Diary of a Tea Lover: The benefits behind the obsession

teapic

Friends! It’s been wayyyyy too long! I am telling you, we are nearing the end with Baby D and there is so much to finish up that these days just fly by in a blur! If I remember right, I posted to all my Instagram followers that I would be doing a blog about the benefits of tea…yeah that was about 12 days ago. See what I mean? Lord have mercy. Well, here it is. I haven’t forgotten about you!

We are all purists here right? Good, that’s what I thought. What that means is, that even though there are many brews out there, purists only count the real thing as being among this list: green, black, white, oolong, and pu-erh.

Being pregnant, I’ve craved tea, and decided to do this post because I found out that a lot of other pregnant moms do too, but they also want to watch caffeine intake. I started brewing LARGE amounts in a huge kettle at home to settle this issue. You can buy tea packets decaffeinated. As you see in the picture above, I get creative with it. I like to mix it up and one of my favorite kinds of teas are the ones that have numerous flavors in them. I like to mix regular tea (I think it’s orange pekoe), some peach tea, and green tea. Add a few lemons to your pitcher, some stevia and ice to your glass if you like it to be sweet, and holy smokes, you could sit there with a jug of it and just drink in the goodness. It’s so refreshing…or maybe that’s just me who does that. 🙂 I loved the freedom to still get my tea fix without taking in too much caffeine, and I like that I can brew it as strong as I want. I like a bold tea flavor. Anyway, without further ado,  listed below is this list of each specific tea and its benefits. Tea originated in a shrub called Camellia Sinensis, native to China and India. It contains high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids which, as we know, are key in curbing those free radicals that cause cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.

Green Tea

Green Tea has a very high concentration of EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate)…whoa! What’s that you ask? Basically, to spare you all the chemistry mumbo-jumbo, it’s a powerful antioxidant. Because of these high levels, green tea will actually interrupt the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic and colorectal cancers. If that’s not reason enough to drink this amazing tea, green tea also helps prevent the clogging of arteries, helps burn fat (I hear all the woman starting their cars and running to target for a box), counteract oxidative stress on the brain, can help with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, reduces your risk of stroke, and helps to improve cholesterol levels.  Yowza, that’s a power packed disease kicking wonder right there!

Next on our list,..

Black Tea

Having the highest caffeine content of the tea family, the leaves of this tea are fermented instead of steamed like Mr. Green up there. If you’re a chai tea lover say, “Hey!” Well, behind every good chai is black tea at its base. Black tea can help protect those lungs (even those subjected to cigarette smoke damage), and it can also help reduce the risk of stroke.

White Tea

This tea is both uncured and unfermented and one study has shown that it could potentially have the most potent anticancer properties.

Oolong Tea

The antioxidants in this tea helped lower the “bad” kind of cholesterol when done in an animal study. There is one variety of oolong called, Wuyi, and even though science hasn’t backed the claims, it is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement.

Pu-erh Tea

I literally have never heard of this tea, but it’s considered a black tea. The leaves of this tea are fermented, aged, and pressed into cakes. Again, an animal study done showed reduced weight loss and lower LDL cholesterol.

From here, we have a long list of herbal teas, which are made from roots, herbs, and fruits, steeped in hot water. Herbal teas have lower concentration of antioxidants, but still good benefits, nonetheless. Just to name a few herbal teas we are familiar with, we have: chamomile, hibiscus, rooibos, and echinacea. I’m not going to go into all of these, but you get the idea–TEA IS AMAZING and AMAZINGLY GOOD FOR YOU! It’s calorie-free, and power-packed with nothing but good body benefits. Now, don’t be adding Sweet N’ Low, Splenda, Equal to your tea. Your basically counteracting yourself. Think this way: Pink, Blue, Yellow-you’re a dead fellow! You’re better off doing the real thing: Sugar, real sugar. Heard of it? Yeah, do that (a small little bit, of course). Calories over Chemicals. You’re body can burn off what’s real, but chemicals are a different story. Do yourself a favor–don’t go there. However, my favorite thing is to get the packets of PureVia which is made from the Stevia plant. It’s a sweetener of the earth. You can get it at your local grocery store. I like to put a few packets in my purse so that I can sweeten my tea when I’m out and know I didn’t have to compromise my health.

