Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shedding the Extra Layering

This summer I am going to Mexico with Heath, his parents and my parents.  But over the last few months I have managed to gain some extra weight from eating unhealthily.  So after Christmas  break Heath and I decided to buy a treadmill.  Well the treadmill somehow got lost in transit and for about a month I was calling UPS Freight over and over to see if it had showed up.  Eventually I called Costco (who we had ordered it through) and they said they would ship a new one.  While the order was processing, however, Heath and I noticed that there is a Anytime Fitness (gym) really close to my house.  We canceled the order, got a refund and got a membership to the gym.  So for a couple weeks now we have been working out regularly and it makes me feel really healthy.  Sadly, I have yet to feel like I've been loosing any weight.  I'm sure this isn't true, but it's so hard not to see immediate results, especially in our culture of instant gratification.
I realized that along with working out I really should be working on watching what I consume.  I have gotten in such a bad habit of eating junk food and eating out all the time.  With a busy schedule and working all the time it is really easy to eat what is convenient.  But what is convenient is generally unhealthy.  Also, with being short on money I don't buy as many groceries which means I don't have as many healthy options even when I'm home.  Therefore my new goal is to try and eat healthier.  I was tempted to say no to sugar all together, but I didn't want to be so severe.  Instead, I am  attempting to just eat less sugar.  Like maybe only one item with sugar a day (if any at all).  That way I am not depriving myself of anything somewhat sweet, but instead limiting my intake.  Also when I eat out I will be trying to eat healthier foods.  Heath and I have been on a Subway kick and it is so nice that you can get a foot long sandwich for only 5 dollars. 
This will all start tomorrow, as today I am pretty sure I didn't follow my rules since I had a piece of chocolate and a yummy Jamba Juice (thanks Heath!) and a Slim-fast this morning.  So maybe I will randomly update on here what I've been eating, maybe it will help keep me accountable =]
So hopefully by Mexico I will have a body that I am comfortable enough in that I won't worry about being in a currently dreaded swimsuit!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What a Keeper!!

Valentine's Day.  A day where those in relationships either do something special in attempt to show their love for the other person or choose to claim it is a "dumb" holiday.  A day where single people either ignore it or claim to hate the holiday with a passion because they are jealous that they cannot fully participate.  While I have always claimed to not care (in a relationship or not), there has always been a secret desire to be swept off my feet romantically (a feeling I think most women have).  Well this year Heath truly went above and beyond!! 
Having heard him boast over his ability to be really romantic when he wanted to, I was curious if I would receive some of this romance or not.  In the days leading up to February 14th I realized I had not heard Heath mention anything.  So I casually reminded him that Sunday was in fact this coveted day of love.  To which he, in surprise, answered that he thought it was next week or something.  This led me to believe that he had forgotten and only had about 2-3 days to do anything.  I began preparing myself for nothing.  Valentine's day would just be another day in the year with nothing special about it at all.  I needed to work on not expecting anything, because expectations are where problems can arise.  I was trying to decide whether or not to do something for him or if that would just make him upset at not doing anything.  I had to work from 4-9 and since Heath had not asked me to get it off I just figured that I would be working with nothing out of the ordinary...
It all started on Saturday night =]  I got off work at 10 and was tired from a surprisingly busy day at the Motel 6 and knowing that I wouldn't get to see Heath until later the next day I was a little saddened.  I walked upstairs to my room and my door was slightly closed, knowing I had left it open I was a little confused.  I opened the door, turned on my light and almost burst into tears of joy! There was my room exactly how I had left it except all the clutter was gone, all the boxes of stuff we were trying to sell was gone, my floor space was cleared and vacuumed and my bed was made.  And to top it all off, sitting on my bed was a heart shaped box of chocolates with a heart balloon attached AND there was a beautiful single red rose in a pretty vase sitting on my nicely cleaned bedside table!!  I was stunned!  I had been complaining for awhile that my room was really messy but I simply didn't have any place to put all the junk.  And now it is all gone!  I just kept walking around my room looking at all the clean surfaces in awe.  I called Heath up to thank him and tell him just how special I felt when he said that that wasn't all!  That there was more to  come tomorrow.  Not knowing what he meant I put it away in my mind, trying to still not have any expectations for what else could be coming.  Let me tell you, I slept like a little kid on Christmas eve.  It took me forever to fall asleep because I was hyped up on surprise. 
Sunday (today), started off slow, went to church which was good and spent the day making Heath a homemade card and some homemade truffles.  Not knowing when exactly I would see Heath, just assuming he would come to work at some point, I tried again, to not have any expectations.  Around 6 Heath showed up with food in hand.  I figured he would just buy food to go and bring it in, but not Heath.  He went above and beyond and made scrumptious coconut shrimp and bacon-wrapped scallops with a side raspberry vinaigrette salad.  It was delicious!!  Again, I thought this was it!  I brought out my truffles and he tried one of each flavor (peppermint, coconut and plain chocolate) saying each one was good.  As I was preparing to settle in to the rest of the evening of work he asked me to close my eyes.  I immediately got really nervous and excited at not know what was next.  When I was allowed to open them there was a beautiful necklace laying  in front of me.    Pictured below =]

