Happy Thursday Everyone! Last week (June 17th to be exact) was my 29th birthday.I can honestly say my 20′s were a time of great pruning, weeding, growing my roots down deep in Christ, and growing, growing, growing! I am looking forward to continuing my race, running each day with my eyes fixed on the author of my life~ Jesus! The more that I fall in love with Jesus, the more that I want to give my life as an offering to Him!
I wanted to share a few of the photos from my birthday bash. I don’t know about you guys, but in my family we have a few traditions for birthdays, one of which is my ice cream cake! I make everyone their own personalized cake based on their favorite flavors each year! We also do grilled kabobs of some sort for everyones special day! I love birthdays for that very reason…Spending time with family, carrying on traditions!
This year I got a special surprise that I wasn’t expecting at all, which was a fully decorated office by my sister Sarah! It was one of the greatest birthday gifts I have ever received to say the least! I came home from my parents house and my husband said, “Hey Kate, what’s that in your office!?!” I looked in and my jaw dropped! I said that I felt like I was on a home decorating show! :) Thank you Sarah!!! I’m so blessed by the beautiful atmosphere she created in this room that I spend so much time in!
She got me a recipe binder to keep some of my favorite recipes in, which is such a treasure!
The next day, on my actual birthday, I woke up to yet another suprise from my other sister Emily! Talk about birthday blessings, and amazing sisters! :) She bought me some of my favorite little things!
For breakfast I had a protein shake of course! Since it was my birthday, I had to top it with some Redi Whip and chocolate rice cereal (my husbands) to make it extra special of course!
For lunch we went to Cheesecake Factory, which is one of my favorite restaurants! It just opened a few months ago here in Michigan, and it is so popular that the wait is 6+ hours at times! Luckily, since we went on a weekday for lunch we got right in!
For lunch my sister Emily and I had the Mexican Tortilla Salad! (This salad is on their Skinnylicious menu, which I love! It has tons of flavorful, yet lower calorie options.)
Cheesecake Factory is located in a mall, so of course we had to go shopping! I love Sephora when I am in the mood to play with fun makeup and products! Who doesn’t love exploring all the wonderful lipgloss colors out there after all!?! Although I always end up trying on a bunch of stuff on my hand, I almost always leave with nothing, unless it’s something I actually need, (thank you Dave Ramsey!) ;)
After leaving the mall we had some time to kill before dinner, so of course we had to make a Frozen Yogurt stop! It was my birthday after all- this is a birthday must on a birthday in my opinion! ;)
Afterwards we went back to my parents house where I got to sit and relax while my sisters and mom prepared the dinner! I obviously LOVE to cook, but it was nice to just enjoy time with the family for once!
And I got to spend a little extra time cuddling this cutie-pa-tootie, (my parent’s dog Izzy)! ;)
For dinner we had the traditional grilled chicken and veggie kabobs, baked whole grain pita, and a great big salad! My faves in the summer!
After dinner I opened gifts…One of which was a Dessert Bullet from my parents! This gift is right up my alley! It is a frozen yogurt maker where you basically grind up frozen fruit and Greek yogurt to make your own ice cream blend! Talk about YUM!!! I can’t wait to experiment with this fun kitchen gadget and see what kind of recipes I whip up!
I also got a few more fun things for my new office, and some really cute Asics tennis shoes from my sisters!
My husband got me a really cute sweatshirt and dress, which was pretty darn good for a guy to pick out by himself I must say!
For dessert, I had to make the peanut butter ice cream cake of course! There is no other flavor that tops the combination of peanut butter and chocolate in my opinion! :) Luckily, most of my family also agrees!
It was a pretty darn good ending to a great day! :)
And just when I thought it was over… My husband had one last surprise for me! This past weekend he took me to Sur La Table for a cooking class! It has been a dream of mine for a long time to start teaching cooking classes out of my own home, but I really wanted to attend one first so that I could get some tips and ideas on how to structure a class.
My hubby signed us up for a class called, Baking with Seasonal Fruits. We ended up making a total of four dishes in a hour long class!
Our instructor, Erin was amazing! She was so cute and hilarious, which made it all the more fun!
We made a strawberry shortcake, a peach cobbler, blueberry muffins, and strawberry tart! None of it was actually healthy, but it certainly gave me lots of great ideas, and got me really excited to teach people how to cook and bake using simple healthy ingredients!
After the class we got to try some of the dishes we made. Everything tastes more delicious and satisfying when you make something from scratch yourself!
This was such an amazing experience, and I highly recommend everyone from the beginning home cook to the experienced chef. It was so much fun!