I hope you like this post. I hope it was informative. I like knowing that I can drink other things besides water and be getting really good benefits and I’m sure you do, too. Whether your cup of choice, is hot, cold, or you like both, drink up friends…you’re on the right track!

My name is Cait, and I am a tea-a-holic! Until next time…

iced-tea-glass

 

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Thirty-three and Twenty

It’s a cloudy morning and I’m just sitting here doing a little work before I head off to the gym. I thought I’d pop in quick and just give you a little bumpdate! I annoy the heck out of all my facebook followers with my super-sized love for my baby boy, so it’s about time I annoy my blog followers, too. 😛

 

I have a belly!
I have a belly!

how far along? 33 weeks 3 days

total weight gain: Officially hit 20 lbs. this week. I’ve never been more happy to put on weight in my life! Not once have I looked at weight gain as a bad thing during this pregnancy or felt self conscious that I won’t get back into shape; instead I’m overwhelmed with joy that I’m a tool used to keep my precious little one healthy. And healthy means me gaining healthy weight, which I have. Thank you Jesus for that!

how do you feel? I feel sexy pregnant. I think it’s such a beautiful thing. However, I’m starting to hit that “uncomfortable” stage. I don’t feel like I have any more skin to stretch, I feel like I have to pee every two min, and my feet get sore. My mother-in-law told me that just like in our spiritual seasons of life when we get comfortable and God is ready to take us to the new thing, we hit transtion point. The “in between”. Where we start to get uncomfortable enough in the place we are so we can embrace the new thing He has for us. She said, “I believe that’s why almost overnight we get uncomfortable being pregnant. Otherwise, we could stay pregnant forever because it’s so amazing.” I couldn’t agree more!

maternity clothes? One pair of white shorts. And that’s cause I needed some white cutoffs desperately. I love my cutoffs.

stretch marks? Nope! Again, praise the Lord, cocoa butter, and genetics.

sleep: Thanks to my snoogle, better than I would be getting. I just find myself going over lists in my mind of things to get done in this last month and half and before you know it, it’s 1 a.m. and I have yet to drift off.

miss anything? Hmmm…I’m starting to hit the stage where running is becoming less and less of a reality because of my loosening pelvis. Not to mention he sits straight on my bladder. I just wanna run 5 miles…soon enough…soon enough.

movement: Oh boy! Does he ever! He will be a perfect mix of mommy and daddy’s favorite sports. He’s got his dad’s soccer feet, but now he swims around all the time in the most beautiful of motions. Graceful, gentle,  and yet strong. That’s a good man right there! Just like his daddy!

food cravings: Not really… My biggest craving this pregnancy has just been for something fizzy to drink. I love Apple Cider Vinegar, Izze’s, Zevia (natural sodas), and the occasional Cherry Limade from Sonic.

anything making you queasy or sick? In this third trimester, I find I can only eat very frequent, small meals or I start to not feel good. Too much room taken up already by this boy. Too much meat…ick. I eat pretty vegetarian with meat in about one meal.

symptoms: The Braxton Hicks have started (whoa!)

belly button in or out? top half out. If I lay flat, so does the button.

wedding rings on or off? On. Praise Jesus, I’ve not had any swelling in my hands or my ankles.

mood: I’m an emotional person as it is. This third trimester…I cry ALL THE TIME! I’m happy, don’t get me wrong, but a cute kitten vine…here come the waterworks.

looking forward to: Our next set of Maternity photos because my belly is finally big. Our baby shower. Finishing his nursery.

