Monday, September 22, 2014

This is a No-Frills Post!

Hey, all!

Studying-- for test week, once again-- makes me want to blog. I've been modifying my favorites, incorporating flavors in a healthful way, and sticking with that T25 workout plan. I haven't missed a day yet, and boy can I see and feel a difference in my body. More details on that soon!

Today I give you one of my favorite new things... sesame chicken flavors added to an all-veggie side dish. I just stole some ingredients from another recipe I love and put them on mushrooms, broccoli, and edamame. You could use just about any veggies in this-- it would be fantastic on a pre-cut bag of frozen stir fry veggies, for sure. Use what you have on hand.

Sesame Sauce for Stir Fry Veggies:
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Chili Oil (use regular sesame oil if you don't like it too spicy)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Grated Ginger (I buy it in the pre-grated tube. So, so easy.)
Directions: At medium/high heat, saute the garlic and ginger in the sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the softer veggies (mushrooms) and cook until warmed through. Then, add the other veggies, reducing the sauce as they cook. Sprinkle in the brown sugar at the very end.

Optional: Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds for extra crunch!

Tonight I paired this with baked fish. In total, it was around 400 Calories. Boom!

Okay, this is pathetic. Somebody PLEASE get me a food photography tutor!

Adios, amigos. This short-and-sweet blog post brought to you by the Brain & Behavior midterm.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:5-6

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mac and Cheese and Total Body Circuit....

Well. My brief foray into trying to force myself to eat Brussels sprouts.... is OVER.

But I digress before I've even begun. From the top!

For the last few days, Kev has been hinting that he's craving for my Mac 'N Cheese. He and I both love jalapenos, so I made the 3 Cheese Jalapeno Mac N Cheese from Budget Gourmet Mom. It's got bacon, jalapeno, and lots of cheese... perfect man food. That's probably why I've made it for Kevin over and over! It's also perfect me food-- I love mac 'n cheese-- and this fact made tonight a bit of a challenge. More on that in a bit...

If you're going to make this fabulous pasta, try frying up the bacon, then roasting diced jalapeno in the dregs of the bacon grease. This is a lot easier for me than trying to roast the jalapenos separately! I struggle with getting burned in the kitchen, unfortunately. ;) I always add several extra jalapenos and double the sauce recipe for extra cheesy mac. It's a hit with my man.

Cheese... bacon... spicy... need I say more? Nope, my mouth is full of mac.
Whenever we have macaroni, I pair it with chicken, and tonight I had a personal victory in coming somewhat close to Kevin's mom's legendary chicken fingers! Kraft makes these lovely cheesy chicken mixers, and I just whipped one of them up. Easy-- delightful-- perfect pairing. Here's a photo!
Ch-ch-ch-chicken, baby.
And now, for the Brussels sprouts story. Quite unfortunately, I have reached the end of an era... the trying to be an actual adult era... and the sprouts are to blame. I can't stand the little boogers! I've tried them baked, steamed, fried, and what-have-you, but I never end up liking them. Putting them with bacon or garlic or balsamic and parmesan simply masks the underlying soapy taste. They always end up mushy. You'll hardly ever hear a complaint outta me about vegetables. I love them! This one, however, is less vegetable and more mutant. Yeeeugh. At least they look cool.

The reason for the veggie attempt was to fill my plate with more healthy calories than mac, as I have been doing pretty well with T25! Here's the update you've been looking for:
            During week 1, I did all of the workouts, and only one of them kicked my butt! Total body circuit is a mess (for now). However, I'm excited to report that the others are quite do-able and I even lost some pounds/inches! The stats are below, and I weigh and measure again next Saturday. The hardest part of the plan is finding the time to arrange healthy meals. I spent an entire day last week planning and prepping, and am still (sort of) working with those items each meal. I have been hungry here and there, but I feel a lot stronger and a lot more energetic lately! I can for sure see a difference in my body. Thanks, Shaun T-- I love to yell at you in the mornings!

T25 Week 1 Stats
Weight:  -1 pound
Chest: -1 inch
Waist: -1
Arm: -3 [!!!]
Hips: -1.5
Thighs: -0.5

Total Inches lost: 7 [I can work with that!]