It was a wonderful way to celebrate the last year in my 20′s! Thank you for all the birthday wishes by the way! I felt beyond blessed, and my heart was full!!! xo Katie
If you haven’t already heard me rave about meal planning, I certainly encourage you to check out this post on how-to meal plan for the week. Making lunches ahead of time, (aka meal prepping) is one of the best things you can do in my opinion. It saves you time, and if you are used to eating out for lunch, it will certainly save you money (and calories) in the long run! One of my favorite things to prep ahead of time for lunches is salads. They are quick, easy, and delicious! The only problem with preparing them ahead of time is that they can get soggy if you don’t pack them up correctly….So I decided to share some of my favorite tips on how to prep fresh, crisp, and tasty salads ahead of time for the week!
I start preparing my salads by planning what type of salads I will be making that week. I am someone who could eat the same thing for a few days without getting tired of it, so I generally plan to have the same ingredients on my salads for that week. (I generally make about 4 salads per week, and the rest of the week I plan to eat leftovers from some of my dinners). After I plan out what type of salads I will be having, (as well as what other meals I will be making for the week), I make a list and go grocery shopping for my ingredients.
When I get home, I start preparing the meat/proteins for my salad. This is usually chicken- either grilled, baked, or cooked in the crockpot, and some times hard boiled eggs. Other sources of protein/fats that I like to add to salads are chickpeas, nuts, feta cheese, shaved parmesan, and avocado, just to name a few!
While my meat is cooking, I wash my fruits and vegetables, and lay them out on a big kitchen towel, which makes it easy to wash them all at once.
I then dry them individually, and slice them up. (You can put them in separate containers at this point, or if you don’t want to dirty dishes, you can just keep them on separate piles on the clean kitchen towel.)
Then, once my meat is cooked (and cooled), and my veggies are washed, dried, and chopped, I am ready to assemble my salads! The key here is to put the ingredients in layers (I like medium size mason jars, which I bought in a 12 pack at Walmart for a really good deal, or Tupperware/sealed containers of some sort. Layering will ensure that none of your ingredients get mushed which would make them bruised, soggy, and wet.
I recommend starting with your meat, and beans if you are using them. Next, start layering your vegetables, starting with the most firm vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, celery, etc. Then layer the cheese on if you are using any, and end your softest vegetables and fruit at the top. Also, if you are using nuts, hard boiled eggs, or avocado, I find that these are best on the very top because they tend to get soggy.
Now that you have your salad ‘toppings’ prepped, it’s time to prep the heart of the salad- the lettuce! I like to divide anywhere from 3-4 cups of romaine lettuce, spinach, (or shredded cabbage if I’m doing Asian inspired salads) among a few different Tupperware containers (depending on how many salads I am making that week). I like to package the lettuce in individual medium-big size containers (4-6 cup size) that will allow for some extra room at the top to pour and mix in my toppings when I am ready to eat my salad. I also pack up a few small containers (1/4-1/2 cup size) with dressing. (Please note that you don’t have to prep your lettuce ahead of time, as you may not even have room in your fridge to do so! The good thing is, throwing the lettuce in a container in the morning only takes a matter of seconds, and when your toppings are already pre-packed, the hard part is already done!)
Now to put it all together. When you are ready to enjoy your salad, simply open your jar/container with your salad ingredients, and your large Tupperware filled with lettuce, and pour the toppings and dressing on! If you want, you can put the lid back on the large Tupperware, and give your salad a shake to mix everything together, and enjoy!
Large Baking Pan- Where to Find: Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams & Sonoma, etc.
Glass Nesting Mixing Bowls- Where to Find: Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams & Sonoma, etc.
Mini Spatula- Where to Find: Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams & Sonoma, etc.
Ice Cream Scooper- Where to Find: Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Williams & Sonoma, etc.
Sharp Kitchen Knife- Where to Find: Williams & Sonoma, etc. Brands to Consider: Lower-priced: Chicago Cutlery, Forschner / Higher-priced: Wüsthof, Henckels
Hand Held Mandolin Slicer- Where to Find: Home Goods, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.
Parchment Paper Muffin Liners- Where to Find: Kroger, etc.
Vegetable Spiralizer- Williams & Sonoma
Vitamix Blender- Williams & Sonoma
If you don’t want to invest in a Vitamix, I also recommend:
Ninja Blender, Kitchen Aid Blender, or a Magic Bullet
I am BLESSED and encouraged to share this beautiful word from my good friend Sarah Shaffer! She is an amazing woman whom I met through health coaching, and God is now using her to help other women find freedom! She is a mom of two, and here she shares some practical and real-life tips on balancing it all, and staying mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy as a stay at home mom! (Even if you aren’t a mom, there is such rich wisdom on overcoming food related temptations!) I hope it blesses you guys as much as it did me!