So, as I was typing this, the Lord said to go to Jeremiah 33:3. I did, and this is what it says in the Message version:

“Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”

The last few days I’ve been in a little emotional turmoil where my soul has raged a little and I’ve had a hard time coming back to a place of peace…wow! Did I need to hear this! Funny, that it’s Jeremiah 33:3 and I’m 33 weeks and 3 days. God. Is. So. Cool! And, He really cares!

~HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS~

What? She cooks?

Hi friends,

I’m just sitting here in bed looking like the epitome of pregnant. Just try to handle this picture for a minute: Snoogle propped up so I can lean back and type, rocking my Mumu( and loving it), and drinking a glass of chocolate almond milk to help with the late night heartburn this third trimester has decided to grace me with.

I wanted to share a few fun recipes with you tonight.

First off, I love fall. It’s my second favorite season; summer being my first (beach girl at heart forever). And with fall, I love anything pumpkin flavored. So, when the pumpkin spice latte came early to Starbucks this year, I was all over that! Well, today, I was doing my daily…I mean weekly…shopping at Target and decided I wanted it cold, and in frappe form. Now, as much as I love the infamous PSL, I don’t like all the extra sugar, fat, and calories that tend to come with it. So, when I can’t make my own at home (sorry no recipe for that one tonight), then I had to figure out a way to get it from Starbucks without all the unnecessary “extras” in it. Here’s just a few little tips that go for any of the highly doctored and dessert like coffee’s:

Find out how many pumps of the flavoring they put in the size you are getting. You will be shocked, BELIEVE me. No one needs 4 shots of pumpkin sugar syrup in a TALL–seriously!? Try one or two, you might actually be able to taste the coffee. 😉

Next, make it non-fat milk. I personally can’t wait for the day that Starbucks decides to get with it and carry almond milk because personally, cows milk is just a no-no in my diet. It should be a no-no in everyone’s, but that’s their choice. However, if it’s once in a blue moon, it’s not the end of the world. There are a lot worse things.

And last, no whip! I know, I love it too, but you’ll be surprised how you can train your taste buds. Before you know it, you like it better without. *sometimes it’s okay to splurge though–I do.

For the preggies out there like me, go ahead and make it decaf if you’re watching caffeine intake.

Last little tip that I like to do. Bring a scoop of your protein in a baggie with you and ask them to blend it in. You have just “healthified” your drink. Don’t you feel good already?

Here’s my decaf, non-fat, no whip, proteing PSL frappe from today. MMMM…..

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Next thing I want to share with y’all is what I cooked for dinner tonight. Yes, yes I the wife ACTUALLY cooked. In our house, my husband is the dinner cook. I like to bake, that’s my thing, or do breakfast. I love breakfast and can make a mean omelet. But, when it comes to dinner, my husband gets home from work and goes to work in the kitchen–and loves it. He’s my chef, and the arrangement works great because I just don’t find pleasure in cooking dinner. I do find pleasure in watching him bust out a meal though…he’s so good at it. But, occasionally, I get in a mood–thanks Pinterest–and I find a recipe like this one below, and before you know it, I’m all over it in the kitchen. Anything that uses a crock pot is on the top of my list because, it’s normally pretty simple and basically does the work for you. Hmmm…I still am pretty lazy when it comes to dinner apparently…

I replaced the sauce that you make with Greek yogurt instead of using regular, plain yogurt. By straining it like they want you to, you are basically doing that to it anyway, so since Greek is all I keep in the house, this made it easier once again.

Try it. Enjoy it. It’s amazing!

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/03/slow-cooker-chicken-gyros.html

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P.S. immediately after this picture I shoveled off over half the sauce I put on my poor husbands pita…see, this is why I don’t do dinner. I was just scooping away….Lord have mercy!

