Healthy & Loaded Spaghetti Carbonara

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Our family loves a good, hearty Italian dish, and this is a modified form of the delicious Spaghetti Carbonara I came up with based on whatever leftovers we had on hand this week.  Because we’re big on eating protein in our foods, I added in some cooked chopped chicken (2 breasts boiled and chopped) I had done earlier in the day, the traditional recipe only uses chopped pancetta (a pork product very similar to bacon).  We never typically have real bacon or pork products on hand, however we use different kinds of sausage to flavor meals fairly regularly, and this was the perfect time to use some beef sausage to capture that intense, aromatic and spicy flavor to go with the sauce.

Traditional Carbonara doesn’t use any kind of cream base sauce, however, I find that whipping up a quick white sauce- made from flour, butter, and milk to be super easy and healthier than the typical cream cheese or other cream based sauces used in Chicken Alfredo or restaurant Carbonaras.  I used to make this simple sauce when we were students, not only is it far healthier than using heavy cream or cream cheese, its also more cost efficient.

It’s so rustic, and one usually always has on hand flour, milk, and butter – making it a quick solution without an extra run to the store.

Boil a package (1 lb) of spaghetti, while waiting for it to cook, make the simple white sauce if you want a creamier base for your Spaghetti Carbonara without the extra calories of real cream or cream cheese.  Traditional Spaghetti Carbonara has no cream sauce, if you desire to cook it that way, skip to egg picture.

Healthy White Cream Sauce – Gravy

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Use 3/4 stick butter, or half a cup of margarine, in a pan on medium heat – melt down until in liquid form.  Add 1/2 cup flour, mix together to form a wet, clumpy mixture.  Take OFF heat.

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Add in 1 cup cold milk, and 1 1/2 cups cold water, put back on heat and whisk the mixture until its incorporated into the milk and water to form a smooth, white cream.  Let cook on heat for 5 minutes, slowly stirring every now and then, sauce will thicken nicely.

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I used fresh basil and oregano from our garden, along with some fine garlic to give the sauce flavor.  Add in 1 tsp of kosher salt along with crushed black pepper (1 tsp or to taste).

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Use 2 eggs (or 4 if you’re omitting the white sauce), beat until pale yellow.  Once spaghetti is cooked, pour eggs over drained, hot spaghetti, stirring quickly.  The heat from the spaghetti cooks the eggs and creates a unique texture over the noodles.  Incorporate as much freshly grated Parmesan cheese as you’d like (typically 1/2 a cup to 1 cup).

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This is what it looks like with just the eggs cooked onto the hot noodles (below).

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This is what it looks like when the cream is poured over the egg and cheese mixture (below).  We like it to be creamier this way.

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I briefly cooked (reheated) the meats in the pan and then added them into the spaghetti.  This would be a great time to add in chopped onions, mushrooms, chives or extras you’d like in your dish!

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So there you have it… a healthier version of Spaghetti Carbonara, loaded with chicken, beef sausage, and creamy white sauce based on pantry or fridge leftovers.

Extras you might love to try:

From the Real Italian Foodies, a adorable couple who have an Italian restaurant in Limerick specialising in simple authentic Italian food, and also have a range of fresh Italian pasta sauces under the Real Italian Foodie brand

From  Johnney’s version – not as traditional, but a great alternative and presented in such a manly way….

Summer Foods for Your Health & Body

So I’ve been a health-food nut for awhile now….  I grew up eating pretty healthy, my mother was the one who cooked, and even though she worked a full-time job she still made sure we ate low-fat, non-greasy, mostly homemade foods.  But because she was working so much, about half the food we consumed was packaged and processed foods – foods that are low in nutritional value and protein, but high in salt & fat (making them addictive and easy to over-eat), additives, and preservatives.  Now that I’m a wife and mother, I’ve managed to largely cut out most of the processed foods we eat daily.  Sure we still have some crackers in our pantry, I still sometimes cook with flour, and we let our son eat white bread, but the majority of the food we eat is as close to homemade or natural as we can get or make.  We eat this way because our health is a priority to my husband and I.  We are an active family, constantly going, and I want to be active even in our old age together, and that starts with what you take into your body.