It’s Hard to be at Home
By: Sarah Shaffer
When my daughter was born four years ago, my husband and I took a huge leap of faith, one of the biggest in our life together. We prayerfully decided that it was time for me to leave a successful career in public relations and marketing to stay at home full-time with our kids. When I left my career, there were things I expected. I expected to buy more yoga pants, and fewer heels. I expected to have more playdates and fewer lunch meetings. I expected children songs to become embedded in my mind, and to embrace the routine of picking up toys over and over again. However, one thing that I did not expect, or adequately prepare for was the isolation that can come from being at home. While I considered (and still do) the ability to stay at home a huge blessing, the fact is, that it can be very lonely. Though I had battled eating disorders for most of my adult life (specifically binge eating), I was not prepared for how much more severe it would become for me as a stay-at-home mom. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that my binge eating was getting out of control and that the Enemy was getting a tighter grip on me in that area. I remember desperately crying out to the Lord asking Him to reveal ways for me to avoid eating inappropriately, out of isolation and loneliness. He is always faithful! Almost instantly I felt hope as He inspired thoughts that would help set and keep me free.
My prayer is that the Lord would use my struggle to help set other women free. I pray that what the Lord has graciously revealed to me over the past four years will bless you. If you are struggling today, you are not alone and the Lord who sees knows your pain. He will free and restore you, it’s His promise!
These are just some of the ways the Lord has shown me how to live in freedom:
• Pray! Something I asked of the Lord when I cried out to Him was that He give me a quick, easy, instant replacement for thoughts of food and eating. I knew that in the chaos of my day, it had to be simple or it wouldn’t be done. His response was, “pray for someone else”. The most powerful way that the lord helped me overcome eating out of loneliness or isolation, was to immediately shift my focus to praying for someone else. How powerful! Not only was the Lord keeping me from my own sin, but calling me to be more effective for the Kingdom! “Is anyone among you is suffering? Let him pray!” James 5:13
• Rest! I am a doer, I feel more fulfilled when I’m accomplishing something. This was something I had to work through (and do daily) with the Lord. I would run myself ragged trying to accomplish tasks around the house. After leaving my career, I no longer had a boss to report to, I wasn’t getting performance reviews, and I wasn’t getting promotions or accolades. As a result, I felt that my value could only be measured by what I had done. In my mind, if the house was clean, meals were prepared, and everything and everyone smelled, and looked, and acted nice I was successful. I was also exhausted. Rest was a rare indulgence. As I worked myself into a weary state, I would become weak and more vulnerable to attack. The Lord revealed to me that it’s not only okay to rest, but it’s critical to keeping me strong against attack from the Enemy.
• Enjoy a healthy indulgence! Flipping through a magazine is one of my favorite things to do. For me, reading a magazine is a luxury. So, when I’m tempted to fill myself in inappropriate ways, I’ve learned that it’s okay to luxuriate like that. I’ve also learned that enjoying a “treat” that won’t cause me to stumble can help me avoid eating when I’m not hungry. I love a club soda was fresh lime; it makes me feel like I’m on vacation. Or, an iced coffee in the afternoon. Enjoy it and offer praise for that time to “fill your tank”!
• Run away!!! One of the most powerful tools I’ve learned to use are my feet! When the attack is fierce, my defense needs to be stronger as well. Sometimes I just need to literally turn off the lights in the kitchen, and run from the temptation! There have been times that the pull has been so strong I’ve even had to walk out of the house! “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Cor 10:13
• Find your people! On the days when I feel the temptation to binge coming on, I need to be purposeful to be outside of my house. It’s those days that I schedule a play date with friends, or spend the morning at the park surrounded by the sights and sounds of other people, or even just spend the morning walking around the mall. Being intentional about staying out of the house and surrounding myself with others really helps mitigate the battle.
• Sing! It’s hard for a mouth filled with praise and worship to be sinning. When I feel tempted to fill my mouth with food inappropriately, I purposefully start praising (and praying). Almost immediately I feel my soul fill and the presence of the Lord fill the lonely spaces. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!” Psalm 104;33
• Get support! The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron!! Friends, I cannot emphasis enough how critical this point is. CRITICAL! Please, if you haven’t before, ask God to give you someone, just one person that you can depend on and be accountable to. Second only to prayer and worship, this has been the most vital to my success! On the days, and in the moments when you feel alone and tempted to fill that void with food, you’ll have someone to pray for you. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had an accountability partner for the past four years! Almost daily we touch base to make sure that we are filling our souls with the Word of God, disciplining our bodies with both proper eating and exercise, and asking for specific prayer needs. Katie’s health coaching is an incredible resource to help fill this need! I absolutely would not be where I am today without it! “But instead warn admonish, urge, and encourage one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened into settled rebellion by the deceitfulness of sin by the fraudulence, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him.” Hebrews 3:13
It’s almost Memorial Day…Which means it’s almost Summer Time! What a Better way to Celebrate the Coming of Summer than a Recipe Round-Up of Summer & BBQ inspired Dishes?