Lastly, I featured my sister and her blog in my previous post. She is doing the Fall Foodie Challenge–a 20 day challenge for people to send in their favorite healthy fall recipe that won’t set us back in our fitness goals, but that doesn’t sacrifice taste. Well, it’s my turn. Like I mentioned above, I love breakfast with all my heart and soul and I never skip it! I might even venture to say that while I love a good Thanksgiving dinner, the breakfast that we have in our family almost tops it…that’s how much I love it. So, it wouldn’t be my Fall recipe if it wasn’t healthy or breakfast-y. Let me know when you make these. I haven’t made these myself yet, so I’m so excited to try it. I love regular cinnamon rolls so much, so I can only imagine what part of Heaven these will be. I would love your feedback or things that you substituted/changed to better fit your needs, or even found made them taste better. Seriously, it’s 11 o’ clock, and I want one!

Photo credit and recipe goes to the the author of the blog below where I discovered this recipe. (I wish I was cool enough to made this up on my own)

http://www.eatliverun.com

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Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

makes 10 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread

1/3 cup almond milk

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp warm water

1 (1/4th oz) package dry yeast

2 cups all purpose flour (could try substituting for whole wheat of coconut flour)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground ginger

filling:

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, softened

2 tsp cinnamon

for glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp almond milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the almond milk and the Earth Balance together in a small pan on the stove over low/medium heat until the Earth Balance melts and the milk is warm to the touch. Remove from heat, let cool a little (temperature should be around 100 degrees—like warm bath water. If it’s hotter than that, the yeast will die and the rolls won’t rise!) sprinkle in the yeast and stir so yeast will dissolve. Let yeast mixture sit for five minutes (it will look very creamy after a few minutes).

Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin and chia mixture (when you combine the chia seeds and water be sure to let the mixture sit for five minutes to gel a little bit). In another bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin. Pour in yeast.

Knead dough by hand for about 10 minutes or with a KitchenAid for six on medium speed with either a paddle attachment or dough hook. The dough should be smooth and elastic when you’re done.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a dishcloth and set in a warm area to rise for 1 hour 15 minutes. While the dough is rising, mix together the softened Earth Balance, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Remove dough and punch dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a large rectangle and spread brown sugar mixture on top keeping an inch bare around the sides. Gently roll up dough so it resembles a log. Slice dough into 1/2 inch slices and place in a greased 9-inch casserole dish. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 25 minutes. Let cool while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, almond milk and vanilla extract. If glaze seems too runny, add a little more powdered sugar. Place glaze in a small plastic bag and snip the tip off. Make swirls over the cooled rolls and serve.

Time:

3 hours

Well, that’s all for the adventure tonight. Hope you were able to take away some good tips for modifying your Starbucks drinks, maybe having your dinner for tomorrow already set, or your mouth is watering because you can’t wait to bake these scrumptious yummies above. I know mine is…

In the meantime, stay healthy, stay happy, and stay ready for the next blog.

Goodnight friends!

xoxo

 

 

Lost in Black & White

There is a quote that says, “No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”

This I find to be so true! Me and my husband love to read. One of our new found favorite “mini” dates is getting in the car after work and heading to the library. It’s like an exciting adventure to see what we can come away with. No lie, I feel quite intimidated when I go with him though. He’s is a machine in a library. He meets me all in a time span of about ten minutes with at least three large books, and then proceeds to show me about five more that he already has on his mental “what to read next” list. Oh, and don’t let me forget he’s already on the library website requesting new reads to come in from other libraries through this system called the “inter-library loan”. On top of that, he is the most diverse reader I’ve ever met. He is a history major so he’s always got some kind of historical novel in there, but then he will have a scientific fantasy novel and then a book about Abraham Lincoln being a vampire or something like that. I believe that is why he is so smart, he never puts boundaries on himself when he reads. Do you see what I mean? Intimidating… This is a guy who reads a 350 page book in a day–not kidding. Meanwhile, he says, “What did you find?” I timidly hold up the latest little Nicholas Sparks novel I haven’t read yet (yeah just one), and you bet your sweet speed-reading hiney I will probably take the full three week time limit to read it. Hey , it’s just the way we are, but all our reading differences aside, we share the same love of reading and it’s become one of our favorite things to go do together.