We are also that family that eats healthy regularly at home, but doesn’t think twice about eating a donut every week, or eating out at our favorite fast food places sometimes.  When eating healthy is simply your lifestyle, you aren’t worried about ordering a pizza, or eating a high fat, high calorie burger with fries sometimes.  So we are those people who look really fit, but who you’ll see eating out and enjoying ourselves regularly, we don’t believe in sticking to a super strict diet.  This means that around the holidays, we do tend to indulge in those incredible comfort foods more often than not, and then modify our exercise and diet lifestyle come January.  Our love is to enjoy the seasons, and we’ve embraced that the holiday season in particular, is one filled with foods that we normally don’t eat year round.  We embrace the tastes, the pleasures of eating those gustatory delights, but we equally embrace eating clean again come the New Year on.

Europeans (especially the French) tend to live that way.  They aren’t as obsessed with cutting out all carbs or certain food groups, wine, or doing insane diets for short periods of time, because the way they eat daily is beneficial to their bodies – they aren’t gaining weight because they typically just don’t over-eat.  They also stick to natural, mostly unprocessed foods… even their chocolate is healthier because it typically has no high fructose corn syrup, modified starches or milk products, and more cocoa %).  When French women in particular, do happen to notice they might be gaining weight, they simply step up their daily exertion – like taking the stairs instead of the elevator when they feel a shirt or dress becoming tight.  They self-moderate their weight because they are in tune with it and their bodies, they eat slower as well, which helps them feel when they are full.

Summer is the season when our food lifestyle starts to be really harrowed down to the necessities for survival, however, we still eat so that we don’t feel deprived.

Here are some of the snacks or sides we use during the year that help us eat clean:

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1) Fresh cut fruits …. The best way to ensure that your fruit won’t go to waste in the basket is to, as soon as you get it home from the market, find some time to slice and dice it into portions that are easy to pull out for a snack or for the lunch sides.  It saves so much more time and will keep you from reaching for packaged snacks like goldfish that are just empty calories.  Make sure you have a variety of fruits and veggies stocked up and sliced each week so that your family doesn’t get bored.  We do bananas (obviously no need to slice except for smoothies if you use them that way), apples, kiwis, peaches, oranges, watermelon (we cube it – also easy for smoothie throw-ins), and anything that piques our interest while out at the store.

2) Ready to bake Veggies fries or chips …. Same principle as the fruits, cut them into slices or fries or “chips” as soon as you can so that they are ready to go.  This works well with sweet potatoes which are one of the super foods for your body, zucchini, butternut squash, or kale (kale chips).  When they are cut like this and are ready to go, it makes getting dinner on the table so much easier – and rather than reaching for some prepackaged or processed dinner side, you’re getting something natural and raw.

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Coat fries in olive oil lightly.  Bake until crisp.  Use Kosher salt (lower Sodium content) while still hot

Coat fries in olive oil lightly. Bake until crisp. Use Kosher salt (lower Sodium content) while still hot

3) High protein snacks, lunches, or side dishes ….  Two words, Greek Yogurt.  I usually grow our own yogurt during the Summer when it’s hot (I do it a med-evil way… I suggest you buy a yogurt maker!!), and separate out the whey so that it becomes the “Greek yogurt” sold in the stores. It is INSANELY cheaper to make your own yogurt (I make about a half gallon for $3 every week) rather than buy the individual cups they sell at the store.  I once had a woman trying to sell me the store brand of their yogurt, and I told her I had started making my own.  She was excited, asked me how to do it, and told me that when she used to live in Italy, a family next door used to do that, and it tasted incredible.  More proof in my mind that Europeans understand how to eat better than Americans.

Another plus about homemade yogurt, you don’t have to worry about the preservatives added, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, or fillers.  If you do have to buy it, make sure you buy it plain, as close to natural as possible, and try to avoid a brand that has High fructose corn syrup.

Greek yogurt is delicious and one of the super foods because of the high protein and fat busting properties it has… eat 1 to 2 cups a day replacing one of your normal snacks to see a noticeable difference in your body fat % (it will mysteriously go down) 🙂 .

