8 Summer Food Finds

The lovely season of summer = more time to read blogs, watch YouTube videos and scroll through Instagram accounts. Aka more time to creep on my favorite foodies and dietitians on theeee Internet. My favorites are Robyn Coale, Alexis Joseph, Megan Roosevelt, Davida, Nikole Goncalves and Rachel Mansfield!

These gals consistently increase my creativity in the kitchen and further my love for whole foods that my body craves. They’ve also introduced me to new grocery items that I have been elohveeeeing. That translates to loving.

Below are eight foods that I recently tried for the first time and will continue to plop in my shopping cart! No matter what your typical food choices tend to be, I am quite positive that you’ll have a hard time saying no to these nutrient powerhouses!

  1. Hilary’s burgers: THE. BEST. VEGETARIAN. BURGERS. ONTHEMARKET. I don’t declare myself a vegetarian but I grabbed these burgers because of the ingredients (millet, quinoa, sweet potato, etc.). You can actually see chunks of veg in these round delights. I’ve tried the root veggie burger, hemp & greens burger, original veggie bites and world’s best veggies burger. Yes, the world’s best veggie burger is a very accurate description. PLUS Hilary’s website has coupons! PLUS PLUS their social media is beyond amazing.IMG_4432.jpg
  2. Banza noodles: These noodles are made out of chickpeas!! Aka what hummus is made out of. Aka my favorite legume of alllllll time. I love regular pasta and certainly brown rice/whole grain pasta for a dose of vitamins and minerals but a protein-full alternative is nice to have on hand. I ate them all up before I took a picture but here is what the box looks like! They are a bit difficult to find but I got my box at Meijer.Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.17.47 AM.png
  3. Annie’s ketchup: Yup, I’m raving about ketchup. Because this ketchup is rave-worthy and I’ve never found a bottle that I would rave about except for this. I’ve always just used the ketchup that my family or roommate buys because I only eat it when I’m enjoying sweet potato fries. But after I bought this, the difference is so evident. It tastes fresh and authentic. Yummzaway to sweet potato fry land.IMG_4777.JPG
  4. Nutritional yeast: This fella is known as the nutritious cheese alternative for vegans. I was curious so I used it as one would use parmesan on top of their banza noodles. Although I don’t exactly taste the cheesy notes that vegans talk about, I do appreciate the texture and the vitamins are through the roof. Yup, on top of the roof. Way up.IMG_4780.JPG
  5. Beanitos: I converted. To non-tortilla tortilla chips. Beanitos (please appreciate the dot on the ‘i’ with me!) are made out beans, rice, sunflower oil and sea salt. THAT’S IT. The texture took a day or two to get used to but now I prefer them to my typical tortilla chip with it’s flavor and yumminess that you need to taste. I’ve tried the original black bean, pinto bean and white bean and love ’em all! IMG_4271.jpg
  6. Love Grown Foods cereal: The cereal game is changing, my friends. Love Grown Foods cereals are made out of lentils and beans. Do I have a thing for beans…maybay. They are definitely crunchier than its other companions in the cereal aisle but that only means it takes longer to get soggier. SCORE. Power O’s are deeelish in a bowl with almond milk, on top of a smoothie or by the handful for the nighttime snack of perfection. I’ve tried both the  Power O’s (strawberry) and Mighty Flakes (chocolate) and they are equally charming! Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 9.49.23 AM.png
  7. Brown rice noodles: These are angel hair noodle’s nutritious twin. Also known as the stir fry master. Also also known as the fastest thing I’ve ever cooked. These super thin noodles cook in 2 minutes, are bright white once you boil them and are made out of brown rice. Brown rice is divine but I like to try new things so when I found this in Kroger’s natural section, I threw it in a bowl with edamame, a mountain of veggies and sriracha and fell in love. IMG_4233.jpg
  8. Kombucha: This is a carbonated probiotic drink that has oodles of benefits. If human beings are not getting enough of the right bacteria, we do not absorb the nutrients in our foods to the fullest ability. That’s no bueno. I’ve tried about eight flavors from two different brands this summer and found that lime is my favorite flavor across the board. Kombucha has strong notes of vinegar but the lime cuts it right out. The only negative thing is that it can be quite pricey so youbetcha I only buy these when they’re on sale.IMG_4477.jpg

 

You’re an Old Soul

A few weeks ago at a retirement party I attended for a past supervisor, I was talking to one of my previous coworkers. She asked me about my 21st birthday the way that everyone everywhere does: expecting some thrilling story that typically doesn’t have the most flattering ending.

