ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

Fasting January 10, 2011

Hey y’all! Happy Monday!!!! How was your weekend? Let me know!

My tummy was growling this morning after a wonderful time in the Word. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted…some Rise & Shine oats!

In today’s mix:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds, peanut flour
  • sprinkles of sea salt and cinnamon
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • toppings: Rise & Shine muffin, blackberries, blueberries, Naturally More, Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter (I think I said it was cranberry orange before, but no, it’s apple, and it’s so so so good!)¬†

WOW!!!! I wish you could have had some ūüėČ

Today was the usual Monday workout of RPM, BodyPump, with a twist of¬†Flow Yoga (with Margee…one of my favorite teachers!). Margee always challenges me, and she really brought it with core work today! WOO!

When I ran in from the cold came home for lunch, I did NOT know what I wanted. I can’t stand when I’m not craving something not :(. so I ended up with…a little mug of vegetable soup (green beans, okra, black beans, corn, lima beans, veggie broth)…

with some seasoning (crushed red pepper flakes and mixed seasoning from the Farmer’s Market.)

…the rest of my Amy’s pizza (roasted veggie with no cheese) and some carrots, cucumbers, and celery with Moroccan hummus.

Plus a Fuji apple with peanut¬†flour banana sauce. I figured y’all¬†were tired of that photo ūüėČ with some 1/2 caff to warm my bones. It’s starting to snow here, so I cancelled Zumba for tonight ūüė¶ I will miss my ladies so much!!!

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Also, I need to tell y’all about a decision I made. I am participating in Awake 21. I have felt the Lord calling me to fast for a couple weeks¬†now. I did not think it was wise to do it with food right now, so I’ve been seeking what to fast as I want to spend extra time praying for my trip to South Africa, the country as a whole, its people, my team, and for the financial support that I still need to raise. Besides food, I thought about what I spend a lot of time¬†doing that¬†would mean A LOT to me to sacrifically give up for 21 days…

  • TV – it’s become the 1 family activity that my parents and I do together and talk about every week, and I don’t think it’s wise or healthy to give that up with them right now as they’ve been so sweet to me through my crazy journey these past few months.
  • Food – I need to nourish my body and didn’t see it as healthy to forgo food for 21 days.
  • Exercise – it’s my job right now, so that’s a no go
  • Reading blogs – sadly, this is what I feel is best.

I am going to continue writing my blog so that y’all can walk with me through this process and pray with me; however, I am taking a 3 week fast from each of your wonderful lives. I feel so selfish asking you to continue reading Ashley Avenue when I am not going to be reading back, but I hope that you do. Feel free to leave me comments on my blog about your lives as I’ll still be reading and responding to those. I’ll be back to reading on February 1st, but for now, that’s a HUGE chunk of time that I can be spending preparing and praying about my trip and the funds I need to get there. God’s already BLOWN MY MIND with the support that has come in, and I have NEVER before raised $3000 for anything, so it’s totally in His hands.

If y’all would like to help support me, or have a creative idea for how I can raise $, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail (ashley¬†dot nicole¬†dot sauls¬†at gmail¬†dot com). I am trying to get creative. Thank-you in advance for understanding and for always being so gracious to me. Y’all mean a lot to me!

Love,

ashley

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Christmas Magic Continues!!! December 29, 2010

What a day!

I did it…no working out, and I didn’t feel guilty about it, but I am ready for the gym tomorrow! Thank-you for your prayers and support!

Once upon a time (this morning), there was breakfast…

in today’s mix:

  • 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats, water, almond milk,¬†0% fat¬†greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice and a little extra cinnamon
  • toppings: Peanut Flour Banana sauce, 2 little cranberry orange muffins, ¬†blueberries

and Christmas blend Starbucks coffee (a Christmas present from my sister! Thank-you, Ams!)

I was nervous about maybe not feeling hungry today as I planned not to work out, but I was hungry for lunch (YAY!). We met my Daddy’s side of the family (great uncles) for lunch at McCall’s, a country cookin’ buffet.

My plate: a piece of BBQ chicken (I just ate the white meat and picked off the skin and wiped off the sauce), 2 bites of “salad” (it was kind of pathetic, but it’s not what they’re known for), 1 hushpuppy, a little lima beans, field peas, green peas, pulled pork, cole slaw, cooked cabbage, a bite of turkey (it was really dry, so I gave it to Mom). I’m learning that it’s OK not to eat everything you get on your plate. It’s wasted in your body if you don’t want it.

The veggies were so yummy!

And what’s our rule around Ashley Avenue? Say it with me! “Every meal deserves dessert!” hehe¬†I rolled with a sampler platter (hey, what else are buffets good for besides being indecisive?!) of a fruit/marshmallow/green “salad,” HOMEMADE banana pudding (the good stuff!), a couple bites of warm chocolate pudding (the “crust” in the bowl was really sugary and grainy, so I left it alone), and vanilla soft serve. Plus decaf. WOOHOO!

It was a great visit with family, full of laughs and fun stories and reminiscing. This time of year is so wonderful because of that, and I hope that each of you get to be around the love that I was surrounded by today. Here’s a tour around the table…

I definitely take these wonderful people for granted!

OK, are you sitting down?! When I got home, I had a gift from Angus Barn!

with a sweet note…

There was squealing, red crinkle wrap flying everywhere, and jumping up and down…of course not by¬†me! ūüôā

My favorite crackers!

More smiling/squealing/paper rattaling/crinkle throwing opening

My very own crock with the best cheese ever!