All  I  can say is that every other woman should be jealous of the fabulous boyfriend I have! Haha, kidding.
My advice about Valentine's Day is to have no expectations what so ever because then you will be blown away by anything he may or may not do.  If Heath had done nothing it wouldn't have changed my opinion of him or made me feel less loved.  But because he did do something I felt exceptionally special and cared about.  I love Heath and I look forward to each day that I get to tell him that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lemon Meringue Tart

I finally cooked something else out of my cookbook!  However, I'm not sure it turned out right.  Heath was craving something lemony, so while he was at work I thought I would try and whip something up.  It was a  lot harder than I thought.  I didn't want to make a pie crust so I bought some premade dough that you just unroll onto your pie or tart dish.  Seems easy right?  Well, it was...until I burn the crust.  You precook it for 9-12 minutes, so at 9 minutes I looked at it and thought it could use just a minute more.  Big mistake.  I got busy juicing lemons and 3-5 minutes later I smelled smoke.  Sure enough, the pie crust was black.  Thankfully the package came with 2 crusts so I quickly cooled the tart pan and rerolled the dough out.  But having sat in the freezer for a few minutes it didn't form to the pan as well and actually cracked in the bottom.  I tried to smooth it all out and patch up the holes, but when I pulled it out of the oven after 9 minutes exactly, the cracks had reappeared.  At least it was nice and golden brown!
Knowing that I would have to whip everything together quickly with the custard and meringue parts I got all my ingredients out ahead of time and even measured them into individual little dishes that my mom got me for Christmas. The recipe calls for 4 eggs, separated, so I tried my luck at moving the yoke back and forth between the two halves of the shells to separate them (since I didn't have an egg separator).  And it worked!  I didn't break any of the yokes or get little shell pieces in them or anything.  I felt very proud of myself.  I made the lemon custard and I believe I was able to cook it correctly.  Though when the directions said simmer until thick I wasn't sure just how thick it needed to be, but I definitely got it thicker than it was when I put it in the pan to simmer.  Then I put it in the cooked pie crust and went to make the meringue.
Now comes the hard part.  I have heard in the past that making a meringue topping is difficult...and now I believe it.  The instructions simply stated to whip the eggs until foamy, whip in the cream of tarter until it forms soft peaks and slowly add in the sugar. So on my first attempt (yes, there were two) I beat the eggs until they looked foamy to me, and then added in the cream of tarter and beat....and beat...and beat...and it wasn't getting firm, so I added the sugar and continued to beat.  It was getting nowhere.  I set it aside and started over.  Separated egg whites, measured out the ingredients, etc.  This time the eggs quickly got "foamy" and I added the cream of tarter and it got much thicker.  Thinking I was along the right path I checked to see if there were "soft peaks" and to the best of my knowledge there were.  So I slowly added the sugar.  But as I was adding the sugar it seemed to be loosing its firmness.  I didn't have enough eggs to start again so I called it good and put it on top of the custard filling.  Next was to put it in the oven for around 12 minutes or until meringue was lightly browned.  Well after about 6 minutes or so it was light brown and I didn't want it to burn like the crust had, so I took it out.
Since it needed to cool completely I set it on a wire rack and went upstairs.  When I came back down the meringue had separated from the edge, even though I had made sure it touched the edges.  There was clear liquid in the areas where the meringue had separated. I had to go to work so I just put it in the fridge.  I hope that it at least tastes good since it now looks kind of funny.
Not sure I will attempt a meringue pie again for awhile.  Two plus hours of work and the result was not very appealing.  I'm just hoping the taste makes up for the look. 