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The way my son eats his nutritious, protein packed Greek Yogurt… with a little chocolate sauce, and dark chocolate (anti-oxidant) chips! Dress it up however you like… I usually make a vanilla kind or black cherry yogurt (sooooo delicious). You don’t even know you’re eating healthy, it’s like eating ice cream. Limit it to one cup though, and that’s your dessert.

How I eat my chocolate Greek yogurt?  With apples to dip 😉

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Another great high protein snack/lunch/side dish is tuna or chicken salad… I simply avoid using the fattening sauces when making them and typically opt for 1 tbs of mustard, or for chicken salad… 1 tbs of yogurt to substitute for mayonnaise.  The tuna or chicken salads are great for lunch by themselves, or in wheat pita pockets, or as snacks served on crackers.  Huge boost of energy if used as a snack!

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Super Delish!

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4) Handy veggie snacks …. Cut carrots or baby carrots, celery sticks, etc… the key again, is to keep these things cut and sliced, ready to go in your fridge so that you are more motivated to actually eat enough of them during the week before your next trip to the market.  We also do use dips, you can create your own easy yogurt dips or just use 3 tbs ranch… a little ranch is great if it will help you or your kids to get down some veggies they’d otherwise never want to eat!

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Our family’s secret weapon???  The Super food smoothie. Say good-bye to fat as it melts off of you!

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You get SO MUCH energy from these simple, cheap drinks you make in your own home!  This was berries blended, carrots, and peanut butter.

5) Frozen fruits and spinach, kale, and carrots for drinking in smoothies ….  This is probably the most unsuspecting thing our family regularly does in the Spring and Summer months.  We drink loads of fruits and veggies in smoothie drinks (water or yogurt based), it is kind of like juicing except we really do blend the fruits and veggies.  It is hard to describe what it feels like to drink these icy cool concoctions… when I’ve been doing it regularly (daily), it’s like my veins themselves feel cool and refreshed.  The fat in your body melts away, your energy is magically increased… it really is our family’s best kept “secret” of the one thing you should be eating (or drinking) in the Summer.

Blueberries, Sweet Pineapple chunks, water, and protein powder, 1 tbs sugar

Frozen Blueberries, Spinach, Sweet Pineapple chunks, water, and protein powder, 1 tbs sugar

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Green Drink…. not as tasty haha… but still so good for your body!  

Another thing, these are not the high-fat, sugary smoothies you’ll find at Smoothie King or other smoothie shops.  These are no-fat (unless you use an Avocado base or yogurt base – good fat), they have no cream and very little (1 tbs tops) sugar added.  They are pure fruit, water, and vegetables.  You can make them into a meal replacement for lunch or dinner (or breakfast – I like hot breakfasts so I usually don’t) by adding the recommended scoop of a high quality protein powder.  We use Muscle Milk Protein Powder, but there are many good brands out there.

You can do so many different kinds of healthy smoothies… “chocolate, spinach, berry blend (my favorite),”  or a “berry blend, carrots, and peanut butter (really delicious)”  you just have to get creative and try different ways to drink your veggies and fruits.  Strawberry, banana, kiwi, + protein powder…  Chocolate, peanut butter, spinach/kale blend.  The possibilities are endless.

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Our homemade pizza - making the dough from scratch.

Our homemade pizza – making the dough from scratch.  It’s nice to eat bad food in a healthy way (homemade)

What we ate tonight... Chicken cooked with onions and garlic, mixed with veggies

What we ate tonight… Chicken cooked with onions and garlic, mixed with veggies

And then just make sure to create healthy dinners of low fat (lean) meats, use noticably less starches like rice and corn meal,… use more protein-packed sides like chickpeas, beans, legumes, and grains like quinoa.  And eat 1/3 to 2/3 of your dinner in vegetables for a healthy, rejuvenated Summer.

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For Tracy Anderson’s chili burrito recipe (above)

I love this tiny woman, and this chili recipe was amazing.  I altered it to add my own black bean recipe because in my mind, they taste amazing together in a wrap or burrito.  We use those large spinach tortillas since they are our favorite, but you can also get tomato or even jalapeno tortillas to go with this and any kind of wrap you’d want!