Say tuned for more updates with T25, both spiritually and physically. There might even be progress pics at the halfway point if I get brave enough to share! Adios, amigos.


"For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.

Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you."
Psalm 84:11-12 

OOPS! Almost forgot! Here are a few of my favorites of our engagement photos. A huge thank you goes out to Mindy at Mindy Rae Photography . She does a beautiful job!


Monday, September 1, 2014

T25--Get it Done, Day 1

Hello friends! I hope you've all had a great Labor Day weekend. As promised, this post will mark the start of a new fitness/spiritual journey for me. In light of our impending wedding, and because I want to bust through a recent (and long-enduring) weight loss plateau, I have started on the T25 fitness plan. And day one is DONE!

See? Crossing this thing off was VERY satisfying.

 I have to say, I wasn't too sure about beginning T25 today, after a weekend of unhealthy eating, long car rides, fun in the sun on the lake, and not working out. Translation? I am tired. However, my motivation is at an all-time high. Like I said in a previous post, it's honoring to God to take care of our bodies, and as a future physician I have got to get mine in tip-top shape! That way, I can tell my patients that I did it, so they can do it too. After smoking, extra weight is one of the most preventable health risks my professors like to talk about. I am going to do all I can to be fit and active-- for me, for Kevin, for our future kids, for my patients, and most of all, for the God who created this amazing energy-factory.

A bit of background on this journey-- I began getting more fit and healthy (again) last January. Isn't it always the way that we fallible humans have to learn lessons a few times? So one of mine is living healthfully. Anyway, through increasing my exercise, decreasing my Calorie intake, and improving the quality of the foods I was eating, I lost 20lbs. in about 2 months. Then... I stayed at that weight. I would fluctuate a few pounds up and down, but haven't had a net loss since. That, my friends, is what we call a plateau, and it's time I shattered it, don't you think!?

So, motivation? Check. We got home from the lake and it was time for the first workout: Cardio. Here are my impressions:
  • Shaun T, you are great. So motivating. Well-researched. 
  • The workout definitely got me huffing and puffing, and sweaty! I did the modified moves about 1/2 the time and still got a great workout in. 
  • 25 minutes goes by fast. This part of the plan is going to be wonderful for my medical-student schedule. Just as the program boasts... I no longer have any excuses. :)
I love it so far! Speed 1.0 is up for tomorrow morning. I'll be doing most of these workouts in the AM to boost my energy for the long days of studying. 

Tonight I spent quite a bit of time prepping food for the week. Shaun T has a great 5-day kickstarter meal plan, as well as a set of recipes to accompany his program. I'll be logging about 1,200 Cal/day-- all really wholesome, healthy foods. To maintain honesty with you blog readers, I need to add that I'll be implementing the Shakeology supplement, just to try it out. I get to taste all the yummy-sounding recipes starting tomorrow!

[Please note, I have no fiscal investment in my posts to date, so this isn't a plug for any of these programs-- just an honest review.]

So on the docket in the morning is weighing in, measuring, and getting on to Speed 1.0. I'm excited to keep you all posted on how it goes. We're starting a new module in the morning, which I'm excited for as well. Plus Kevin and I got some furniture for our apartment this weekend! I'm jealous that he gets to use it all the time until I move in after the wedding.

Wahoo! So cute! And comfy! And FREE!
I have this underlying feeling that God is about to pour out some major lessons on me! Stay tuned and hold onto your hats for all of that, guys. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me. He's so loving, kind, good, wise, faithful and fiercely mighty.

In Him,

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”-C.S. Lewis, about Aslan the Lion [Which means this is ultimately about Christ!]

Saturday, August 30, 2014

From the PA in PA

Hi, readers! I'm pleased to announce that the frenzy of test week is over, and everything went well. To celebrate, I've got a great post for you, from my beautiful friend Brooke! She's a PA student at Marywood University in Scranton, PA and my very best friend. In fact, I'm excited for her to be my maid of honor at our wedding in December. She is multi-talented as a student, daughter, violinist, cook, sister, disciple, and friend. So without further ado, here's the lovely Brooke from This PA in PA !