I Hope this Round-Up of Cool & Refreshing Summer Time Meals, Snacks & Treats Inspires You to Get Healthy in an Enjoyable Way this Summer!
My mom is truly one of the most amazing women I know. I know many of you can relate because let’s face it, moms give their lives for their children. The main reason that my mom is so special to me is because of her constant life of love that she has displayed to not only our family, but to everyone that crosses her path.
This life of love is displayed in many ways, but one that stands out the most to me is the way that she prays for our family. One of the greatest memories I have of my mom is her tucking my sisters and I into bed at night and praying over us. She would never even let us leave the house without praying protection and blessings over us! My mom is nothing short of a prayer warrior, and I am confident that it was those prayers that protected my sisters and I from danger, wrong paths, and even poor decisions.
The most amazing thing to me is the way that she prayed for me specifically when I was going through eating disorders. I tell people all the time when they asked me how I got free that I am convinced that I wouldn’t have the testimony I have today if it weren’t for the power of a praying momma! I remember there were a few times when I would come into my room and find her on her knees by my bed. I could tell that in my darkest hour that she was behind the scenes fighting for me, even when I wasn’t fighting for myself. For this, I could never thank her enough, and I am sure that my mom’s prayer life will be a great part of her legacy.
The second attribute that really stands out about my mom is how she gives. For as long as I could remember, she was always giving, whether it be in acts of service, generosity, or compassion. She has always been the type of woman that pours out love in tangible ways to others. I have often heard people say that when my mom walks in the room, you just feel loved. She portrays this love with her warm embrace, sweet encouraging words, and selfless attitude. I can truly say with everything in me that my mom is the kind of woman who shines the love of Jesus everywhere she goes. I truly hope to carry on this amazing trait as I can see a world that is in growing need of love, encouragement, and compassion.
And last but not least, the thing I love most about my mom is that she truly is a woman after God’s own heart. Lately I have been studying the life of David, and in doing so I have learned a lot about what makes someone a woman or man after God’s own heart. One of the greatest qualities that I have found to be so evident in David’s life is that he worshiped and trusted the Lord with everything in him. Sure, David (just like everyone of us) made some poor choices, but despite his imperfections, he had a heart that was truly committed to the Lord.
I can truly say that my mom has this same heart, which is evident in everything she does. The neat thing about my mom is that I don’t even have to be around her every day to know how she spends her time. I know by the fruit that is growing in her life that she stays connected to the ‘vine’ and author of life, who is Jesus. Because of her rich and vibrant heart for the Lord, His life flows through her onto others in a beautiful and effortless way.
My mom has always said that being a mom is one of life’s most rewarding jobs, all while being the most difficult at the same time. I know one day I will get to experience this first hand when I have my own children, but for now, I fully trust this statement as I work one on one with hundreds of women that call themselves “mom” on a daily basis. For that reason, I chose not only to write this tribute to my mom to honor her, but also to bring encouragement to all of the amazing mothers out there as well!
I want to encourage you that every prayer you have ever prayed for your family has not gone in vain. Even if it seems like it isn’t really doing much or that you are not seeing the fruit, I can promise you that every time you kneel down beside your child’s bed or pray a prayer of protection, that those prayers are shaping their destiny…and they are powerful!
I want to encourage you that your constant giving is making a lasting impact on your family and those around you.. You might feel some days like you have nothing left to give, but I can promise you that every ounce of love, encouragement, compassion, and comfort is never wasted. Whether you know it or not, every time that you give of yourself, you are shining Jesus in a tangible way…which I can guarantee stands out in this world today.
And last but not least, I want to encourage you that the Lord sees you. He sees your heart and He knows how hard you work for your family every single day. He doesn’t look at your imperfections or even your less than perfect actions, but He looks on your heart. He knows that your greatest desire is to be the best mother to your family. For this, He is is proud of you, and not a day goes by that He is not cheering you on!
To my amazing mom and all of the wonderful women that call themselves ‘moms’ out there, Happy Mothers Day!
