It seems these days I live for the weekends to come and bask in both the activities and relaxation they bring. My work week is so busy, stressful, and I endure such long days - getting up at 4am, being away from home for 11+ hours each day - that when the weekends roll around I'm ready to just enjoy them.
I like to do my morning exercise outdoors on the weekends, because I sleep later and by the time I'm ready, the sun has come up which makes it safer for walking or bike riding. I love to walk outdoors in the brisk air when the sun is just peaking through. What starts out, however, as a quiet peaceful walk quickly turns into a medley of neighborhood dogs barking (in their homes or yards) as I walk by and stir things up! I'm sure my neighbors appreciate that more than I know! Ha!
Last night we attended the first anniversary celebration of our favorite coffee house downtown - Calvin Fletcher Coffee Company and enjoyed seeing lots of friends, listening to some great music, and partaking in the awesome beverages that CFCC offers. I'm a tea drinker rather than a coffee drinker and I love that CFCC has such a great variety. I've been hearing some good things about their Chai tea latte (blended) that I think I'll have to try it the next time I go in. My husband loves their espresso (and buys a pound bag of beans quite often to enjoy at home) and both of our kids frequent CFCC a lot.
I'm excited that the calendar shows this next week is the beginning of the Autumn season. My favorite! I'm already thinking of all the different recipes that I can try with seasonal vegetables and fruits, especially from the squash family! Pumpkins! There is some pureed pumpkin in my freezer that I'm excited to have, as I'm not sure how plentiful that beautiful orange gourd will be this year again.
Recently we had a couple "giant" zucchini that my Mom had given me from her garden - you know the kind... so with Emilee's help, we made a great stuffed zucchini meal loaded with good healthy grains and vegetables.
Stephen & Emilee both helped with this meal (I love that our kids enjoy cooking so much and are excited to try new ideas). The extra large zucchini were cut in half lengthwise, seeds were scooped out, and they were placed in a baking dish with a bit of water in the bottom of the dish.
Emilee stirred up a filling of brown rice, red quinoa, lentils, onions, mini bell peppers and some seasonings. This was added to the "boats" and they were baked for about 45 minutes in a 375deg oven. We added some organic cheese to the tops (except for Emilee's) during the last 3-4 minutes of baking. Oh, and we got a little adventurous and put dried cranberries on a couple of them, too!
A very tasty and filling entree. Perfect with a salad and some steamed broccoli! These were even better as leftovers the next day when I took a half (of a half!) to work for my lunch!
This morning when I weighed myself I rejoiced at hitting the 50-lb loss mark and realized just how beneficial this new way of eating for me has become. I haven't missed many of the foods I've given up - I just don't crave meat, sugar, fast food, or processed food anymore since I've been concentrating on nourishing my body with such good healthy options. Eating has become a great adventure for me and not something I just "settle" for to fix a craving or get past a hunger pain. I like that I don't have to count anything (points or calories), I don't have to drink a special "diet" drink or depend on a pill to burn off the calories - just turn to the food that is in its most natural state and choose from the many options before me. I love challenging myself to try a new vegetable, fruit, or whole grain every couple weeks and incorporating it into my menus. I've found so many delicious foods this way that I never would have tried otherwise. So far, after eating this way exclusively for the past nine months, I have to say that it has not become boring at all!
This afternoon we attended a first birthday party for the daughter of one of our young married friends. It was so fun to see them again and celebrate this joy with them. We miss the ministry of working with young married couples since we left our former church, but try to stay in touch with as many of them as we can. It's great watching their families grow and seeing them thrive in God's goodness and His plan for their lives. We're starting to make some new friends at our new church as we get more involved there and are thankful for God's timing in leading us to a new place of worship. The teaching is just what I've been yearning for and I look forward each week to the pastor's message of Truth. Just last week we started attending a weekly small group with people mostly our age and I've joined the choir, which I've missed. More things may be happening - I'll keep you posted as they come about.
I think I'll head out right now for an evening walk in the neighborhood before the sun goes down - it just seems like the best way to end a wonderful weekend!