The day the encourager was encouraged…

Hey there BCU Family!

Typically, you have the option of listening to our podcast, reading the notes or both. For this post, because of the informal format, please tune into the podcast recording and refer to the written post for the highlights. We pray the post blesses and encourages you. If so, please thumbs up AND leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy the post!

Podcast highlights:

  • From time to time, our hearts can get heavy about situations that come up in our lives.
  • Discouragement can happen to the most seasoned veteran in the Lord. While we can encourage ourselves and rely on the Ultimate Encourager, Jesus, sometimes it is good to hear a word from a person.
  • God has a way of using people to lift your heart up at a time you least expect it.
  • This podcast is dedicated to one of the people who blessed me by her testimony over 15 YEARS ago—my beautiful sister, treasured family and special friend, Sister Marcella Anderson! I love you!

Scripture meditation:

Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad (Proverbs 12:25).

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver (Proverbs 25:11).

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).

So BCU Fam, what do you think about our topic du jour? How are you about encouraging others? Is it a struggle? Do you get enough encouragement? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below!

In the meantime, if you have not subscribed to BlenCouragesU.com, please do so! It’s free and a good place to get the encouragement, inspiration and information based the Word of God! Additionally, you can also see what we are up to on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram! You can also listen in and subscribe to the podcast on Stitcher Radio , Google Play, and Apple podcasts!

Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

2 Forks -Part Deux

Hey family,

I received some FANTASTIC feedback on my “2 Forks” segment—thank you! I have another installment that may give you some more health food ideas. Yes, the fried chicken and smothered pork chops are good, we just can’t eat like that all the time. Try these on for size! As previously mentioned, I shopped at Trader Joe’s for many of their brand items. Similar healthy foods from other manufacturers like Kashi can be found at the health food section of your local market.

Breakfast
–I haven’t done frozen breakfast foods since my now-grown daughter was little. Since a loaf of bread would likely wither from lack of attention in my house, I decided to try Trader Joe’s French Toast.

French Toast and eggs...sound good, huh?

This all-natural wheat French toast goes from freezer to toaster to plate in minutes. Drizzle a little agave nectar, and if you want, scramble an egg and top with salsa for a filling and nutritious start to the day!

~This one I haven’t tried, but a wonderful older woman from my church says she sautées yellow squash and zucchini together in a bit of canola oil,and scrambles and egg to go with the veggies–that keeps her going. Sister Rita says that vitamin “punch” first thing in the morning does your body good! I can see it in her face–she has pretty skin, clear eyes and a fantastic smile. Y’all know I bought those veggies, right? LOL!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom and friends

Lunch/Dinner–As promised, I grilled Portabella (or Portobello) mushrooms and LOVED them! After I washing them, I doused them with my garlic olive oil and a little sea salt and threw them on a hot George Foreman grill for about 10 minutes or so. The chewy texture reminds you of meat, so it’s as tasty as it is satisfying. Optimally if you can soak the mushrooms in your oil and seasoning choice for hour, you’ll get more flavor. I just did about 2 minutes… I was ready to eat! Lolol! With my trusty asparagus and baked fries (oh, man–baked fries drizzled with garlic olive oil–SO good! Can you tell I LOVE that stuff)?

I branched out and tried Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), this week as well. According to an article on Buzzle.com: 


Quinoa (
pronounced Qin-wah) is always thought as a type of grain. The truth is contrary to this general belief, as quinoa is not a grain but seeds of a leafy plant related to spinach! It is considered to be a pseudocereal or pseudograin. This means it is not a true grain or true cereal. Quinoa is an organic food grown in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. It is a small, round, yellow grain, that can be cooked in under 12 minutes. It has a very crunchy, light, fluffy texture with a slight nutty flavor after cooking. It was known as ‘the gold of the Incas’ as they had discovered one of the important quinoa nutrition facts. This fact helped them learn that consumption of this grain-like seed, increased the stamina of their warriors. They called it ‘chisaya mama’ that is, “mother of all grains...'”

WOW! These impressive little seeds boast helps with diabetes, weight loss, migraines and relaxing blood vessels. So I cooked it like rice.. 1 cup Quinoa to 2 cups veggie broth in my rice steamer. I liked it–I need to up my flavor game, though. I liked it better topped with veggies or beans, so I’ll be sure to add more herbs and spices to the next Quinoa batch. It is a keeper!

Snacks- Y’all know I love my snacks! Trader Joe’s has a cereal bar called “A Blueberry Walked Into A Bar” (cute, huh)? Chock full of blueberry goodness and selenium, this bar makes a fantastic in between snack or quick breakfast.

Snack time! Baked Pita Chips, guac & salsa...mmm!

I bought TJ’s Pita Bites and Triscuits crackers for my snack cravings! The tasty baked wheat squares are a great source of my favorite–FIBER!! I also bought a container of guacamole to accompany my crackers. Avocado/guacamole has so much nutrition, “good” fat, and flavor, it’s a tasty way to get healthy. Sometimes, I add some salsa for a little kick and extra vitamin C.


Dessert
–I bought some Silk brand Coconut Milk (next to the refrigerated Almond Milk), frozen organic berries (blueberry, blackberry and strawberry medley) and bananas. I put a glass of milk in the freezer till after dinner and then poured the really cold milk, a handful of frozen berries, added a banana and a little agave nectar in the blender for a few pulses. After a sip, I was instantly hooked!