I guess I will start off with a short introduction. I’m Brooke Bennett, currently a PA student at Marywood University in Scranton, PA. I’m an Army kid, but call Manhattan, KS home. I first met Kristin when we moved in with each other (well, technically a couple times before that, but we were both awkward). It took very little time for us to figure out how our passions and love for the Lord aligned; we just meshed well. I have been on the receiving end of a lot Kristin’s delicious cooking experiments and still find myself craving a certain coconut curry chicken she once cooked for me.
This week I came back to school, after one glorious week in Manhattan, realizing I had no money, ate awful the week before, and very little food in my fridge. I made a low-budget trip to Wegman’s (the most beautiful grocery store in Scranton) and picked up some locally grown veggies.
One night after a particularly rough day at school, I needed a satisfying meal. So here it is, low-cal, low-budget deliciousness:

Zucchini and Squash Medley

2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 small-medium sized onion, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 Squash, sliced
1-2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste

I threw all of this in a large skillet and let it cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring on occasion. Once the squash is soft, it’s good to eat. As far as seasoning, I’m very pro-seasoning so I used 2 Tbsp. but less can be used too. This makes 4 servings.

I find myself scanning pintrest for recipes and what usually happens is I find something delicious looking and I’m missing like 4 ingredients… that’s when the improving happens. I’ve seen this same recipe baked at 350, added parmensean, or roasted red peppers. All of those sound great and something to consider when I make it again.

Chicken and Wild Rice (I’m not creative with names, wait until I have kids)

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Large boneless, skinless, chicken breast, squared
Seafood Seasoning from Sundown Rubs & Seasonings

1 cup of Trader Joe’s Basmati Rice Medley (or really any wild rice with herbs)
2 cups of water

Cook the chicken with the seasoning in olive oil over medium heat until cooked all the way through in a small skillet.  In a large saucepan, bring rice and water to steady boil, stirring occasionally then lower heat and cover with lid and alloq to simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooked, stir in chicken. This makes about 3 servings

I tend to fear recipes with more than like seven ingredients. So after just throwing this together, I was seriously impressed with all the flavor from the very few ingredients and the ease of preparation of both of these. 

So I have to put a plug in for Sundown Rubs & Seasonings. I may be partial because I’m the daughter of the owner, but I put the seafood seasoning on practically everything. There are other seasonings as well and they all add significant taste enhancement to any meal. The seafood seasoning can be purchased at many Kansas and Nebraska grocery stores or here:

So thanks, Kristin, for inviting me to write for you blog. Enjoy!


Sounds super yummy! I [Kristin] can attest to the quality of Sundown Rubs & Seasonings-- they're sooo good. Try the chicken rub on popcorn sometime! It's outta this world.

Also... Brooke... I totally forgot about that coconut curry chicken. If I can find the recipe, it'll be my next post!

Until next time, friends.

Kristin & Brooke

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
    and the pleasantness of a friend
    springs from their heartfelt advice." -Proverbs 27:9

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Quick Little Update


The musculoskeletal test is tomorrow and I'm in a study/cram/second-guess-myself frenzy! However, I've got a short little tip for ya: 

Soft-Boiled Eggs. Yes, soft-boiled! I love me some over-easy eggs in the morning, since they're such a great source of protein and a few healthy fats. I've finally gotten over my temporary distaste for eggs after our trip to Bolivia in July, where we ate eggs [EVERY] day, so it's time for a new batch-- to wake up my brain for the test tomorrow AM.

The instructions are as follows...

  • Boil 3/4 a medium pot full of water, with about 3 capfuls of white vinegar added
  • Add 5-6 eggs, boil for 4-6 minutes, depending on how runny/firm you like your yolks
  • Immediately after they boil, add the eggs to a nice ice bath

After they cool, these are ready to enjoy-- add to a salad or toast, make huevos rancheros (mmmmm, salsa), or just sprinkle with salt and pepper!