This program was designed with brides in mind, but it is awesome for anyone who wants to get in shape for a big day!
Happy Spring Everyone!!! What a glorious time of year this is, when the dead things come back to life! Such a beautiful season, that can’t help but remind us of the redeeming goodness of our God! My husband always buys me tulips (one of my favorite flowers) at the beginning of spring- which always reminds me- sunshine and warmth are near! :) This makes my heart happy!
Another way that spring has made it’s way around our house is by changing up the decor! We finally took down all the winter themed decor (I couldn’t stand to see snowflakes any more- until next year anyway!) So, even when it was still snowing outside in April- yes- snow in April…I put bursts of spring around the home! I told my husband, hey- it’s spring somewhere! :) Here are a few pictures of some of the little spring accents I brought in around the home to brighten things up!
One of my favorite parts of spring is of course Easter Sunday! It is one of my favorite times- to celebrate the resurrection power of Jesus! Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the day, which was spent at my sisters house!
Easter Sunday this year was a double celebration, as it was also my oldest sisters birthday! We had Grilled Chicken and Veggie Kabobs, and instead of a traditional cake, my sister wanted fruit, so I created a fun way to serve it, to make it extra special for her birthday! :)
We also had some Greek style salad on the side! One of my favorite meals!
And of course- your never too old to color eggs! :) What a wonderful day it was to spend celebrating Jesus, my sister’s birthday, and spend time with family! Hope you all had a great Easter as well!
Other latest happenings this spring have been going to the Kari Jobe Majestic Concert- AMAZING!!! You have to download her new CD called Majestic if you haven’t already! I’ve been listening to it on repeat- it’s that good!
I have been enjoying wearing spring colors- even if it’s still a bit chilly here in Michigan! It’s the little things that make me so happy! :) Nothing like switching from black scarves to pink! It just does something to your heart- ya know!?
And…Last but not least, I have been enjoying my new spiral vegetable slicer! This thing is amazing! It was a gift…but I think you can get it for around $40 at Williams and Sonoma! :) I will have to use these zucchini noodles in a recipe soon!
Also, I have been enjoying making new Spring Inspired Recipes for you guys! It might be my favorite time of year for creating fresh new flavors! Be sure to check out the Top 30 Spring Recipes on Dashing Dish right now if you haven’t already done so!
Well that’s about it for now…Been hard at work preparing my Bridal Bootcamp (coming May 1st) for you new brides-to-be…and of course the upcoming new Dashing Dish website and books! Can’t wait to share them with you guys! Hope you are all having a great start to this beautiful season, where our Great God makes ALL things NEW! xo Katie
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As the winter turns to spring around us, I am reminded in such a powerful way of how the Lord takes what was once dead and breaths His life into it, making it new.
Good Friday & Easter are special reminders of God’s amazing ability to take what was once dead and bring it back to life. As we reflect on the true meaning of these days, we remember how He took Jesus, who was dead for three days, and brought Him back to life, so that we could have abundant life and eternal salvation! What a beautiful picture of how He truly does renew and restore!
I am personally so grateful to Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins, but the amazing thing is…He did it for you too! And what’s even more amazing is that He did so much more than wash away our sins when He went to the cross.
The bible explains what exactly Jesus did when He he was crucified, and it just takes my breath away! He not only bore our sins, but the bible says that when He went to the cross He carried our weakness, and was weighed down with our sorrows. He was beaten so we could be made whole…and whipped so we could be healed! In fact, Isaiah 53 paints a portrait of what Jesus bore when He went to the cross for you and I:
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53)
We all have areas weaknesses, and we have all been through things that have caused us sorrow and pain… But we can see in this passage of scripture that Jesus bore it all for you and me to have complete freedom and restoration from anything and everything life brings our way.
Jesus did not promise a life free from pain, in fact He told us in his word that, “In this world you will have trouble…” But He followed this statement with, “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Which means that no matter what we go through in this life, we can overcome it with Jesus!
I’m living proof that there is nothing too big or small that you can’t overcome with Jesus by your side! If you don’t know Him personally, just ask Him to reveal himself to you, and I can promise He will! After all, He didn’t die for you and I only to keep Himself a secret! He loves you so much and wants to reveal Himself to you more than you even want to know Him!
It doesn’t matter how hopeless your situation may look, or how dead something might seem. If you bring it to the God who brings life to the dead, you can surely rest in the fact that He will bring hope, restoration, and renewal to ever area of your life as well!
I pray that you come to know God’s great love for you in a deeper way this spring season. xo Katie
Spring Has Sprung! I have collected 30 of my Top Easter & Spring Recipes here to make your meal planning simple and fresh this season!