This is what I WISH it looked like:
If anyone else has made a lemon meringue pie I would love some tips!  I assume I still didn't beat the meringue long enough, I just didn't want to over do it.  I'll be sure to post how it turned out and maybe some pictures of the funny looking result. =]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Answer to Prayer

God is so good!  I just wanted to write down in words how God has been answering my prayers lately.  Calvary Chapel (the church I call home) has recently decided to try something new called "house churches."  This doesn't mean that the normal Sunday service is gone, but it is something on top of that.  House churches are a way for the body to fellowship together and get involved.  There are about 20 different house churches as of now that each meet a different night.  Our pastor challenged us to pick a night and a house church and attend for an 8 week commitment.  Heath and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to meet new people and get more involved at Calvary.  Let me just tell you, it has been such a blessing and an answer to prayer!  Already we have met some wonderful people at our house church.  We come together (ours has about 41 people) and meet to pray, talk about the Sunday message and fellowship together.  Having felt the need to have deeper christian relationships with those who would be able to help mentor us we have been working on getting together outside of the house church with some people.  I know God is going to use these House Churches in ways I can't even fathom for anyone who attends.  Already it has been so great for Heath and I.  One specific example that stands out to me happened last week. 
We broke into smaller groups of about 10-15 for prayer time and Heath and I decided to go into separate groups.  In my group the prayer requests were very touching, parents calling out for their spouses, sons and/or daughters to be saved or helped in some way or another.  I sat there in silence as I realized how deeply they were all burning for their loved one's hearts to follow Christ, something I won't fully know about until I'm older with kids of my own.  But as I sat there, praying for them I was trying to come up with my own prayer requests.  All I could think of seemed minuscule in comparison to some of their hurts, the most I could come up with was help in paying off my debt.  More specifically, help in trusting God that I will be able to pay off my debt fast.  Feeling like it would seem trivial to share, I decided that I wouldn't and instead just prayed in my head about it during periods of silence.  But I still seemed to feel doubtful that God would be able to provide the money to pay it off.  My goal is to pay it off in a year and with the current income that I have I didn't know how I would be able to.  Logistically it just didn't seem possible.  I sat there in my doubts when one of the gentlemen in the group said something that really moved me.  Something I've heard before, but is always good to hear again.  He spoke about how we need to come to God in prayer with a spirit of forcefulness, a spirit of knowing God can and will answer our prayers.  Something I wasn't seemingly able to do.  I just didn't know how God could make it happen.  But after these words of coming to God in this way, I started adjusting the tone of my prayers in my head.  Instead of prayers full of doubt they turned to prayers full of conviction and asking, knowing God would answer them in the way He felt best.
So I left feeling a little better, but still not knowing how God would choose to answer this prayer.  Then I got to work on Friday.  Come to find out Heather (the other girl who works there) is finally quitting! She was supposed to quit in September but she didn't and she was taking hours that I was supposed to be working.  I asked my boss again and again when her last day was and I believe it is this Thursday, which means next week I can start working at least 2 more days, if not 3.  This is such and blessing and an answer to prayer.  I hadn't asked that God would make her quit, I had simply asked that he would provide other ways of earning money and sure enough, He did.  What an awesome God we have. One step closer to paying off that debt of mine!

Here is a link to a song that Heath showed me that we have really enjoyed listening to.  It is called "How Many Kings" by Downhere.  Click here to listen to it!