CHILI INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

  • 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced… (CLICK HERE)

Single Women – You Have The Power in Attracting a Man… Unleash It!!!

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You want to get married… even in this crazy day and age where marriage is quite down right risky business, deep down, ever since you were a little girl, you probably envisioned that, someday, you would be married, have a beautiful house, a job, maybe be a mom, have a family of kids all your own.  But now that you’re grown up, marriage seems far away, maybe even out reach for whatever reason.

Single women, let me let you in on a little secret, you have all the power in being able to attract a good man of character – a quality man.  Oh yes, you do.  You have the control here, you just may not know the way to unleash this power that every woman has.

1) Make Your Outward Appearance Attractive – This may sound shallow, but God designed men to be extremely visual creatures, so the first thing they will notice about a woman is her physical appearance.  Is she fit?  Does she dress well?  Is her hair taken care of? Does she project confidence in the way she carries herself, stands, or her posture in general?

The amazing thing about your appearance is that it is almost completely within your control!  You have the power to own this one with a little knowledge and instruction.

Firstly, to be attractive, you need to be fit and healthy, this doesn’t mean anorexic or bulimic (so don’t even go there), but it does mean that your body and Muscle:Fat ratio needs to display that you are shape and that you take care of your health.  Men appreciate this, as they are not only visually drawn to women who are fit, but that it also subliminally sends a message that you are responsible enough to be in the shape you are in.  I know this may sound unfair to women who may have metabolism issues, or possibly health issues that prevent them (or make it extremely hard for them) to lose weight.  This isn’t argument about “fairness,” but about getting creative in what you can do in order to get your body more toned, firmer, etc.  Most people (barring disabilities) are able to work out and make an effort in their fitness level.  People have different body types, and that is great 🙂 most men are not super attracted to the Fashion Model body type as they typically complain they don’t have enough “curves,” so don’t worry if that seems unattainable, this is not me encouraging you to become a body type that may not fit you.  This is me encouraging you to use your body and its natural attractiveness to your ultimate advantage.  If you are not at the level of fitness that you want to be, do something about it.  Start an exercise routine of working out 3 to 5 times a week, buy some hand weights at Wal-Mart, buy a yoga mat and some workout DVDs so that you can work out comfortably in your apartment or at home at first.

If you do have a bit of weight to lose, like 30+ pounds, you will more than likely need to take it slow, start off walking around your neighborhood in the mornings or evenings.  Take pictures of your body before and at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and so on, to give you the added motivation of seeing your results (and you WILL get some results, even with just walking). Don’t give up just because it is hard.  Once you’ve got a routine of walking a certain distance down, pick it up to jogging/running the same distance (or as far as you can comfortably make it, and then stretch your distance with each time).

Getting a gym membership is good idea so long as you are committed to truly using it.  Keep in mind it may be a great place to meet a guy who is also interested in taking care of his body as well.  When a man sees a woman at his gym, he usually admires the fact that she is there, even if her body is not in the shape she thinks is “perfect,” men tend to admire effort when they see it... so when they see a woman coming in day after day, making an earnest effort to better her body physically, they give her due credit as a girl who is serious about getting fit.

You Need to Dress Well – this is also part of displaying your unique style and beauty – owning your personality and showing men (or anyone really) who you are in the way that you adorn your body.  This may be my inner Fashionista talking, but your choice of clothes says so much about you.  Men are drawn to and appreciate typically colorful outfits, and apparel that reveals femininity in its color or the texture.  I’ve found, as a general rule, the clothes that men find most attractive are the ones that men themselves would be least likely to wear.  They are the clothes that show you are a woman, and are not the clothes that display masculinity.  Be sure to only wear pieces that flatter you and your body type, there is just no use in wearing a hot new item or style if it totally ruins the look of your physique or makes your body appear out of proportion.  I myself have a very short torso paired with ridiculously long legs, so all throughout my teen years till now (15 years) I’ve had to choose my shirts and pants carefully to subtly elongate my torso.  Some styles, even though they would look great on other girls, clashed with my body type.  You can search the internet or YouTube in order to find out how to dress for your body type, and also find suggestions of styles of clothing that best flatter your assets, and diminish your “deficits.”

