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As most of you know, I have been reading The Shack over the last few weeks.

What? You didn’t know that?

Well I have.

So now, the time comes for me to weigh in on my thoughts.

Personally, I loved the book. I know it is a controversial book, with some people not agreeing with the message, and others feeling mislead by the style.

I went into the book knowing it was a work of fiction. So is Pilgrim’s Progress. It does not make the book any less moving or spiritual.

I can truly say that The Shack changed my life.

There are only two books I can say that about, and coincidentally they are both spiritual/religious books.

1. The Message Bible

2. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Both of these books had a great impact on how I viewed spirituality and my personal relationship with Christ.

The Shack had an even greater impact.

The way the author portrays the Holy Trinity and Jesus’ relationship with God is incredible. He weaves a story, so brilliant and believable, that it brings you to tears at points and highs of exhilaration at others.

My favorite part was how he noted that ‘on Papa’s hands he (Mac) saw the same marks as on Jesus’ hands’ when he explained that God never forsook, nor left Jesus on the cross. He instead wrapped him in his arms and was pierced with the nails as well. It reiterates the point that God will never leave us, nor forsake us either. He will always be there, wrapping us in his arms and holding us tight as we face controversy and sorrow, death and sadness. He is there when we experience true love, miracles and wonder as well. He loves us as we love our own children.

It is said that there is no greater love than that of a mother and a child. After reading this book, I tend to disagree. I truly believe that God loves us greater than we, as humans, can comprehend. If you know the love of a mother, or you are a mother yourself, just stop and think; if you had created something with your own hands, and not just your body, how much you would love it. How much God must love us, to create us in his image, and give us this wonderful world to live in.

A world full of peanut butter, running shoes and spinach.

You knew I had to go there, didn’t you?

Sorry, but truly, those are things I LOVE, that would not be possible, had God not given them to us.

So, in conclusion I say, definitely read The Shack. It may present God in a whole new light, one you had never seen him in before. It may change your relationship with Him. Or, you may not like it at all, and totally disagree with me.

Hey, God made us all different for a reason.

He is still quite fond of us all in our own special way.

PS: The ending of the book? Incredible. Incredible.

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*read at your own risk*

With his adorable crush on Ginny Weasley. Although not as detailed as it is in the books, Harry’s love for Ginny is sweetly portrayed in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.’

Severus is creepy as always.

Severus is one of my favorite Harry characters period.

Followed closely by Dumbledore.

There were sniffles heard when these two clashed.

Hermione continued to moon over Ron.

I love Ron, but Hermione is not only a talented little witch, but she is not lacking in the looks department. Get your head together boy!

Romilda, or worse Lavender…what are you thinking???

Luna delivered chuckles.

She is another favorite of mine. I love her costumes and her silly dreamy voice. She never fails to make me giggle hysterically.

I really don’t want to give away a lot of details, although if you have read the books, you have them all. I loved the last books because Harry and Co. were starting to grow up and experience teenage angst. Who doesn’t love some good teenage angst, especially if the teenagers can concoct love potions and curse one another?

You knew I couldn’t leave our resident bad boy out. Draco and his ‘secret mission’ take up much of the plot line.

That’s ok. I like Draco. He is sufficiently creepy. Even more so under the protection of Snape.

All in all, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince delivered. I love the books and as always the movie did not disappoint. The ending was sweet and sad, just as the book is; but if you had not read the book it definitely does not leave you on the edge of your seat wondering what happens next. It gives too much closure. Of course I know what happens in Book 7, so I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment of Harry Potter!

The verdict: Definitely worth your time and money. Go spend your $10.00 and 2.5 hours. You will not be disappointed.

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I tested the chocolate Shakeology today.

My life will never be the same.

This. was. da bomb.

Of course my Green Monster was actually more of a Swamp Monster, but that was ok by me.

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  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 spoonful PB
  • 1 scoop chocolate shakeology
  • 1 handful spinach
  • ice

You guys have got to try this stuff. It really did change my life. I will never again be a vanilla whey protein drinker. Not when I can have some Shakeology!

The rest of my morning was rather uneventful. No coworkers bringing rice snacks or casting disdainful looks at my lunch.

Speaking of lunch.

Leftover quinoa anyone?

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Low and behold, I nearly licked the bowl clean!

I had a yummy fruit salad on the side:

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and that concludes lunch.

Moving right along.

To Lady Luna Snackwell!

If you can call Luna here a lady.

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Stealing Mr. Snacky’s sunglasses and coming out of her clothes like that. If that’s gentry, what is the world coming to?

I’ll tell you what it’s coming to.

My most favorite shrimp pasta in the WHOLE WORLD!

I present to you Shrimp Pasta El Ranchero!

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This is actually a recipe I adapted from one of my Aunt Christi’s (an ahhhh-mazing cook!) I lightened it up quite a bit, but lost no flava whatsoever!