My story didn’t end that way as I never would have ever ever wanted it to. I’m all for flatter. All the time.

I got tacos (duhh). Had one margarita. Went to a bar. Hated my drink. Also disliked the previous margarita. Went home and snuggled up with a blanket and a movie that I made it through a whole 4 minutes and 38 seconds of. Woke up early to brunch. All with my sister. Blissss.

My coworker had a different definition of bliss. Or doesn’t know me well enough to know mine. She awkwardly laughed at my story and said, “you’re an old soul.” Yes ma’am. That’s ancient and dusty news to me.

You are talking to a girl who wakes up at 5 a.m. just because I love mornings so much, would rather read a textbook or go grocery shopping than watch reality TV or any TV for that matter and walks around home decor stores by myself on Saturday afternoons. The older store associates tend to come up to me with a puzzled face and ask me what I am doing. Adventuring, of course! We end up finding some similarity between me and their grandchild. It’s cute.

Anyways, I’ve had this conversation before with friends n’ folks. The old soul one. The one where I try to explain myself but never achieve any progress in convincing them that I truly do not find an ounce of satisfaction in spending my free time diving deeper into the comforts of the world.

This world is beautiful. It really is. But it is temporary and my goal is not to be. I decided a long time ago that I will aim higher. For heaven, for virtue and for my purpose. And I am amazed at its heights as you and every person you have ever encountered should be too!

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Each 5 a.m. morn and moment after until I lay down to rest, I feel called. Add out of place and vastly different to that list of feelings. Some may categorize it as “the odd one out” or shall I say, “old soul” of the group. It could be just me but I don’t think my friends sit at bars on their 21st birthday and be pounded with issues that break Jesus’ heart because humans aka myself are failing to address them.

Comparison is not my objective. It is recognition of my originality and my purpose. Because my pal, Jesus, is making it loud and clear. Probably because I am a fool who needs to be spoken to in a megaphone.

So please call me an old soul. Remind me of who I am. I am the daughter of a King and feel beyond honored to hold this title that will never go away. That’s where the ultimate flatter lies!

WIAW: Bliss All Around

This summer, I’ve been trying to get into a “morning routine”. I don’t even necessarily know what that means but I’m alllll about efficiency and like to pack as many things into my morning as possible so I was on board.

Besides my newfound love for cleaning to avoid taking a shower, lighting candles all over my house and drinking copious amounts of fluids in the a.m., I still don’t have a routine that increases my productivity. Maybe tomorrow!

Drink 1: A massive mason jar or two of H20.

Drink 2: Black coffee with a straw.

Drink 3: Piña colada smoothie. 1 frozen banana, mango chunks, pineapple tidbits (I hate that word) and unsweetened coconut almond milk. This flavor of almond milk makes it DREAMY. Times 439. A must for all coconut lovers.

Item 4: Allergy medicine.

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My counter was not only overflowing with to-go cups but also tupperware for my lunch. I use containers for each meal and snack I eat because I’m all into meal planning (going back to the efficiency and it saves me so much money because I know what I’m eating for the week so I don’t run out of groceries and I’m not tempted to eat out). My lunch bag actually overflows with tupperware so I have to divide it up between my purse and lulu lemon bag. Oooops. But not at all.

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I packed a chocolate banana muffin, almond butter and blueberry jelly chia breakfast cookie (I threw things into a bowl and baked it so no recipe there), fruit salad, cinnamon apples with peanut butter, tomato basil hummus veggie wrap with mashed avocado to spread on every bite (this wrap is bliss) and some carrots and snow peas to snack on. And then I ate it all in a matter of six hours from my desk at work. And also got a reminder that I need to cut and paint my nails.

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I was supposed to go out to dinner with my friend but she didn’t feel well so tupperware saved the day! I had dinner planned for the next few days so when my stomach was emmmmpty, I walked through the door and within four minutes, had a bowl of warm veggies and quinoa on the couch with a massive blanket. It had Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw (theee star of the show), green bell peppers, edamame, mushrooms, tricolor quinoa, sriracha and liquid aminos. I rotate this in my dinner cycle about every three weeks because I fall back in love with veggies every time I have it.

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I fell asleep wrapped up in my blissful bundle for my second nap of the summer. I don’t really know why I was tired because this summer has been filled (more than my lunch bag) with rest but I was exhaaausted on the car ride home.  How did I know beyond “I know myself”? I only changed the radio station four times in 20 minutes. That’s way way way abnormal for me. Check out my last post if you’re confused.