I say I only read one book at a time, and normally I do, but pregnancy changes a lot of things. It wasn’t until I started compiling my list to share with you that I realized I’m literally reading all of these right now. Uh oh folks, she’s getting cool!

I’m going to share my latest reads from spiritual reading to even pregnancy reading and give you a little review on what I think. If you’re looking for your next “good read”, I hope to inspire you. And for all the soon-to-be mommies out there, we go into like crazy new mom mode trying to read up on everything before little one gets here, so hopefully you find some inspiration as well.

Enjoy your day friends!

First book on our list:

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This book will blow your mind! So often we look at books that talk about forgiveness and walk the other way because we’ve heard all the religious spiritual ritual before. I’m here to tell you that this book gets to the heart where forgiveness can freely flow, and THAT’S the truth of forgiveness. Learning to free our own hearts from the ice prison we’ve locked it in is just the first step. This is a magnificent read! Go pick it up.

Next:

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Blessing Your Spirit by Arthur Burke is such an amazing book. They are daily Spirit blessing you read over your spirit to bring it to life. If you’ve never done spirit blessings, let me tell you that they are amazing. We have the authority to call our spirit to attention and speak life into it. Every day has a new area to bless your spirit in, and I love the depth at which he calls our spirits forth. You will feel the daily difference. It’s amazing!

And next:

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The Healing Codes is for any of you who believe like I do–God and science aren’t separate. God created all things and said they were good. He is in science and every health related issue is related across the board to every other issue in our life. This book shows that truly every little ailment all the way to cancer has a root source to stress and stress alone. Not the surface level stress we experience on a daily basis, but because of surface level stress or trauma, or emotional pain left unresolved sends our nervous system shutting down and before you know it–too much pressure on any one area untreated for too long is bound to break. He tells about how, on a plane home from a medical seminar, he was crying out to God for a way to heal his wife from severe bi-polar depression for the majority of their marriage. Nothing worked, medicine, nothing. God encountered him, gave him a scientific download. He got home and used the healing codes on her and she hasn’t taken another prescription drug since. His co-author, ailed with a a fatal disease–healed because of the healing codes. Some people don’t believe the way I do, and that’s okay. But, I believe that God and science are one in the same. If he created my entire being and its functions, and he created ALL things–that’s what the Word says–then when I chose to follow Jesus, I didn’t just choose to believe a little of Him. I believe in all and all of Him! I’ve said this before, but Christians get so weird about meditation and things that other cultures are tapping into. They put a demonic label on it and never choose to look at the fact that, while these cultures are using these things to worship other gods or make them their gods and (we don’t believe that stuff), that God created all things. But we’ve put limits on it and these cultures haven’t. They are brave enough to reach out into the earth that OUR God created and embrace all of it. I’m amazed and saddened at what we have shut ourselves down to that is our territory in the first place. Satan has no original thought. He can only take what God created FIRST and counterfeit it. When I go to yoga, for instance, and see parts of the Healing Codes being applied and knowing the yogis/Hindus have been doing this for centuries, I’m truly saddened by the number of Christian people who refuse to believe that our God did this first and that, had we just taken what’s rightfully ours in the kingdom, could have been experiencing all of this before now. Well, I believe it. You may not, and that’s your prerogative, but if you believe this way and love health, fitness, and Jesus as much as I do–read this book. I’m not finished with it yet, but everything I’ve read is SO good!

download

I just finished this Nicholas Sparks book. Huge fan–I know so girly–WHATEVER! Have to say, it wasn’t my favorite of all his books so far, but one can hardly complain because even though it wasn’t in my “top”, it’s still so good. He’s just that great!

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And currently haven’t even finished the first chapter of this yet, but I read her book beach girls and watched the show based off that book–loved it. So, this is my current read and I’m excited to see what it’s like.

OK, that’s it for just regular reading. Now onto pregnancy reads.