A word about high heels.  Heels are God’s gift to women, they are an instant beauty make-over, capable of correcting your posture on a dime, make your front and back assets appear to their best advantage (you know what I’m talking about!), and make a distinctive feminine clicking sound when you walk by that gives a boost to your personal energy.  Basically darling, you need to invest in heels – good heels.

Other critical aspects of your outward appearance will be saved for posts done specifically covering those topics, but for all intents and purposes, you should be maximizing the beauty of your face in two respects: having a specific skin care routine & applying makeup minimally as possible, but with the best results possible.  Next is your hair, it is your greatest accessory, and the only accessory you take with you to each and every place the rest of your body goes.  I’ll be doing a post solely on hair in the future, but suffice it to say, you are missing out greatly if you think your hairstyle, cut, color, and texture don’t matter… getting your hair right makes a significant enough difference in your attractiveness to men.

2) Work on Developing a Beautiful Character – I’m a firm believer that inner beauty is extremely important in a woman.  It just doesn’t matter how beautifully wrapped a present or gift may be if, when opened, it is full of decaying, offensive-smelling feces.  I’m serious.  All men virtually want a woman who possesses inherent goodness and integrity for a serious girlfriend or lifetime partner.  A plug for Christianity would be the simplistic, yet profoundly life-altering, fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.   A single girl who is positive, happy, full of life, kind, full of integrity, a good work ethic, goal orientated, and so on, will attract many men just because of who she is.  There will be an intoxicating aura about her that draws men of all kinds in.  You only need one good quality man, if you expect the best you can get, you need to make the best effort to be best girl you can be.  In other words, you need to make sure you yourself are a wonderful person that is attractive not only on the outside, but also on the inside.

I’ve written before about how men can be fooled into marrying a woman, only to find out later on that she was of low character.  This isn’t to say that you won’t be one of the many women who fool a man into marrying her because she acts in an admirable way during the dating relationship, but more of a warning to how you will affect yourself, your husband, and your children later on if you do not care to do the hard work of developing a beautiful character.  A woman of bad character hurts everyone that is close to her… I highly doubt (if you are reading this) that you desire to leave such a legacy.

So now that you know the basics of what makes an attractive woman, stay tuned for more information coming on the details, as well as other foundational things like your Personality and Allure (not to scare any of you Christians but this would be your sex appeal – yes, it’s ok to have sensuality even if you are chaste).

Single Women – Don’t Waste Your 20’s in Casual Sex & Hookups

condoms

I’ve avoided writing about the problem topic of the way my generation views casual sex for a long time now because the honesty of it is just so difficult.  It’s time.

I’ve breached this topic before with single girls who were friends of mine in the past, and the painful truths I would try to share with them when I could tell they were being used or in a disadvantaged position, were usually so against what they wanted to hear from me (at that time in their lives), that it could turn a casual conversation into an emotional outburst of denial and anger.  When you’re a mentor, the relationship is different, its easier to give out advice like this because you’re coming from a place of experience or at least, longer life observance – now that I’m close to 30, I feel a least a little bit more comfortable in laying out the truth about how men view women who engage in casual sex with them.  There is no denying, this is still a difficult topic, even for someone like me who’s used to teaching and talking or writing about sex.

This is not coming from solely a religious ideology.  I know many of you who follow my blog are not Christian and that is fine with me, I’m very glad & appreciative that you read what I write.  I enjoy reading many of your blogs even if they don’t line up with my beliefs, it’s very nice to see what other human beings on our planet think, and it’s beautiful to connect in this way.

So this isn’t from a Christian standpoint (even though I could write a long post in that form), and this isn’t coming from a place of me wanting to judge you for your past or present. This is me wanting to impart what I think is some useful knowledge that isn’t widely talked about in our hook-up culture today – the downsides of women wasting their 20’s in casual sex with multiple partners (or a kind of serial monogamy).