The aftermath. Can't wait to eat these later.
The puppies wanted some eggs, too! Or they're just attention seekers (definitely the latter)

Stay tuned for more posts after test week. I'm prepping for a major fitness adventure, so you'll get to know me reeeeally well as I post the highs and lows of that for the next few months! Praying God does big things in my heart-- did you know taking care of our bodies is an important part of honoring Him? I'm learning that.

Enjoy your eggs, eggheads! [Heehee, med students are major eggheads!]


"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; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Last night's gorgeous sunset. Don't worry, I had the car stopped.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pizza Rolls and "The Great Fruit Salad Experiment"

Hello again! Somehow blogging (and coming up with ideas to write about for all... 3... of you) is de-stressing me for our musculoskeletal test in 5 days. So, I interrupt this study session to bring you:

Homemade Pizza Rolls!
These were pinned from Steph at Plain Chicken {Recipe Here} and they are great! Other than cutting each crescent roll in half (to double the total amount) I made no changes to these-- they're simple and delicious, and they taste twelve times better than the frozen ones.
Did I mention pizza is one of my most favorite things? Mmm.

Of course, with some junk-like food for dinner, I decided to try and keep dessert somewhat nutritious. I had peaches, I had raspberries, and I had a banana, and thus was born "The Great Fruit Salad Experiment". Has anyone ever improvised a simple syrup before? I now have. The dregs of a Minute Maid pink lemonade bottle got combined with what little grenadine miss Rose had to offer. Toss in about a half cup of sugar and a tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk. Boil. Remove from heat. Cool. Add to pre-cut fruit chilling in the freezer. The result?A runny mess. I should've done equal parts liquid-sugar, like the instructions {here} say to do. Hmmmm. I think I reduced the sugar amount since the grenadine and the lemonade are already so sugary. Guess that was a bad idea! Oh well, the fruit still tasted great!

I don't think the bananas envied their brother in the pool of syrupy despair...

Do y'all have stories to share of failed kitchen improvisation? I should try my old kitchen-sink-lasagna again next time I need to clear out the pantry. That should make me feel better! It has always ended up tasty.

Until next time, folks! I mentioned making Kevin's favorite, Bruschetta chicken, so I can tell you all about it. Must be fine with him, because he said, "as long as I get to eat!" Whatta man. :)

"The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?"

Psalm 27:1

P.S. Making fruit salad reminds me of this little ditty. It's an earworm for sure; don't say I didn't warn ya.  
The Wiggles

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My First Post! "Better-than-Restaurant" Salmon

Well hello there, readers! 

I'm glad you're here because it means I actually have some readers. Sweet! I'm Kristin, and these are my spiritual, culinary, medical, and engagement adventures. Today, since I've been studying for a test, I'm reviewing a recipe I made for its ease and potential "yum" factor! 

Yum factor, indeed. My fiance, Kevin, reports that this salmon was better than at a restaurant-- high praise, for sure! He's promised to always be honest about the new recipes I try, so you know this one was good and he's not just saying so to flatter me :)

In all its paper-plate glory. Also, Velveeta mac n' cheese is a specialty of mine!

The original recipe belongs to Sara, over at Mom Endeavors. View it here (and if you're pinning, pin hers from her page please!) 

One Pan Baked Salmon and Vegetables 

This recipe was SO easy. I made a few tweaks, though! 

1. I used asparagus and squash, since I love both, but they were a tad underdone. When I do this one again, I'll saute the veggies first, then add them to the salmon pan.

2. Sara suggested making your own compound butter, so I did that! I used some spices from another salmon recipe. If you want to duplicate it, here is how I made it:
1.5 sticks of salted butter, softened (almost melty)
4 tsp salt
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp paprika powder
4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ancho chili powder
4 tsp black pepper

Soften the butter in a bowl, then stir in the spices. Return to the refrigerator to harden, and you've got your compound butter! This made enough for 4, fairly hefty fillets, which brings me to my next tip...

3. Since the salmon fillets were so big, they ended up cooking at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. I added some foil on top of the pan, which kept them nice and juicy.

What a great way to get in some omega-3s! Thanks, Sara!

Let me know what you think of the blog and of the recipe, y'all!

Also, I'm sure my food-photography will improve. Tips, anyone? Ha!


"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

Proverbs 31:30