Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Anniversaries – Celebrations With Reflection

This past week I celebrated two anniversaries both filled with emotions and the struggle to remember.  Two milestones in my life which changed me forever.

On Friday, hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  We have been together 18+ years BUT only married 10.  If you know our story, you get it.  🙂

I generally blog about our story BUT this year,  I want to share the gratitude I have for this man.  Our road has been a rocky one – from his commuting for 5 years, to living together to marriage.  It all seems so basic, right?  But add to it – recovery on the road to relapse, a perceived loss of independence, his congestive heart failure, my diagnosis of MS and now his retirement.  Life on life’s terms which is something I’m not really good at.  It has been a true test for both of us of our wedding vows.  He has been my rock on my most difficult days.  I have tested his patience and he has learned how to communicate just a little bit better. We have grown together in so many ways…

As we sat at dinner the other night, the subject drifted to the one question to be sure about a relationship.  I had never heard this and honestly, I was scared. But he continued saying it is “do you bring out the best of each person?”….. Of course I had to know what he thought about us because honestly my memory is awful and fear was creeping in.  My immediate reaction was to feel less than. Not worthy of his unconditional love.  Instead of blurting things out, I prayed to be quiet while he finished.  He said “our life has been a balance –  sometimes we have brought out the best in each other while there are times, we have brought out the worst.  He said it is life but the true test is how you get through it.  We have made it.  WOW!  I didn’t get defensive.  I didn’t try to over analyze.  I just was grateful I kept my mouth SHUT and for how far we have both come. I may have already forgotten much of the night, I pray his words about our life together stay with me forever.

Jump ahead to Saturday and another celebration…. WE HAVE 3 YEARS!  I look back on where I was three years ago… a hot mess on the verge of losing my hubby, a mound of credit card debt, a victim mentality while I isolated feeling less than everyone else, broken emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Appearing confident (often cocky) on the outside while a scared child on the inside.  I had walked this road before and relapse became part of my story.  I had let down my family, my friends but most of all I had let myself down.  The strong confident person was gone.  What was left was a broken, shell of my former self.  Sadly, I didn’t notice it – I thought I hid it well.  I blamed everyone else for what was wrong in my life when the only one who was to blame was me.

As I sit here writing, unable to feel anything but sadness (MS seems to play with my emotions as well as taken my memories) I struggle to remember how bad it was.  Not just this time but the first time (my first clean date was 10/26/91).  Hubby often says, God took the memories because it was too unbearable for me to remember.  God gives me glimpses at times but when it becomes overwhelming for me, they fade and only segments remain.  So instead of struggling to remember, I try each day to be a better person than I was yesterday. Does it always work? NOPE!  I know with God’s help, it will.  I continue to go to meetings – I need to hear the struggles, I need to share my blind faith, I need to be surrounded by people who have been where I have been and I need to remember  “never” should not be part of my vocabulary.

Today, the credit card debt is paid off.  Today, I am trying to connect with local women in recovery.  Today, I accept I am an introvert but it does not mean I need to isolate.  Today, I know my ride & die gals who have been with me since the first night 3 years ago are just a phone call away.  Just for today, I like myself.  Today, I don’t beat myself up over the weight or how I think “I should look”.  My life is blessed in so many ways.  Yes, MS kicks my butt BUT it is not an excuse to go back to those old destructive behaviors.  Living life on life’s terms is not always easy but WE do recovery together.

Thank you to everyone who has walked these many roads with us.  We are grateful for the part you have played and continued to play in our lives.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: 15-Minute Vegetarian Chili


Today’s recipe is an “old” tried and true Weight Watcher recipe.  I have made it many times AND love it reheated.  It is actually one of hubby’s favorites too.

Prep time: 7 minutes      Cook time:  8 minutes     Serves: 4

7 PointsPlus Value

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
  • 15 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14 1/2 oz canned stewed tomatoes
  • 15 1/4 oz canned yellow corn, drained
  • 15 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder (Or substitute Pigs Can Fly seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (eliminate if you use ^^ seasoning)
  • 1/4 cup(s) dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp low fat shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, onion flakes, and pepper; stir well.
  4. Increase heat to high and bring to boil; cook, stirring frequently, until chili is thick and flavors are concentrated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Yields about 1 1/4 cups chili and 1 tablespoon cheese per serving.

I LOVE using spice mixes from Wicked Good Spice Mixes Company.  The combination of spices is perfect and I only have to have a few things in the cabinet instead of a zillion bottles of spices only I only once or twice.  Pigs Can Fly is made for all things pork…but not too shabby on chicken or beef! Makes mouth watering chops, lip-smacking ribs and scrumptious roasts!  Ingredients: cumin, hot chili powder, allspice, brown sugar, black pepper, kosher salt.  Be sure to add a little at a time so you don’t set your mouth on fire!  LOL.

