Posted in Encouragement, Food, Hope, Life, Love

Bourbon and Believers

Yesterday, we went to the San Sebastian Winery, and the St. Augustine Distillery. Both have free tours, free samples, and stories of start up. History isn’t my thing, trust me, most of the time I could care less. However, when you mix food and drink with history. It takes on a whole new meaning for me. Learning about how things work, how they are made, why they need certain temperatures, or resting times that they do.

That, is art.

It is beautiful creating something. One of the other things you quickly notice about people who create art, is they get pleasure in watching other people enjoy their creations. Something they had part in making.

I think God thinks of his creations the same way. We are his pieces of art. Each designed with their own talents, stories, history. And I think He wants us to see each other as the beauty they were created to be. To share our passions, in hopes of making other people happy. To spread our uniqueness, so that others can enjoy it. Likewise, I think we should be enjoying the unique things others bring to the table too.

Just like the history of bourbon making, how much the grain ratios are, the temperature it has to stay at to ferment properly, and the way that the barrels have to be made to allow for the best flavor. I believe, that each person has unique needs. We each have certain things that allow us to grow, change, and develop the best we can. And that typically as we age, we get better. (Hopefully). We were designed to be that way, by the God who made us each as our own special self. The God who created the stars in the sky, and the God who formed the creatures of the land, he specially designed you. He made a place in this world, that could only be filled by you.

Now you might be wondering well…. God what do you have for me? Why am I here? What did you make me for? Or you might have known your whole life who you wanted to be, what career you wanted, and what state you’ve always wanted to live in. Beautiful thing is, is that God has a way of making his distilling process perfect for each of us. He fills each of us with a heart full of likes and dislikes. Passions and dreams. He gives each of us a purpose.

And just like the joyful feeling a distiller gets when they create the perfect bourbon, or when a winery gets the Chardonnay just right. God overjoys when we use our talents, and passions for his plan.

Being you, is a beautiful thing. You are unique. There is no one like you. You have something that only you can bring to the table. Not sure what it is? Ask Him… He is so so faithful. He’ll show you the way. I promise. Show the world the gifts God has given you, and you’ll find the joy in allowing others to see what you’ve created too.

Be the bourbon you were meant to be, no matter how long the distilling process takes you. And hey, maybe you’ll find out you weren’t meant to be a bourbon, but a vodka.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14-

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Encouragement, Food

Food worth Mentioning

So cold weather has finally decided to grace us in Florida with it’s presence. Y’all I’m SO thankful! This mean stews, and soups, and warm hearty dishes! The kind that bring comfort and warm fuzzy feelings! Not that you can’t eat hot food in every other part of the year here…. I’m just saying the ones that you feel cling to your bones! Good ole’ comfort food.

And okay, don’t judge but being that I love spaghetti, and all Italian food, in any capacity, I also know that whenever I find clean eat shortcuts to these food, it is a great day. And for those of you who know that squash is in season right now…. brings me to the next point. Use zucchini chunks in place of pasta, and your favorite meat sauce to make more a of stew feel. Italian flavors, hearty substance textures! AND it’s healthy! It is a win-win-win!

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This is zucchini, and a turkey sausage marinara sauce! YUM.

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This bad boy, is a play on Chicken Parmesan. I don’t use dairy, but to be honest I don’t miss it all that much. (Ice cream is a main exception, but they have so many alternatives now it doesn’t really matter!) Anyways, the chicken is coated in egg, and then “breaded” with flax seed meal, almond flour, and Italian seasoning (I pan toast these together to brown it and crisp it up!) I alternate pasta by using spaghetti squash, and I use whichever sauce I fancy for that day! So simple! And I have leftovers for the next day! Which is even better.

Learning to love your body with the food you put in it is such a reward. And it doesn’t have to be complicated ingredients, or yucky bland food!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31-

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Not a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle

So here’s a not so little secret about me if you know literally anything about me, I love to take pictures of my food. Almost as much as I love to eat it. Though over the last five or six years my family and I have learned so much more about nutrition! I’m no expert by any means, and I can still shamelessly eat an entire bag of chips (I think it runs in the family). I’m not a huge fan of people who don’t like the dessert menu at restaurants, and I totally believe no matter how full you feel, there’s a separate place for desserts in the stomach!  However, I’m also not a fan of people who really don’t have a reality about nutrition, or who make excuses as to why they eat poorly. SO…Without further ado here’s some actual truth to regard before you talk about how healthy something is, or try to give me excuses as to why eating healthy is hard! (Because like most things in life it isn’t easy!).