AND…their signature chocolate¬†chess pie!!!!!!! Yes, I did share with my family!

For those of you who are new to the blog, read this recap of the AMAZING/DELICIOUS/DELECTABLE meal. I e-mailed them to tell them thank-you for a true dining experience, and Ms. Van Eure was kind and generous enough to allow me to have a piece of my experience at home.

I had made myself a turkey burger with hummus over spinach, 2 tomato slices and carrots before I opened the box…look at the cool garnish. It looks like a pretty flower, but it’s just the bottom of a celery stalk…who new? How fun!

However, this dinner was handed down to my sister because all I wanted was celery, Angus Barn cheese and crackers…yummy!!!

While we were re-creating our experience as best we could, we corked the bottle of Riesling that Amber got Mom for Christmas.

Fun story: This is my Mommy’s FAVORITE wine in the entire world. We can only find it at Angus Barn, so she ALWAYS gets a glass..or two ;). SO, Amber wanted to get Mom a bottle for Christmas from Angus Barn after we found out we could at our Christmas dinner. She isn’t 21 yet, so we had to get our uncle to meet her out there to buy it so Mom could have it as a Christmas surprise. She was shocked Christmas morning.

My first sip as I couldn’t bear to take a drop from Mom at the restaurant as it’s such a treat…

It was the most incredible Riesling that I’ve ever had…WOW!

And, of course, Mom was a happy girl!

 

And my at-home experience was completed with a slice of chocolate chess pie ūüėČ a little warmed with some Christmas blend. I felt like I needed the Angus Barn coffee in the cute red mug in my hand, but my red¬†tumbler had to do…and my “a is for…” cup with almond milk cup.

Perfect! Ms. Van, thank-you from the bottom of my heart! I’m saving up to come back for a special occasion. If y’all are ever in NC and want an amazing dining experience (so much more than a meal), go visit my friends at Angus Barn, and tell ’em Ashley sent you…and call me to join you! One of my 2011 goals is to attend or host an event at The Pavilions and Wine Cellar.

 

The Joys of Comfort Food December 27, 2010

With all the laying around¬†yesterday, I wasn’t really hungry last night around dinner time (grrr!), so I rummaged around in the pantry and found the ingredients for some soup (high volume, low calorie):

  • organic veggie broth
  • can of green beans, rinsed
  • can of corn, rinsed
  • can of black beans, rinsed
  • frozen okra
  • leftover lima beans with parsley from Christmas dinner

P.s. – I learned that there’s so much icky stuff in canned soup and canned veggies, so it took me a while or reading cans to find these veggies that were “clean.”

Yummy! I had a broiled turkey burger sprinkled with mozzarella-style Daiya and a spoonful of traditional hummus.

and some Finca Roja Malbec

Dessert consisted of peppermint mocha coffee, a Fuji apple, and a square of 100% chocolate. It has a yummy bitter taste.

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I wanted some of my Peanut Flour-Banana sauce at breakfast this morning, so I made some to top my oatmeal with. Warm oats was the perfect breakfast with the chill of the snow still around.

also topped with EBTKS muffin and blueberries. And some half-caf coffee ūüėČ

Yummers!!!!

My workout today was two-part: this morning I did BodyPump and 45 minutes of cycling, and I taught Zumba tonight.

We went to get my Mema today to bring her to our house for the week. On the way home, Cracker Barrel was calling our name, so I rolled with breakfast #2 (breakfast all day!)…what is it with comfort food this time of year?

Morning Sampler: 2 turkey sausage patties (I was wanting meat…weird!), 2 sunnyhappyside-up eggs hehe, cranberry orange muffin (amazing but huge! I only could eat half, so I brought the other half home), a pineapple and vanilla yogurt parfait with almond granola. It’s a little bit of everything!

and some decaf to drink, which was really good!

As soon as we got home, I changed and got ready for Zumba. Amber came tonight, wearing her new Zumba top I got her for Christmas.

We’re rocking the gear! And Mema came! She was so cute!

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Also, I just found out that if you’d like to support my medical missions trip to South Africa, you can do it online.¬†You’ll need to simply create a profile to access the online giving. I have been promised that¬†this doesn’t spam or send out messages! We’re really pushing to get the majority of our donations online this year if possible. Thank-you for your continued friendship and support!

 

Christmas Dinner December 25, 2010

A few years ago, we started a meal as a family that has become our tradition…

I began with a glass of Lucky Duck Malbec

We had standing rib roast…medium rare. My Daddy carved it. It seems so “Christmas Carol” to carve meat. I feel like we should have dressed up, but we were all in sweats. I taught Zumba¬†to¬†my Mom and sister today, so we just felt like chilaxing!

Sides: baked sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon and baby lima beans.

But I really just wanted dessert hehe. I had a little feast:

1. a Fuji apple sliced and surrounding 1/2 a banana that I halved put some Naturally More on and a little bit of 100% dark chocolate.

2. My new obsession apple dip

In the mix:

  • 1/2 banana
  • pinch of sea salt
  • almond milk for desired consistency
  • 1 tsp Truvia
  • Trader Joe’s Peanut Flour
  • Naturally More
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

3.  Vegan hot cocoa with a marshmallow

In this mix:

  • 2 Tbsp dark cocoa
  • 1 tsp Truvia
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

I’m a little full now…whew! But at least I got my fruit in today ūüėČ Merry Christmas, y’all! I hope that you enjoyed your day.

What is your favorite Christmas gift your gave or received this year?