My all time favorite thermal anymore is the Around the Clock Thermal. I have been using this one lately for my craft/vendor shows.  I can hold LOTS of snacks and bottles of water to last me for the whole day.  It is one of Thirty One’s most versatile totes, the Around The Clock Thermal is great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Veggie Bake

I’m not sure where I found this YUMMy recipe but it is a great way to clear out the fridge of the leftover veggies BEFORE they go bad.  You will be surprised how good it tastes.

Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cooking Time: 50 minutes     Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • All the leftover veggies in your fridge
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1-2 large yams, slices into 1/8-inch-thick sheets


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop veggies (not yams) and sauté in 2 teaspoons of oil until soft, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add can of tomatoes and chickpeas. Mix well and remove from heat.
  4. Slice yams into thin sheets.
  5. Lightly oil a casserole dish and layer the bottom with half of the yams.
  6. Spoon out vegetable mixture and spread evenly on top of yams.
  7. Layer remaining yams on top of vegetables and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Bake covered for 30 minutes.
  9. Take off the cover and turn up temperature to 450 degrees for 10 minutes to crisp up the top later.

Notes:

  • Add your favorite spices, like basil, oregano, fennel, cumin, chili pepper or sea salt when adding tomatoes and chickpeas.
  • Try Wicked Good Spice Mixes Tuscan Bistro for a yummy italian mixture.
  • Use a mandolin to slice the yams into even slices.

This is a great yummy dish for tailgating or an upcoming holiday gathering.  On Weight Watchers, this is point friendly.  Thirty One offers the perfect way to carry this yummy casserole to the next gathering with the Perfect Party Set. The Set expands to hold two 9” x 13” casserole pans inside 2 interior water-resistant thermal compartments. Handle grips make it easy to carry, while the exterior zipper pocket can keep additional items like utensils, baking instructions and additional ingredients secure during transport. It’s the most convenient way to take your favorite casseroles, desserts, appetizers and more to your next family picnic, neighborhood cookout, celebration or camping trip!

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Southwest-Style Slow-Cooker Pork Chops

Thank you Pillsbury.com for today’s recipe….I know crockpot season may almost be over at least for me since I really only use it during the winter month BUT this looked too good to pass up. It’s not the same old pork chops! Tender chops slow-cooked with flavorful creamy mashed pinto beans make a tasty dinner for four.

Prep:  10 minutes     Cook time: 4 hours & 10 minutes     Servings:  4

Ingredients

4 – bone-in center-cut pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick (about 2 lb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning. Cook pork chops in skillet 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until brown.
  2. In 3- to 4 1/2- quart slow cooker, mix remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoning, the salsa, corn and beans until well blended. Top with pork chops, overlapping as necessary, pressing gently into bean mixture.
  3. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 5 hours.
  4. Remove pork chops to serving platter. Cover to keep warm. With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly until slightly thickened. Serve pork chops over beans. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Additional Tips

  • Browning the pork chops before placing them in the slow cooker adds flavor to this dish.
  • Substitute black beans or red beans for pinto beans in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts:  Calories 360, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 3 1/2g, Cholesterol 85 mg Sodium 1110mg, Potassium 760mg, Total Carbohydrate 32g, Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 9g, Protein 33g.  Daily Exchanges: 1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 4 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;

Since I am the Queen of leftovers – LOL.  I love when there are 4 servings because it ensures I have a meal or two to freeze for hubby’s dinner.  Since he works the swing shift, he uses Thirty One’s Picnic Thermal.  It holds his dinner, snacks  and LOTS of other stuff. We actually weighed it one day and it was 35 pounds! So whether you are headed to the beach, campground or family picnic with your favorite foods. The Picnic Thermal Tote has a Leak Lock® thermal lining to hold ice when you need to keep things cool for a longer time. A removable, adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to carry when you have your hands full, and the zip-around closure ensures everything stays put while you’re transporting it from the car.

Share your favorite recipe with us, and if I publish it….YOU will get a FREE gift from me.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Oven Baked Fajita

I found this YUMMY recipe and have tried it.  I cut back on the spices so it wouldn’t be too spicy for hubby BUT it was really good.  Quick and easy.  The bonus is it froze well too.

Thinking it might work with beef too…. OR just lots of veggies.  How will you change it up?

Ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt.
  4. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  5. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  6. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender

Be sure to pack your leftovers for lunch the next day in Thirty One’s Around the Clock Thermal.  This is one of our most versatile totes.  It is great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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