  • 1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta (fettucine or spaghetti work fine)
  • 1 cup pre-cooked frozen shrimp (preferably tail-off)
  • 1/3 cup Naturally Fresh lite ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon spicy seafood seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Go ahead and boil your pasta, the sauce will not take long. Also rinse your shrimp in warm water to thaw and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, add this:

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(this stuff is great, it’s all fresh natural ingredients, nothing unpronounceable and 80 calories a serving! Check it out here.)

+

this:

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In a seperate bowl or cup mix the cornstarch and milk, whisking it well. When the skillet ingredients begin bubbling, add the milk mixture. Let it simmer for a little while, stirring occasionally as it thickens. When the sauce is sufficiently thick and bubbly, add the shrimp. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Your sauce should look like this:

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mmmmm, that’s what I like to see! Dinner is right around the corner…

Drain your noodles, place them in a bowl and add the sauce to the top. 

Voila!

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A pasta worthy of kings! (and 528 calories to boot!)

Serve with greenies on the side:

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(flower centerpiece and cookbook optional)

There it is ladies and gents. One of my all-time favorite recipes that always gets rave reviews. Enjoy!

 

So I went to the gym and did my thang ‘fore I made that pasta. 3 miles on the treadmill (cause I was waaaaay to lazy to get up this morning) and an hour of strength. I finished up with 15 mins of incline walking. Doesn’t get much sweatier than that, yo. I felt deeee-licious when I left.

 

Psalm 17:15 (The Message)

And me? I plan on looking you full in the face. When I get up, I’ll see your full stature and live heaven on earth.

That kind of thinking is what gets you invited to dinner with God. I wonder if he’ll serve Shrimp Pasta El Ranchero, or do you think they have ranch in heaven? I think they do. Ranch is pretty heavenly.

See ya healthier!

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All vegged out

Ok, first things first.

I want to thank all you lovely readers! You have made today officially the busiest day in the history of this blog! THANK YOU! I love feeling popular. Goes to show how pathetic I am, huh?

Second, one of my lovely little fellow bloggers is having a ridonkulously cool giveaway, so go enter! Or not. I want to win. By posting this link I am officially entered, oh 4 times. 😉

So ya know what I had for breakfast:

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Thanks to Todd. Seriously, thank you. For all the free stuff. Did I mention I love free stuff?

I did say that kept me full all morning, but I forgot to mention that my co-worker Sheila had some new goodies she wanted me to try at like 11ish. I don’t really count them because I had like 8 pieces but they were good!

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Sheila and her rice cracker mix. (Forgive the picture quality. I was sitting at my desk and my fanny did not want to move.)

These are great for a snack! Look:

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not much ingredients, not much calories, big serving size. That’s my kind of snack, yo!

 

Lunch looked a little like this:

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Oh wait, that is lunch!

These:

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+

This:

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*chick pea salad courtesy of Julie. Thanks!

= my lunch.

Forgive me, math was never my strong point.

Tom obviously did not think my lunch looked tasty:

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Good thing I don’t take advice from Hannah Montana/NC State fans.

 

3 pm is SNACK TIME! At first sight, Mr. Z-bar seemed to still be well behaved:

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and then I see this:

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STRIPPING! At my desk! Whatever will my boss think?!?!

 

Dinner was so yummy, courtesy of another fellow blogger.

Thanks to her and this recipe I made a delish quinoa dish for dinner.

I did subsitute the following (only because I didn’t have it):

  • spinach for asparagus
  • water for vegetable stock
  • LC wedges and some feta for parmesan and romano cheese

It was so, so, so yummy!

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in my RED bowl!

With cherries on the side:

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and another shot of that CUTE BOWL + the pretty flowers!

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I was still wanting some chocolate so I had these:

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edamame + pretty flowers. I didn’t eat the flowers.

 

I decided to head over to NC Fit Club for my workout tonight since Todd has been so nice and sent me such good free shiz.

It was great! We did a P90x workout, I had never tried those before! It rocked, with some great cardio intervals. It lasted about 45 minutes to an hour and then I headed home, but not before Todd gave me this:

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I drank about half a cup of the mix while cooking my dinner. I was afraid it would make me too full, so I tossed the rest. It tasted pretty good though, kind of like an orange dreamsicle.

I did take a close up of the nice chest on the packet:

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Just for the ladies.

I also did some strength when I got home. I picked up some 8 lb weights and a resistance band and did this circuit x2:

  • 15 bent over rows
  • 20 lunges with hammer curls (10 each leg)
  • 15 resistance overhead rows
  • 15 deadlifts
  • 50 bicycle crunches
  • 30 second plank hold
  • 25 ball crunches

 

Now all chest pictures and bowl + flower porn aside, I read the most perfect verse last night:

Psalm 15:1 (The Message)

God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list?
 
I’d love to have dinner with God someday! I am a food blogger after all. So how do we get on that guest list?
Verses 2-5 say this:
 
Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.
 
So that concludes another Veg-Out Wednesday. I decided on Veg-Out Wednesday, because I can’t eat completely vegan yet. (Note the cheese in the quinoa mix.) That may come later, who knows! For now, I LOVE CHEESE! 
See ya healthier!