I used to hear from my own mother all the time growing up, that there was just nothing in it for women to be promiscuous. We had a cousin (now married and well into her 40’s – and happy thankfully), admit that she had literally wasted her entire DECADE of her 20’s.  Her back story was that she lived with a man from her early 20’s and on, who didn’t ever commit to her.  He (like any man will do, sometimes even if they have morals) used her for easy, reliable sex for all those years.  It’s tempting for women to just “blame men” here, but the reality and simple truth of the matter is that men don’t view sex the same way as women do, and they will use a woman if she (doesn’t value herself and her precious sexuality enough and) lets them.  Men can often have casual sex and have little to no detrimental affect on their emotions (although I could probably make a good case that it does affect them more than they’d like to think).  They view it as a simple: let’s both engage in this, its consensual, everything’s fine, nobody’s getting hurt kind of thinking.  Women have a much harder time viewing casual sex and hooking up (or living together without marriage even), as being unemotional, therefore, psychologically, if they continue in a pattern of sexual relationship after relationship, or living together on and off with a man who shows them repeatedly he doesn’t value their sexuality enough to make it his, and his alone, she is more often going to have emotional wounding than a man is.

Did my cousin and her playboy have several nasty (or boring) breakups during that time?  Yes, and she took the most emotional toll of it.  Did they still somehow get back together and continue having a sexual relationship – all the time.  Sometimes women will cling to the idea that “well, he still wants me (sexually), so he must still be in love with me.”  It wasn’t until she “woke up” and realized the self destructive things she was doing to herself that she finally stopped allowing men to use her (and waste her youth).

The problem, and as painful as it was even to us to admit it then, was that this woman wasted her most beautiful years, when her face was at it’s peak of beauty, and her body at its hottest and finest, on this man, who simply didn’t give her enough value to commit to her.  Instead of seeking marriage and commitment from someone else, she settled for wasting her youth and beauty on a bum who was fine with using her… for a decade.  And this is what feminism means by women having empowerment by being sexually promiscuous if they so desire.  How empowering.

This is a painful post, but we must move on into even uglier and darker truths.  Next up: So what do men really think of you when you give them easy access and hookups throughout your 20’s?  We’ve already established that men have no problem using women, if a woman puts herself in a position where she allows herself to be used for easy, reliable sex, he will usually always take advantage of it.  But what does he really think about her?  What is it that he’s not telling her?  Since I have my husband’s experiences and other men who I’ve read their accounts of when they used women (who were in their early 20’s), their line of thought can fall into two categories.  The first being that they just don’t think much about it, they truly are viewing it from a “nobody gets hurt & we both like it” kind of view.  The man is fine using her body for a hookup or casual or reliable booty-calls, but he thinks she is equally fine with the same, feminism tries to assure men that all women are – that they can mess around just like men can.  Some very few women really might be, but unfortunately, the women & friends I’ve seen do this are either hoping for a relationship with this man, in a stagnant unhappy relationship, or using the continued sex in order to cling to the remains of an ending relationship.  The second way men tend to view women who are promiscuous in the 20’s is from a purely advantageous viewpoint.  They know what these women are doing, and they are going to capitalize on it by screwing (using) as many of them as they possibly can.  They understand that they won’t want to marry one of these women, because their inner dialogue is saying that by the time this woman is ready to settle down (late 20’s or even into her 30’s), she will have had so many sexual partners, be so used up and washed out, having given her best self (sexually & beauty) to other men, why would he want her left overs?  They view these women (after the fact – after they’ve used them) as having emotional baggage from all those serial monogamy relationships or hookups, and they don’t want to start out life with a woman who’s self-destructed in this way.  It’s a purely yucky, ugly truth that some men (maybe very few men) are very much in touch with when they start actively looking for someone to marry. They aren’t going to tell women all of this (unless you’re lucky to have an honest brother), but they talk about it with other men (I’ve actually overheard these conversations – and it always makes me sad).