Just because something is gluten-free or organic doesn’t make it automatically healthy! Shocker, I know, but y’all they have organic Doritos! Like what? No one would say that chips are really a healthy choice, unless they are buying the fancy super expensive organic chips. And in some ways I think it just makes us feel better. What we should realize is our diet should be otherwise good enough that when you want to splurge and eat chips (or fill in the blank with your go-to-snack) that you’re not worried about healthy junk food  there’s not such thing. If you’re going to eat it, go for it and don’t tell me how healthy your organic, non GMO, gluten-free chips are, please!

Calories DO NOT matter! If you are truly eating the whole foods that are good for your body, the actual number of calories you intake is not nearly as important! This is because when you’re eating fruits, veggies, meats, and nuts there are not nearly as many things outrageously high in calories. So again, those 100 calories packs of paper thin cookies that you feel like eating ten thousand of because you’re starving, pass and grab something that will have lasting energy!

Healthy food CAN and DOES taste good. PERIOD. I’m so sick and tired of the “I’m on a diet so I am eating celery and drinking a gallon of water for the entire day” nonsense! Ever heard of seasonings? Or I don’t know veggies that you actually like? If you don’t like at least one vegetable, you’re doing it wrong. Healthy food does NOT have to be boring or bland in flavor!! (Saying it loud for the people in the back)!

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Almost a weeks worth of lunches full of flavor and good stuff! All of this was made of one pan in the oven. With prep and cook time, took maybe an hour and a half!

Healthy food really isn’t more expensive. Make your food count! Do so by eating more whole foods (and no, whole pizzas don’t count…most days). It really isn’t any more expensive if you are buying it IN PLACE OF the other junk! You aren’t supposed to buy double to the food, you are supposed to CHANGE what you are buying! Shocking. I KNOW.

“I don’t have time to eat healthy or make meals” MALARKEY. Instead of buying a bunch of highly processed pre-made dinners, try cooking something in advance, or plan time to make good choices. If time is the issue, then set aside time. Y’all… what you put into your body is important. The last couple weeks I’ve needed to take my own advice on this subject! If you want healthy results it takes discipline and time. I know you don’t like to tell yourself no…but someone has to?

Realize the this is not a “Diet” it is embracing a new Lifestyle. Dieting is associated with quick fix, lose weight fast, quick fixer food. It usually has a lot of weird rules of things you can or can’t eat. Cinderella story anyone? “The Norwegian Salmon diet?” Yeah, because that’s healthy? But how many people do we know who do these weird things!? One guy came through my line buying two huge bags of juicing apples, and so I asked him if he was going to juice them? He responded with no, I’m on an apple only diet and I’ve already lost 20 pounds in four days! Um…duh, you aren’t getting any nutrition!!! Eating healthier is an active on going, choice, find the things that are worth splurging on, and the things that aren’t. Chances are, like our family, once you get good things going in your life food wise, all the junk won’t sound as good. Highly processed things will taste that way! You’ll prefer the better choices!

Most of all this was just as much of a reminder for me as hopefully it can help someone else. The last few weeks have been busy and it is easy to get off track, but we still manage to have healthy meals majority of the time. Even when I am on my own away at school cooking healthy meals was a big part of living better, being happier, and feeling proud of my semi-adult self. Your body will thank you, your hormones will thank you, and YOU will thank you! When you put good into your body, it will give you benefits threefold! Even when it is hard, push on! Do everything you do for the glory of the one who made you! Who gave you this wonderful body!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-

XOXO,

Alie

Posted in Uncategorized

NOLA

Two of my favorite things coffee, and food. NOLA already was capturing my foodie heart. Authentic Red Beans and Rice the night before. Chicory Coffee, and a plate full of beignets in the morning. The air smells of, well, NOLA. Which is mostly a smell of the after mass of the nights before, mixed with Pinesol to mask the odor. If you aren’t sure, you’ll know what I mean if you walk down Bourbon street in the morning time!

Today, I was reminiscing the road trip we had last summer, and all the fun that came with two weeks trapped in a car with some of the people you love. Everyone said we were crazy, or that we’d kill each other before the two weeks was up! BUT, we had SO MUCH FUN! I still find myself dreaming of another road trip, to more new places. More crazy food, more coffee, more laughs, more fun.

For those who don’t know much about me or my family, we love food! Trying new food, finding the best food, but mostly, the family time that is associated with dinner time, and family meals around a table. I looked forward to those times as a kid, as a teenager after school, a college kid home for the weekend, and still now as a soon to be grad student. Family time is my favorite time. Immediate family, distant family, extended family, non-biological friends made into family. I don’t care. Sharing food with the people you love is the best. Some of my favorite memories are made at the table. Wherever that table may be! So here’s to more food and travels, more memories, laughs, and dinners together. Let your heart dream of the things that make you feel happy! What is the thing that you hold so dearly? What are your favorite memories made of? Let this summer be full of them!

-“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19-

XOXO,

Alie