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The coolest thing about this little blog is that it is introducing me to lots of awesome people with the same goals as me! I’mmmm lovin’ it!

For example: last week Todd with NC Fit Club and Team Beachbody contacted me about trying a protein/vitamin powder to add to my Green Monsters called Shakeology.

Well, I’m not one to pass up free shiz, so I told him to send it on!

Here’s some of what the website says about the product:

This daily nutritional shake helps your body gently eliminate toxins more efficiently while allowing for better absorption of the essential nutrients you need. A proprietary blend of digestive enzymes and prebiotics helps your body progressively eliminate the toxins that build up over time from eating today’s highly processed foods.

At the same time, whole-food ingredients deliver the essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to curb cravings, allowing your body to shed stored fat while the more than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients help reduce free radical damage that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke.

That sounds pretty good, huh?

Todd assured me that it was well researched and full of whole nutrients and no ‘fake’ vitamins and minerals.

I got the package yesterday, so I couldn’t wait to break into it this morning!

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Todd sent me two flavors, Chocolate and Greenberry.

Of course I broke into the Greenberry first.

Nutrional facts:

  • 140 calories
  • 95 mg sodium
  • 19 g carbs
  • 15 g protein

It also contains:

  • Wheat grass
  • Barley grass
  • Oat grass
  • Sprouted quinoa
  • Flax seed
  • Chia seed

(You can download full nutritional info here.)

In my smoothie:

  • 1 serving Greenberry protein
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 spoonful almond butter
  • ice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

The result?

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One of the greenest Green Monsters ever!

The verdict:

This had a nice cinnamon flavor to it that kind of suprised me! I enjoyed it though, it was really light and different. Plus it smelled nice, like green snickerdoodles or something. (Yum, snickerdoodles.) I have been having a problem staying full on a smoothie lately, so I was a bit nervous to have just the smoothie by itself, but I was running late, so I didn’t grab anything else. Guess what? NO HUNGER PANGS! ALL MORNING! This stuff did the trick!

A big thanks to Todd, I will definitely be buying this in the future!

I’ll be back for my regular post this evening, until then…

See ya healthier!

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j

Cause where else is a foodie to go?

Of course this foodie was not alone, I picked up these stragglers along the way:

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The lovely and talented Julie and her hubs Sean.

Actually since I don’t have a lover other than my muffins, I was alone:

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That’s ok, I had on a really cute dress.

We ran into Carla and that evened things out and spiced up the evening. (Cause she’s hot like that ya’ll!)

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 All the gals:

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Check out the shawty in the middle, holla. (Literally. I am short.)

We saw this cute painting, so I snapped this for Julie, cause she loves pitchers:

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Then it was on to what else? The food!

Julie and I like the klassy girls we are, started with some dessert:

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I mean how can you go wrong with a cute sign like that?

We both chose the award winning petit four:

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It had good texture, but was just too sweet for either of us. We weren’t fans.

So we set out to looking for some real food. We spotted a sign for Just Fresh, a cute local eatery that has yummy sandwiches, so we picked up some artichoke dip there:

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Pretty delish! This one passed the taste test, but I wish they had some spinach in there. Everything’s better with spinach!

Next up was this little place:

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It definitely scored big with us! We tried the Crysp-Napoli sandwich:

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A slice of fresh mozzarella on ciabatta bread with tomato basil sauce and a balsamic vinagrette. YUM!

We were still feeling a little snackie so we picked up some of these:

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Cinnamon coated almonds, ah-licious!

We rounded out our evening with this:

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A spinach samosa from Woodlands, a little vegetarian Indian place. This rated pretty high as well, although I wasn’t too crazy about the dipping sauce.

We ended up at Starbucks,

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to satisfy our coffee/tea cravings and Sean’s not yet satisfied belly:

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Julie and I got the skinny chai latte, Carla the carmel machiatto and Sean got a vanilla latte and pound cake. Which he hoarded. I was not even allowed to cast an eye upon it much to my disappointment.

So that concluded our evening of Taste and we went home to our warm beds with full bellies. I slept well. Now it’s off to church for some spiritual eatin’.

See ya healthier!

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Heather, of Heather Eats Almond Butter guest posted this recipe on Zesty Cook the other day: Almond Butter Banana Nut muffins! Um, yes!

If there is anything two things I love, it is nut butter (I did use natural PB) and bananas. How could you go wrong here? Well, that’s just it. You can’t! These muffins were awesome! Light, with just a hint of banana and a whole lot of chocolate! That’s right, chocolate. Peanut butter, bananas and chocolate. Can I get a YUM! outta you?

Here they are all ready to go in the oven:

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Can I say that even the batter was delish? Now, I know you are asking yourselves: How would you know that? Klassy girls like you don’t eat batter. That’s right, we don’t. I must have forgotten or something.

So pretty:

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Let’s zoom in, shall we:

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All that melty, chocolatey chip goodness! That’s gonna make someone a good midnight snack breakfast. Oh yeah, that would be me. I know you are jealous, so don’t take my word for it, go make up a batch of these lovelies for yourself!

See ya healthier!

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