The problem (even with long term relationships that are sexual without marriage) is that without commitment. men can grow tired of having you for free all the time and start to wonder (very explicitly) what it would be like to have sex with other women, even if your relationship is going great.  Men are wired to want something different, it is just the way their brains and visual sexuality work.  This is why, for married women, sexual variety is key to keeping the passion alive in your marriage.  You can’t be a different person, obviously, but you can wear lingerie, have sex at different times of the day, in different lighting (daylight or candlelight), wear your hair different ways, and have exciting sex in multiple positions rather than just always reverting to missionary.  When you’re married, the emotional dynamics also change for the couple, and both partners are usually (if its a healthy marriage) extremely motivated to bond deeper and longer-lasting, in effort to avoid a costly and emotionally devastating divorce.  In hookup culture, even the best longterm relationships don’t have the same incentive as a marriage does in “making it last” or work.

Men are drawn like flies to sweet honey, to women who radiate innocence and youthful beauty.  The problem of wasting your 20’s in casual sex and hookups (or longterm boyfriends who aren’t valuing you enough to commit), is that as a woman lives her life in this way, she loses her vibe of innocence and youthful beauty like slow leak in a tire.  Men can see it.  I’ve heard men comment on it when talking about a girl they know 😦   Jadedness, even just a hint of becoming bitter with men (especially after having some truly bitter encounters where she realizes she was used), take over her aura.  Women should be emitting an aura of joyfulness, sweetness, girlish playfulness… these very things that men love most in women (the things that captivate them about you) are destroyed when a woman has sex with multiple partners.  Again, is wasting your 20’s in this way worth all this?

My mother, who i seriously owe so much knowledge about men to it’s ridiculous, once explained to me that the way prostitutes were able to do what they do is by shutting down the part of them that bonds emotionally to men when they have sex.  It’s by default, as a sort of emotional guarding or protection of their inner self, but that they pay a price for this by becoming “hard.”  She explained to me that the last thing a man wants in a long-term girlfriend or wife is a woman who has traded her girlishness for the hardness that comes from too many sexual encounters.  It is the scent of bitterness or emotional baggage that men look for and deliberately avoid when choosing who to marry.

And the last ugly truth reason (phew, we’re almost done!): It starts to take a toll on your looks – I’ve read hundreds of comments where men who were talking about women they’ve seen after years of her being promiscuous, note to the other men how much she had aged in only 1…2… or 3 years after they’d had their turn with her – the woman was usually always still in her 20’s, but the casual sex and hookups had already aged her past other girls who hold out for committed men, ultimately making her less attractive to the men who used her in the past!  Again, women reading this: please hear me when I say, there is nothing in it for you to self destruct in this way.

This undeniably puts a single girl at a disadvantage when looking for a future marriage partner.  Please, don’t do this to yourself, and if you find yourself in this position right now, stop & take a break from relationships for awhile.  Take some time to really understand what it is you want out of life.

Take a new direction, be kind and loving to yourself, and start really valuing your body and sexuality

Simple, Warm, Delicious Refried Beans

 

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Refried beans are the simplest dish to cook if you’re wanting an incredible, homemade taste of Mexican-American style beans.  My oldest son (4), is crazy about the warm bean & cheese breakfast tacos we eat here (at any time of day) in Texas… and it’s great to be able to whip up a big easy batch of refried beans to sate his cravings 🙂

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I found a great recipe here, at slate.com, follow the directions to create this dish.

You can use dry or canned beans – only use dry if you have 4-5 hours to spare while they cook in the crock pot, canned is fine and is faster overall.  Make sure to add enough salt and pepper to taste – with their warm, gentle flavor, these beans just hit the spot!

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Chicken Bacon Tomato = The Perfect Pita Sandwhich

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This is one of my family’s favorites, it’s also pure comfort food that can be made in a variety of ways in order to be healthier.  Every time I go to a sandwich shop, I tend to order this kind combination, it’s like I’m stuck in de ja vu.  There’s something about chicken, bacon, tomatoes with a white sauce or white cheese – hot or cold, that just hits the spot.  I tend to cook in large bulk in general so that I save time later in the month by freezing half, so if you aren’t looking to make a very large amount, halve the recipe below.  Also, the recipe is just a guideline.  Change any of it you want to, if you don’t like mayonnaise or prefer something different, use that sauce.  It also is very tasty without any sauce at all.  It takes quite a bit of time in the preparation… all the dicing and cooking of the meats, but it is worth it in the end.

It’s not limited to just sandwiches, this combo can easily be transformed into a Spaghetti Carbonara dish!  Oh, the joys of cooking!

