Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Light Will Soon Return

We spent a few days over Easter weekend in Flagstaff, AZ. As we were exploring the historic part of town, we came across this mural. I wasn't holding the camera at the time, Devin was, but I commented on how much I loved the wall. Devin must have thought it was pretty cool too, because he took a few pictures of it. The message on the wall is this: "When you see only the dark, know the light will soon return."The first thought that came to my mind when I read this was the weather. We have had so many days of dark and gloomy weather, and it seems as if the warm and sunny days will never return. I am a person who needs sunlight in order to function. The gray skies make me feel sad, depressed and hopeless at times. But I know that eventually the sun will shine again, flowers will bloom, the skies will be blue and warmth will envelope me. I just have to hold on until the sun returns.

As I have pondered on this mural I realized that it also has a deeper meaning, at least for me. Life itself can be pretty dark at times. There can be so much sadness, tragedy and grief in this life that it can be overwhelming and consuming sometimes. But we know that it won't always be dark. The good and happy times will return eventually. We just have to hold on and trust that things will get better. The bad things can only defeat us if we allow them to, by focusing on them instead of the good and wonderful things in our lives.

I have learned that what we resist persists, and what we fight against only grows stronger. The bad times in our lives only have power over us if we give them that power. We can accept what is, deal with it and move on. We don't have to dwell on the negative. We may be surrounded by darkness from time to time, but if we just hold on, the light will soon return.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bulgar Greek Salad

I'm posting another recipe because I thought this one was too good not to share. I found it in a Healthy Cooking Magazine from last year. This won first place in a whole grains recipe category, and it sounded so good, I wanted to try it. The prep time was a little more than I usually like to spend, but it was fairly easy to make. I think it's a great alternative to a summer pasta salad, and much healthier for you!

1 1/2 C bulgar wheat
3 C boiling water
1/4 C + 2 Tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 tsp salt, divided (I use sea salt)
1 1/4 C cubed cooked chicken breast
1 1/4 C chopped cucumber
1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 C pitted greek olives
1/4 C minced fresh parsley
1/4 C roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 C chopped red onion
3 Tbsp minced fresh basil
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

1. Place bulgar in a small bowl. Stir in the water, 1/4 C lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Drain well.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, parsley, red peppers, onion and basil. Stir in bulgar.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, oregano, pepper, cayenne, and remaining lemon juice and salt. Pour over bulgar mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

*2/3 C serving has 137 calories, 5 g fat, 12 g cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 7 g protein.

My kids don't generally like salads, so Devin wasn't a big fan of this one either. However, David and I both really liked it and it stayed good for quite a few days in the refrigerator to snack on.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Healthy Corn and Black Bean Chili

I found this great recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook and it has been a big hit with my family. I thought I would share it because it is so good and so easy to make.

1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 tsp chili powder
1 14 oz. package frozen seasoned corn and black beans
1 14 oz. can fat free, less sodium beef broth
1 15 oz can seasoned tomato sauce for chili
Reduced fat sour cream (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)

1. Brown the meat in a large dutch oven (I just use a big pot). Add chili powder while browning. Drain off any remaining fat.
2. Stir in frozen corn mixture, broth and tomato sauce; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 min. Uncover and simmer 5 more min.
3. Ladle chili into bowls and top with sour cream and onions if desired.

(If it seems too thick, add a little more tomato sauce and a little water.)

FAT: 3 g.
PROTEIN: 20 g.
CARB: 20 g.
FIBER: 3.4 g.