this is ridiculous, and we all do things like this everyday. Whether its about not having enough popularity on social media, or day to day interacting, we all––I believe––tend to seek the approval of people around us.

 Why? Because we prefer the instant satisfaction of a friendship, or the momentary feeling of popularity, over the enduring love of Jesus.

 This is not just a big deal; this is a huge deal! Jesus, the one who not only saved you from your sins, but also walks with you every single day gets pushed to the least of our priorities. Why did Paul say in Galations 1:10 that we cannot be servants of Christ when we value the approval of man? Because you can not serve Jesus when you are aiming to please yourself.

 In closing, I just want to add one more thing. (Because up until now it just sounds as if I am being dogmatic). Jesus doesn’t demand this out of you because He’s trying to hold you back. He is doing it because He knows its best for you. When we value the opinion of man over God, we are trading an infinite love that is always reliable and always there, for no real love at all. The love we tend to seek in others is a very thin tight rope to balance on. One foul move and your whole world can come crashing down into despair.

My Challenge? Choose to desire Gods love over mans. Make a conscious effort. Pray that Jesus would reveal to you where you’ve fallen short in this area. I have been doing this, and (though I still have quite a way to go) it has made a world of difference in how I view God, others, and myself.

 By Anonymous 

Praying for “The One”

“I’m just praying that God will bring the right girl/guy into my life.” How many people say that every day or have heard it before? I’m sure I’ve said it. For years I’ve prayed that God will bring the right person for me and that that person will complete me and give me what I “need.” We tend to think “Mr. or Mrs. Right” will fill our desires and be the most perfect person. However, our ideas of the “right person” have become misleading and in some ways, incorrect. 

Whomever you choose to marry will be a gift and blessing from God. It is good to pray for your future spouse, but your future spouse will never be perfect. Jesus Christ is, was and always will be the only perfect person in the world. Expecting perfection from someone will only lead to your own disappointment. We must prepare ourselves to be forgiving and knowing of others’ shortcomings without degrading our standards. 

Lastly, in the midst of praying for God to provide,

have you ever prayed for God to prepare you to be the “right person” for your future spouse?

Have you asked God to quiet your heart and calm your desires to constantly search for “the one?” The Lord said in Psalm 46:10,

“Be still and know that I am God.” 

When we learn to be still and practice being centered on Christ, then maybe God will provide “the one” for you. Ask Him to teach you to be the Godly man or woman that you would want for your future spouse.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. -Proverbs 3:5