Yea-ya...Fruit smoothies ROCKS!

I have one almost every day.  Warning: Coconut milk is a little high in fat, it’s supposed to be “good” fat and if you are eating well most of the time, you should be all right drinking it. I will likely reserve it for when I want a treat, using Almond or Hemp milk   (yep, I said Hemp Milk) as a smoothie base. This is a great snack or breakfast as well.

Well folks, that’s it for this 2 Forks segment. Stay tuned to see what’s cookin’ in Blenblogs kitchen!

Thanks for reading and God bless you!

Blen

And..the “2 Forks” award goes to…

Hey family,

I pray this finds you well! No frowny faces here, thank God!

A couple of weeks ago, among other things,  an opportunity and  challenge in some respects came along to eat meatless, healthy, whole and as many organic foods as possible.  While I already have incorporated things like bran cereal and brown rice into my diet, I was looking forward to the challenge of adding different foods to my regimen. In doing so, I found a few things I’d like…no, love!!!  Thanks to my sista, T. Riley’s suggestion, I thought share my “2 Forks” award foods with you. As a warning, I have to tell you Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) and I got close.  No, I don’t have any stock there–I do market at other places, I just like the variety they have.

“Brequess” or Breakfast (that first pronunciation is how some of my South Carolina family say it! :-D)

Paper covers rock--steel-cut beats instant!

Steel Cut Oats~ I have been eating these for a minute as the kids say (do they still say that?) Anyway, these take a little more time to cook–that’s ok, though, the flavor and texture is so worth it. It’ s got a nutty flavor and stick to your ribs texture which I need to function on all 8 cylinders. I top mine with a little agave nectar, honey or honey, cinnamon and walnuts or pecans. Then a little Almond or Hemp milk (I’ll talk about that next time)  tops off the most important meal of the day! I got these at TJ’s or at Price Chopper in the health section. Quaker also has FANTASTIC steel-cut oats.

Other times, I have bran cereal or granola based cereal with skim/Hemp milk. Kashi has some of the best cereals out there in terms of high protein and fiber (Fiber makes me happy–right Wanda?)

Lunch/Dinner:

You had me at spinach...

Spinach Ricotta Ravioli~I LOVE spinach like Popeye, so I saw these in TJ’s and decided to give them a try. With no artificial colors or preservatives, 12 grams of protein and 35% of the RDA of Vitamin “A”, this is a tasty lunch or dinner entrée. You just need to boil them for about 5-6 minutes and they are done! These are good without any condiments, but add your favorite organic spaghetti sauce topped with olive oil (Dr. Oz says you really get the nutritional benefits from tomato based products when you add olive oil) and you are good to go! The package pictured runs about $3.49.

You can make a similar dish by using frozen spinach, ricotta or cottage cheese and manicotti pasta.  Top with sauce and you’ll be licking your chops!

Grilled Asparagus~ I tell everyone that will listen about my new obsession with my favorite new veggie!! After washing my FRESH and NOT canned asparagus, I lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet and then drizzle the delectable stalks with garlic olive oil, (any brand) lemon and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Pop them in the oven on 300-350 degrees for about 7 minutes or so (crunchy is key–wilted and soggy, make me sad) and ala peanut butter sandwiches– they are done! I eat them like french fries. Not only are they tasty, they pack a great nutritional punch that is fantastic.  For more info, click here.

Healthy 8 Veggies all day!

Salad~Besides my beloved asparagus, TJ’s also has a Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix. This mix is loaded with carrots, green and red cabbage, broccoli, jicama, green bell peppers, radishes and celery. While you can cook these veggies for your favorite dishes, I just have this as a salad with a whole wheat flatbread. I will say that a serving of this makes a tasty lunch, light dinner or side salad with your main entrée.

Brown rice and beans with veggie ala Blen

Arroz moreno con frijoles negros~  Brown rice and black beans–I pop 1 cup of brown rice and 2 cups of organic veggie stock in my rice steamer, warm my black beans, top with plain yogurt (or sour cream) and salsa and you’ve got a comfort food that is packed with beneficial protein and heart-healthy fiber.

I don't care if it's for kids...they are GOOD!

Snacks and dessert

Looking to satisfy my sweet and snack tooth, I was in Stop and Shop and stumbled onto some Clif bars. I was so excited about the organic ingredients and the sale (2 for $5) I failed  to see the kid on the skateboard on the front of the box–hence, this is marketed toward kids! LOL!! That’s ok, though…Adults are grown up kids, right? These baked energy snacks are made with whole grain and have 12 vitamins and minerals including zinc, vitamin B12 and folate. This is a health alternative to my beloved red velvet cake 🙂 and also make a good snack or in between meal.

For a snack, I re-discovered hummus (basically mashed chickpeas with various spices).  I was afraid of it for some reason (long story) but decided to go for it

This snack makes me happy...

again. TJ’s had a couple of varieties, including  a garlic and horseradish flavor which I devoured with wheat crackers one afternoon. I texted a few people to tell them this snack was the cats’ pajamas!

On deck:

I am planning to grill Portobello mushrooms. I hear they taste like steak if you do them right! I also picked up broccoli sprouts (not sure what to “do” with them) and organic coconut milk that I found alongside the Silk Almond Milk.  I plan to make a fruit smoothie with the milk and also topping off my oatmeal with it.  So Lord will, stay tuned for the next installment of 2 forks up!

Thanks for reading and may God bless you!

Love,

Blen