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I would’ve gone to bed right after I woke up with dry contact eyes (you know the feeling. you hate the feeling.) without a second thought but I had a FaceTime chat planned with a friend. So I grabbed some clementines (it’s June in case you didn’t know) and some frozen mango chunks, wrote this blog, talked to him and went to bed at a blissful 9:30. So blissful.

The Rock on Which I Stand

Over two months ago, I was talking to one of the high schoolers in the Youth Ministry program that I previously worked at. I asked him a question about the Gospel from that Sunday and he responded along the lines of, “I go to church every Sunday. I’ve heard this story over 25 times now. Nothing stands out to me anymore.”

Out of my semester with this kid and the entire Youth Ministry, this moment stuck out to me the most. I’m not exactly sure why because this is unfortunately common for the youth. But he did not even hesitate when he said it. He was stagnant in his faith.

I deeply respect his honesty but I wanted so badly to change his outlook. Another adult and I shared our experiences with reading the same passages throughout our lives. We told him to ask God in prayer to open his eyes so that he could be refreshed.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post since that day in Panera. I’ve been brainstorming ways that I could share how I overcome Bible stories that I’ve heard over 25 times now.  I didn’t see myself in this high school boy when we were conversing over Pick Two’s but I do now.

I thought that I was doing my best to reflect and pray on everything I read from my Bible. Well, I was doing my best and still try to do but sometimes some external help comes along the way. A song is how it went a few days ago. The lyric: “You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand”.

I’ve heard this before. I sing this allll the time. I know every word to this song. It’s one of the few that make it past the radio test of “it’s been 17 seconds so I need a new song PRONTO”.

But I was in a analytical mood when I was driving home from dinner with a friend who always challenges me in my faith (in a good way!!) and makes me think more than just about anyone else. The Lauren Daigle song came on and that line stuck out to me like I was hearing it for the first time. The rock on which I stand.

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Are you aware of what a rock is?! Like a sturdy stone that does not break and that will never ever lose its strength? You can stand on it for eternity and you will never fall. ETERNITY!

Maybe this means absolutely nothing to you but it does to me. Because the radicality of our Catholic/Christian faith is woooOAAah. Large scale. Big deal. Cannot comprehend in human terms. Massive. Overwhelmingly and absolutely perfection.

The promise that Jesus gave us is our rock if we allow it. He is my Rock and He is your Rock. Don’t let that concept pass you by. I know you’ve heard it at least 25 times like my friend. You go to church too? Cool.

We have a story to listen closer to. To spread to our brothers and sisters. It’s about eternity so mhmm it’s a thriller (as well as the best love story ever told). But first, look down. What are you standing on? The world will tell you one thing but I’ll let my wise brother give you something to think about.Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.41.50 PM

Weird. Interesting. Fear.

“You’re weird and interesting — I love that. Let’s chat.”

That my muchachos is a two sentence snippet of an email someone sent me after I sent them a ridiculously me cover letter. Ridiculously me? Whattaadoesthatmean? That means authentic-no filters-shalom greeting-a few extra letters throw into words-exclamation points everywhere-Kerigan. Add weird and interesting to that trail mix.

Whether this chat leads to a position or not, these two sentences have been bringing a smile to my face and a buzz in my brain ever since they landed in my inbox. Because I am weird and interesting. But I don’t know if as many people know that as they should. All due to the fact that I am fearful. Subconsciously but sometimes not, full of fear.

One of my role models’ birthdays is today and he gave me the bday goodie bag of inspiration. I gave him a yuuuuge grateful hearted thank you. From St. John Paul II’s first homily of his papacy to his last that he wrote but didn’t survive to verbalize, he consistently demanded the human race to not be afraid.

 Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.

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Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.

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Do not be afraid. Christ knows “what is in man”. He alone knows it.

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You won’t be surprised to learn that I’ve thought of a few things he might say to all of us! First he would repeat the words of the Risen Lord: “be not afraid.” He would tell us not to fear opening our hearts to Christ!

annnnd I could keep quoting him on and on and on but I think you see. I hope you see. That fear is a shoulda coulda woulda typa thang that we don’t have time for. However, we make time for it. We live it and we get comfortable in it and it does nothing but nonsense to our majestic purpose.

A fearful girl isn’t called weird or interesting. A girl embracing herself, putting all she has in the hands of the Lord and settling for absolutely nada close to mediocrity just might be.

Happy birthday, fearless fella.

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