Wednesday Adventures: Thunder Mountain Overlook

Sometimes when your friends get married things get awkward. I don’t say that to make it seem like I believe that there should be no change in friendships once your close friends get married, but rather to point out that sometimes being the ‘third wheel’ is intensified once matrimony happens. However, I am greatly blessed to not run into the ‘third wheel’ awkwardness with my best friend G and her husband N.

This week I had Monday-Wednesday off of work (mind you, those days brought my total to 4 days off work for the month of July), so G and N invited me up to N’s parent’s place for the day to go hiking and kayaking and a day of relaxation. I of course was very eager to jump on the opportunity to do so.

N’s parent’s live on a camp as caretakers in the northern part of Wisconsin. We spent the day in the sunshine, eating cheese curds and a simple home made lunch, ate dinner with the campers and of course went kayaking and hiking.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, even though no picture could truly capture the beauty that we saw. I was reminded while taking photos that too often we try to capture a moment instead of just enjoying it.  Take some time this week to enjoy the little/big moments of your life instead of trying to capture them.

 

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

Thunder Mountain Outlook

*This weeks Wednesday Adventure is brought to you by lack of reliable internet connection, hence the Saturday posting 🙂

In The Word: Emptied To Be Filled

Today has been one of those days where it seems as if the whole world is against you. Everyone is upset with you, making hurtful comments, cutting you off in traffic; you just can’t win. I can’t even begin to describe how hurt I have been this morning, nor how alone and attacked I felt. I found it so unbelievably difficult to focus on the good things that God had done already for me this morning. It was so much easier to dwell on the hurt.

I was starting to come to grips with the truth that I was not alone, and that I would be ok when the morning got even worse than my mind could imagine. I went to go start my car, and it wouldn’t even turn over. My dad had replaced the battery just a few weeks ago when this happened before, so I was shocked that it happened again.

I had to call my employer and work out the details there – let me tell you, I have the most amazing boss ever. She is so sweet and understanding that ‘life happens’. I then called my dad and he did some research on how to get it started. To make a long story short, there are security issues with the type of car I drive, so whenever this happens I just have to do a little “fancy work” to reset the security system and I’m good to go.

I drove the car to the next parking lot to give it a test, and as I parked the car I began to cry. We’re not talking a little tear here and there, we’re talking full on waterworks. I was entirely overwhelmed with how many people were for me – my dad, my employer, my boyfriend, and so many more that I know would have been there in a heartbeat to help. Everyone was so willing to go above and beyond to ensure that I was taken care of.

Sometimes, God needs to completely empty us of ourselves so that He can get the most glory out of the situation and for us to receive the most good. Could God have filled my heart before the car incident? Absolutely. But He knew, in His infinite wisdom, that just a little more of a trial would break my heart enough for me to be completely surrendered to Him and allow me to be fully satisfied in Him and fully appreciative of the wonderful amazing people in my life.

God never ignores our cries for help, our broken hearts, or our moments of struggle. He is always present in them. He is just likely to wait until you are in the best spot to receive what He has for you. Sometimes, if you’re stubborn like I can be, it takes a bit to get us there.

God is faithful. He is good. He will never forsake us.

Let Him empty you so He can fill you – it will be painful, but it’s more than worth it.

In The Kitchen: The Best Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Hello all!

Yesterday I made the most amazing Blueberry Baked Oatmeal! It’s the best ‘sweet’ breakfast food I’ve put in my mouth, hands down. I think you’ll agree with me too!

 

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

It’s loaded with blueberries, and the chopped almonds add a wonderful texture throughout.

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

But what really makes this dish is the powdered lemon peel. I made this recipe with both lemon zest and the powdered lemon peel and the powdered lemon peel won by far. It’s the magic touch that keeps you coming back for more and will have everyone wondering what the secret ingredient is. I get my powdered lemon peel from Penzeys; it’s truly worth the investment!

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

I personally think this dish is best served with milk of any kind, especially when reheating the leftovers (if there are any!).

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe!

The Best Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:
• 5 C old fashioned oats
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• ¾ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp lemon peel powder or zest of one lemon
• 4 oz chopped almonds; divided
• 1 C sugar
• 4 C whole milk
• 3 T lemon juice
• ¼ tsp almond extract
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 pints blueberries
• cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9×13* baking dish.
2. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine milk and lemon juice; let sit until it starts to “curdle” – become buttermilk.
3. In large mixing bowl, combine oats, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon peel, ½ of chopped almonds (½ C), and sugar.
4. Add almond extract and beaten eggs to the buttermilk mixture and whisk until well combined. Add half of milk mixture to the oats and gently stir until everything is moistened.
5. Add half of the oat mixture to the baking dish, spread evenly across the bottom. Then add 1 pint of the blueberries, again spreading evenly. Add the remaining oat mixture, spreading so as much of the blueberries are covered as possible.
6. Slowly pour the remaining milk mixture over the oats.
7. Top with 1 more pint of blueberries, the remaining chopped almonds, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until edges are golden and center is set.

