On the menu tonight: Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

I have been saving a few recipes, creating new ones and trying to live a healthier lifestyle this year. Well, since February. I have been on the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Plan and it is definitely working for me! I could see myself living and eating this way forever! Here is a link to a few of their Featured Recipes!

Most of the recipes from now on will be healthier, trimmer, and made with a lot less sugar or carbs! The wonderful part of this plan is I never feel deprived, hungry or like I am missing out on things. I love eating this way and I especially love the way I feel! And just reading the testimonies every day online are so encouraging and keep me going! I am not just in this to lose weight (I have lost 24 lbs as of today! Slow and steady, but it’s working!) but I am in this to be healthy! I am so thankful to have more energy and overall feel really great! My hormones are more in balance and my skin is clear!

I am also able to take recipes that I love, make a few tweaks and it works for THM! Here’s what I am making tonight! This is an S meal if you’re following THM. That means, it is a meal with low carbs (less than 6 grams digestible carbs) and high fat and protein.

Pasta is full of carbohydrates…and I love it soo much! But, there is a brand called Dreamfields out there that makes a low carb pasta that is amazing! I have never been able to tell a difference in the way it tastes! So, I used Dreamfields for this recipe. You can find it in the regular pasta aisle, in a black box.

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta, S

1 lb package Dreamfields pasta, cooked (Rigatoni, Fusili, or Elbows)
4-5 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed
1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint container grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups broccoli (steamed or blanched)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Red Pepper flakes, optional

Fry sausage in Olive oil until brown over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Throw in half of the grape tomatoes and let them cook down (4-5 minutes). Throw in second half grape tomatoes and all of broccoli. Add 1 tbsp Olive Oil, or more if you’d like, and toss everything around for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss sausage mixture with cooked pasta and add cheese! Enjoy this yummy dish without any guilt 🙂

*Variation: add more green veggies like zucchini or spinach to the dish!

Here is my Pinterest board of Trim Healthy Mama recipes! Hope this helps some of you!
Follow April’s board Trim Healthy Mama on Pinterest.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

“If you never learned the lesson of thankfulness, begin now. Sum up your mercies; see what provision God has made for your happiness, what opportunities for your usefulness, and what advantages for your success.” ~ Ida S. Taylor

Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite of all the holidays, and I am really excited for the festivities tomorrow!  This fall has been one of the hardest that I can remember, emotionally.  We have had some very sad things, disappointing things, and downright hard things…but I am looking forward to spending time with family, reminiscing the life of my sweet Aunt Mo, and sharing the things we are all thankful for in life.  I have made some fun decorations, garland, and printed some cute cards to write our thanksgivings.  I have challenged myself to cultivate thanks every day.  I began writing my thanks as gifts 3 years ago this December (as I read Ann Voskamp’s blog and book 1000 gifts), and I am beyond blessed as I look back and read the thankfulness, giving glory to God for all the ways He has shown me His love.  I would challenge you to start writing down at least one thing every day that you’re thankful for that day.  It is amazing to read them back over the years and see His goodness!

The engineer and I went to a wedding of some sweet friends from church!

My mom is hosting the day at her home, so I am helping her by making the turkey!  This will only be the 2nd time I have roasted a large bird, so hoping it will turn out well!  I have already made the cranberry sauce, and the pecan pies are in the oven as I type, and the turkey is brining in the fridge!  Tomorrow morning will be an early one as I get up to pop the turkey in the oven, and make the giblet gravy!

Many of you have asked about the recipes that I use…I always use a recipe, but I often alter it based on my favorite flavors, or what I have on hand, etc.

My go-to always use Pecan Pie recipe is from Ree Drummond (y’all, I really love her!!)  I don’t really alter this one at all–except I have found that the recipe should be for 2 pies, not just one.  I use 2 regular store bought pie crusts (gasp!) and bake them for 50 min at 350*.  I cover them with foil for the first 30, and take the foil off for the last 20 min.  They are perfect!!  You could probably use one deep-dish pie crust, and just bake it a little longer.

Oh and I may have already put up one of my trees (its a small one) and on it, I hung some of the garland I have been making (going in the etsy shop today!!)

There it is!  The most fun scrappy garland ever!  I really love it on the tree,
but you can use it on your mantel, above a bed, a doorway, on a festive table, etc!

Hope you all enjoy your time with family and friends.  Take time to give thanks, and eat some yummy food!

What are you thankful for?

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Weekend Fun and Recipe

This weekend was filled with wonderful things, wonderful people, and a fun trip to the Farmers Market in Atlanta!  
My sweet sister and my niece, Addie!  Addie was 4 months on Sunday and had her first trip to the pool this weekend!  

32 oz of blueberries from the Farmers Market this weekend…y’all, I only paid $2.99 for all of these!!!  What a deal!!!

Apple and blueberry gluten-free cake!!  AMAZINGNESS!  Recipe below!
Finally, today seems to bring enough time when there is not too many things that demand my time, and I can rest.  Glorious, glorious, wonderful rest.  In all the things this weekend, though all of them were good things, there wasn’t enough time to really rest.  I am hoping all of us are able to take some time, reflect, read the Word, pray, and just rest.  
With all of the thoughts and ideas about our adoption, raising money, saving our own pennies and trying to get by on one income until my job starts in August, etc I have felt a bit drained.  In all of the family get togethers, friends coming over, taking care of my niece, loving people so much, tending the garden, and all the rest…all good, amazing, wonderful things.  Even in the wonderful things, I need to realize that God needs me to rest.  To breathe Him in, and take time for Him.  If I am not keeping up my own relationship with Him, everything else is going to start falling apart.  I realized this last week…and was humbled by it…and knew I had to just stop for a little while.  Ask for forgiveness.  And rest.  He is so good to answer us.  He is so good to require us to rest.  We were made for it.  We need it.
And for the recipe:
Gluten-free Apple and Blueberry Cake
This may be one of my new favorites…the engineer really liked it, too!  It tastes more like a pound cake, with fruit added!  It is made like an upside-down cake and is so moist!  It is easy to make and it is delightful!  The engineer and I are trying new things and I want to learn more about gluten-free baking and how to make some of my favorite things in a new way!

Ingredients:
2 small dessert apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used Jazz apples–my new fave, too!)
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups rice flour (I used brown rice flour–found at Kroger in health-food section)
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease the base of a 9-inch springform deep cake pan.  Layer the apples over the base of the cake pan.
2. Cream together butter and sugar with a stand or hand-held mixer until well blended.  Add each egg, one at a time, until well combined.  Scrap the sides of bowl after each egg.  Add vanilla.
3. Mix together rice flour and baking powder.  Slowly add to butter mixture until well combined.  Add the blueberries and mix for 5-10 seconds, until mixed well.
4. Spoon the mixture over the apples.  Place in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until golden and just firm to the touch.  Remove the cake from the oven, cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.  It is delicious for dessert with a little whipped cream, or even breakfast!  Enjoy!

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
1 Corinthians 10:31

I was thinking on this Scripture this weekend, and all the ways we are to glorify the Lord.  Even in the eating and drinking.  Even in the things we do every day, multiple times a day.  Even in the ordinary.  Even in the mundane.  Even in the “boring” (though Beth Moore says we are not to have boring lives if we follow Jesus!!).  We are to do it all to the glory of God!!  
Blessings to you all!
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