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Ingredients

  • 5 tomatoes (I used Roma because they were on sale, any tomato is fine)
  • 1 medium sized onion (again, if you’d rather have less onion, halve it)
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise (light ranch would also work well, or a low fat plain yogurt if you’re truly health conscious) *1 cup for this large amount only gives a light coating, if you want it to be creamier, you may need to add more as you go
  • 1 package of turkey bacon *side note: I can’t cook real bacon… too much of it ends up in me rather than the dish!  We never really had it growing up… I blame that lol)
  • Garlic spice & Kosher salt for the chicken
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • Pita bread or pita pockets
  • Any white shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Monterrey jack, Parmesan, Provolone, or Swiss)

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Start the bacon first, and while it’s frying, dice the tomatoes and onion, set aside each separately.  Be careful not to burn your bacon, it doesn’t have as much fat content and burns easier.

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Once the bacon is done, cut the chicken into 1/2 to 1 inch thick pieces.  Cook the chicken in the bacon grease with the onions, garlic spice (about 1 tbs for 6 chicken breasts), and Kosher salt (also about 1 tbs.)  While the chicken is cooking, dice the bacon into strips.

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Once chicken is done and onions are caramelized, pour the contents into a big big mixing bowl along with the diced tomatoes.  Add the sauce of your choice (white sauce is just so good with this – you can even try alfredo sauce if you wish).  This is also the time to mix in your cheese – note that this dish does not really need cheese, so if you are calorie conscious or just don’t like cheese, it still tastes quite amazing without it.  To me, the addition of parmesan is like finding the holy grail of food.

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Enjoy this delightful combo!

Bon Appétit!

!

Tracy Anderson’s Chili + Black Beans = Burritos

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I love this tiny woman, and this chili recipe was amazing.  I altered it to add my own black bean recipe because in my mind, they taste amazing together in a wrap or burrito.  We use those large spinach tortillas since they are our favorite, but you can also get tomato or even jalapeno tortillas to go with this and any kind of wrap you’d want!

Chili Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. roasted garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 Tbsp paprika
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Spray a large saucepan (or deep wok) with cooking spray.  When pan is hot add roasted garlic.  Saute and add diced zucchini. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add diced bell pepper and jalapeno.  Saute until veggies are al dente.  Add ground beef. Combine all ingredients, stirring continually. Add cumin and paprika.  After meat is completely cooked, add chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Black Beans

  • 1 package of dry black beans
  • 2 Tbs of cumin
  • Crock Pot

Sift through the dry beans to filter only the good ones in, place in colander and rinse thoroughly.  Add beans into the crock pot and cover with water until there it is about 3 inches above the beans at the bottom.  Add spices and give a quick stir, then turn crock pot on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high heat for 5-6 hours.

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To create the burritos just add a scoop of chili and add a scoop of beans, cheese or guacamole (avocado) into the tortilla wrap.

If you don’t feel like a burrito, it’s a great simple bowl of chili:

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Enjoy!

(Chili Recipe from the Tracy Anderson Method Dynamic Eating Plan)

Magnolia’s Sweet Potato Muffins & Cream Cheese Frosting

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I love cooking & baking, my mom, who also loves to labor in the kitchen, gave me a novelty cookbook for New Year’s, The Show Boat Cookbook (Southern Cooking from the Banks of the Mississippi) by June Jackson.  It is wonderful!  It is not the most healthy of course, but it’s good to have balance in your life with food, as with everything else.  You can always substitute different flours like almond flour instead of the gluten.

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil (use extra virgin olive oil for nutrition)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup orange juice (or milk you’d like)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups sweet potatoes peeled, cooked & mashed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Sift all dry ingredients except sugar and spices and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together sugar, cooking oil, butter, eggs, and spices.  Gradually add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Add orange juice (or milk) and vanilla.  Fold in sweet potatoes and pecans.  Pour into muffin cup-lined muffin tins (should make 2 dozen).  Bake at 325’F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve hot & with Cream Cheese frosting on top if you’d like!

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (fat-free can be used)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the three ingredients and refrigerate before using.

ENJOY!