This recipe makes about 12 generous servings.

*If you would like to halve this recipe, use an 8×8 baking dish. Baking temperature and time are the same

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

In The Gym: Weekly Workouts 6.23 to 6.29

 June 23rd Rest Day

 

June 24th (home)

  • Leg Raises: 30
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 2×9
    • Narrow with back kick 2×9
    • Basic 2×9
    • Basic with side leg lift 2×9
    • Sumo 2×9
  • Pushups:
    • Basic 2
    • One Legged 2
    • T-Raise 2
    • Diamond 2
  • Plank: 45 seconds
  • Cardio: 2 mile run on trail

 

June 25th Rest Day

 

June 26th (home)

  • Plank: 50 seconds
  • Pushups:
    • Basic 3×1
    • One Legged 3×1
    • T-Raise 3×1
    • Diamond 3×1
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 2×6
    • Narrow with back kick 2×6
    • Basic 2×6
    • Basic with side leg lift 2×6
    • Sumo 2×6
  • Leg Raises: 30

 

June 27th (home)

  • Leg Raises: 35
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 4×5
    • Narrow with back kick 4×5
    • Basic 4×5
    • Basic with side leg lift 4×5
    • Sumo 4×5
  • Pushups:
    • Basic 2×2
    • One Legged 2×2
    • T-Raise 2×2
    • Diamond 2×2
  • Plank: 1 minute
  • Cardio: 2 mile run on trail

 

June 28th (gym)

  • Plank: 1 minute
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 3×7
    • Narrow with back kick 3×7
    • Basic 3×7
    • Basic with side leg lift 3×7
    • Sumo 3×7
  • Leg Raises: 40
  • Weights:
    • Dumbbell Bench Press 3×12
    • Flat Bench Cable Flyes 3×12
    • Overhead Dumbbell Tricep ‘Dip’ 3×12
    • Tricep Pushdown 3×12
  • Cardio: 1 mile run @ 6mph

 

June 29th (gym)

  • Cardio: 2 mile run @ 5mph
  • Weights:
    • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown 3×12
    • One Arm Dumbbell Row 3×12
    • Seated Cable Row 3×12
    • Underhand Cable Pulldown 3×12
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 2×6
    • Narrow with back kick 2×6
    • Basic 2×6
    • Basic with side leg lift 2×6
    • Sumo 2×6
  • Plank: 1 minute 10 seconds

In The Gym: Weekly Workouts 6.16 to 6.22

 

Last week I accepted a position at my gym. Aside from being exceedingly thankful for the job, I’m equally as thankful for the convenience of being able to already be at the gym for a workout. Things were getting a bit tight financially driving to the gym several times a week, but now I’ll already be there! Unfortunately this means that there will not be consistency regarding my actual days at the gym nor how often during the week, BUT I like the spontaneity it affords me. Routine is great, planning is great, but I’m seeing the blessing of variety.

 

So, this weeks workouts will be as follows:

 

June 16th (home)

  • Leg raises: 6
  • Plank: 20 seconds
  • Squats: 6 of each
    • Narrow
    • Narrow with back kick
    • Basic
    • Basic with side leg lift
    • Sumo
  • Pushups: 1 rep of each
    • Basic
    • One legged (1 each leg)
    • T – raise
    • Diamond

 

June 17th (gym)(normally my weight sessions are not this long, but pushing the limits this day)

  • Cardio: 1 mile run @ 5mph
  • Weights:
    • Dumbbell Bench Press 2×12
    • Flat Bench Cable Flyes 2×12
    • Overhead Dumbbell Tricep ‘Dip’ 2×12
    • Tricep Pushdown 2×12
    • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown 2×12
    • One Arm Dumbbell Row 2×12
    • Seated Cable Row 2×12
    • Underhand Cable Pulldown 2×12
    • Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl 2×12
    • Seated Dumbbell Press 2×12
    • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise 2×12
    • Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise 2×12
  • Squats: 10 of each
    • Narrow
    • Narrow with back kick
    • Basic
    • Basic with side leg lift
    • Sumo
  • Leg Raises: 8
  • Plank: 20 seconds

 

June 18th Rest Day

June 19th (gym)

  • Cardio: 1.25 mile run @ 5mph
  • Weights:
    • Dumbbell Bench Press 3×12
    • Flat Bench Cable Flyes 3×12
    • Overhead Dumbbell Tricep ‘Dip’ 3×12
    • Tricep Pushdown 3×12
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 2×6
    • Narrow with back kick 2×6
    • Basic 2×6
    • Basic with side leg lift 2×6
    • Sumo 2×6
  • Plank: 30 seconds
  • Leg Raises: 10

 

June 20th (gym)