First up:

We have these three gems.Photo Sep 03, 8 39 38 AM

Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize–AMAZING! Short and sweet-childbirth does not have to be pain. It talks about living in the New Covenant and not the Old. Pain in childbirth is under the curse of the Old Testament law and that when Jesus died, he restored the standard. YAY! It’s a faith building book that teaches you how to build your faith when it comes to believing for children after miscarriage onto healthy pregnancies, healthy deliveries, and healthy babies. The author was told she would never conceive and she has four beautiful children because she chose to believe the word of the Lord instead. It’s practical and realistic, but it’s also standing on God’s word and believing for your portion and inheritance that He’s given to us through the death of His son. Truly amazing book.

The little book with it is called Prayers and Promises, is from the same author and it is just that-prayers and promises. It’s scripture promises from the word of God and prayers they have in their that you read over yourself and stand on. Really awesome. I recommend it with the book.

And of course, you can’t be pregnant without having the holy grale of pregnancy books:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

This is just great and most everyone knows what this is. I will say that I take parts of this book with a grain of salt and I’ve even chosen to not even read some areas because either they are too fear based or I know they aren’t good things to fill my spirit with–meaning, as I said above, so much is under the curse and it’s not my inheritance. So, while I’m building my faith in the areas that are truth and life-giving, I’m not going to read all the “You could have this and this and ya-da ya-da ya-da…” Just as with everything–take the meat and spit out the sticks.

On Becoming Baby Wise:

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Haven’t started this yet, but I’ve heard overall really good things about it. Again, I’ve heard there are some sticks you have to throw out but that, for the most part, it’s a great book that covers topics on feeding philosophies, hunger and sleep cycles, and helping babies establish routines. I’m all about that. I’ve watched too many children at the age of four and six throwing fits when their parents say the word “bedtime” and that’s ridiculous in my opinion. Or still sleeping with mommy and daddy, or barging in the bedroom. Boundaries people. We all need them and children actually want them. It’s healthy to grow a self-sufficient human being. A good friend of mine did a church led version of this, and she said something that’s stuck with me from this method. It was that the parents bedroom is sacred and that while you’re children should always feel safe to come to you, they need to understand they just don’t have the right to barge in, especially if the door is closed. This is so true. Keeping healthy boundaries is an essential and beneficial part of life. While it will be a while before little one is old enough to think about barging in on mommy and daddy, discipline doesn’t happen overnight and this book is supposed to teach you how to put little things in motion at each stage that they are at while still supplying and nurturing their needs.

*If you’ve read this book, give me your feedback. I’d like to hear it. The two featured here are birth to a year I think, and then book two is 1-5 years.

Last but CERTAINLY not least:

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Remember the Spirit blessings book? Well, this is actually a 3 CD version called Baby Blessings. Each CD is filled with a plethora of different spirit blessings. Pop them in and he calls your baby’s spirit to attention in the womb in the name of Jesus and begins blessings over your little one that are truly outrageous! Some of the things he prays I remember thinking, “Whoa!” The revelation and the depth of each prayer are things half of us haven’t even thought of to pray. He received the download from the Father on what to pray and because of that, and just by me agreeing in the spirit, I’ve even received amazing downloads from these CD’s. That’s what’s so beautiful about it–you and your baby are one at this time, so things you receive are transferred to your baby and vice versa. It’s such an intimate and supernatural experience. HIGHLY recommend!

As for one more category of “reads”, I want to feature my online reading. Hence, I want to feature a blog. My sister’s blog actually. She’s an amazing entrepreneur, wife, homemaker, and just about anything under the sun you can think of. She’s basically awesome and I think you’ll really enjoy her blog. She’s doing a Fall Foodie Challenge right now that you should get in on. Twenty days to send her your easy and healthy Fall recipe favorites and she will feature one of them a day on her blog. At the end of 20 days, you will have printables of every recipe that was turned in. The holidays don’t have to be a waistline killer, but we are both foodies and don’t want to sacrifice taste either. We LOVE to eat! Anyway, here is the link to her blog–check it out!

http://shelbyehomemaker.wordpress.com/

And stay tuned…my next blog will be my favorite healthy Fall dessert recipe!