  • Cardio: 30 minutes on elliptical
  • Weights:
    • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown 3×12
    • One Arm Dumbbell Row 3×12
    • Seated Cable Row 3×12
    • Underhand Cable Pulldown 3×12
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 3×5
    • Narrow with back kick 3×5
    • Basic 3×5
    • Basic with side leg lift 3×5
    • Sumo 3×5
  • Plank: 30 seconds
  • Leg Raises: 16

 

June 21st (gym)

  • Cardio: 1.5 mile run @ 5mph
  • Weights:
    • Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl 3×12
    • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3×12
    • Dumbbell Side Lat Raise 3×12
    • Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise 3×12
  • Squats: 10 of each
    • Narrow
    • Narrow with back kick
    • Basic
    • Basic with side leg raise
    • Sumo
  • Plank: 40 seconds
  • Leg Raises: 20

 

June 22nd (home)

  • Plank: 45 seconds
  • Pushups:
    • Basic 2×1
    • One Legged 2×1
    • T-Raise 2×1
    • Diamond 2×1
  • Squats:
    • Narrow 2×8
    • Narrow with back kick 2×8
    • Basic 2×8
    • Basic with side leg lift 2×8
    • Sumo 2×8
  • Leg Raises: 25

 

In The Kitchen: ‘Almond Joy’ Vegan Pancakes

I love pancakes. I would have to rank them in the top 5 of my favorite things. And I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t love eating ‘cake’ for breakfast? 'Almond Joy' Vegan Pancakes While N and I have been on this whole vegan journey, I had yet to find a pancake recipe that satisfied my highly sophisticated pancake palate. So, I did some research, and came up with my own base. And boy, let me tell you; it’s the bomb. 'Almond Joy' Vegan Pancakes So, instead of just making plain pancakes to share with you (although those are phenomenal enough on their own), I dug around the kitchen and, wah-la! ‘Almond Joy’ Vegan Pancakes were born! You’re welcome. 'Almond Joy' Vegan Pancakes Oh, and I’m in the process of writing a vegan pancake cookbook. You’re welcome again. 😉

‘Almond Joy’ Vegan Pancakes
Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ C flour
  • ¼ C flax meal
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ – 2 C almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 T unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ C vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ T Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, flax meal, sugar, baking powder, cornstarch, and sea salt in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. In a large measuring cup, combine almond milk, vanilla, almond extract, and lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Heat Earth Balance in a frying pan over medium-high heat, or do the same with an electric griddle.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and shredded coconut.
  5. Using a ¼ C measuring cup, p0ur pancake batter into pan or onto griddle. Spread out the batter with your finger or a spoon. Cook the pancake until bubbles form in the middle and the outer edges look dry, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook on the other side for 1.5-2 minutes.
  6. Serve pancakes hot, with a garnish of mini chocolate chips and a sprinkle of powdered sugar; or with your favorite maple syrup or honey.

This recipe makes 10 pancakes. 'Almond Joy' Vegan Pancakes

In The Kitchen: Spicy Roasted Broccoli

 

Brace yourselves people. You are about to see broccoli in a whole new way. That’s right. I said broccoli. Prepare yourself for savory spicyness and downright deliciousness!

Spicy Roasted Broccoli from Blossoms In Adversity

I’ve been experiementing lately with frozen vegetables. I generally only purchase fresh, but as of late, I’ve been more open to using frozen, at least until our farm share vegetables start arriving. I know there’s nothing ‘unhealthy’ about frozen vegetables, but my problem comes in with how to prepare them. I remember as a child them being used in casseroles or thrown in the microwave. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it gets bland after a while, and as I’ve grown older I’ve developed a particular thing for texture in my vegetables.

Spicy Roasted Broccoli from Blossoms In Adversity

So, that brings us to a bag of frozen broccoli that I transfromed into the most amazing spicy goodness you’ll ever get out of a floret. Maybe I’m boasting, but once you try it, you’ll agree with me. I promise.

Honestly, I think the coconut oil is what makes this dish. The combination of the spicy crushed red pepper and the subtle sweetness of the coconut oil create a flavor profile in the mouth that is impossible to not enjoy!

Spicy Roasted Broccoli

Ingredients:

  • 1 1lb bag of chopped frozen broccoli
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust to personal spice preference)
  • 2 T melted coconut oil

 

Directions:

  1. Partially thaw broccoli by setting on counter for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 F about 10 minutes before your broccoli will be done thawing. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray (I use EVOO in a Misto)
  2. Pour broccoli into a medium mixing bowl, add the spices and then the coconut oil. Stir to combine and ensure that spices are evenly distributed. It’s important to add the spices first, then the coconut oil, as the coconut oil will harden due to the broccoli being cold; you’ll be able to mix it enough before that happens though.
  3. Pour broccoli onto prepared baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes; stirring after 20. If you prefer softer vegetables, I’d take it out after 30.

 

Spicy Roasted Broccoli from Blossoms In Adversity