Saturday, January 14, 2017

Daniel Fast Four Bean Chili

If you're looking for a quick and easy Daniel Fast meal, look no further! This recipe is a Troy and Melody original but feel free to change it up and add your own twist to it. Sometimes we add different beans or throw in different spices but this is our template. It's super easy to make; chopping the vegetables is just time consuming. If you're making this for the Daniel Fast, make sure all the beans do not have any added sugar or corn syrup in. Sometimes you have to search for them but they are out there!

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large orange pepper, chopped
1 large yellow pepper, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper (seeded, de-veined and chopped)
6 cloves garlic, minced (or store bought minced)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can black beans
1 (16 oz) can dark red kidney beans
1 (16 oz) can hot chili beans
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
1 can refried beans

In a large pot, add olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add peppers and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add vegetable stock and stir well. Drain tomatoes, black beans, chili beans and kidney beans then add, stirring well to combine.  Add cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce.  Stir in refried beans to thicken chili.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy by itself or on a baked potato.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Practical Tips for Thriving in the Daniel Fast

My church, CityChurch of Olive Branch, is starting 2017 with 21 days of prayer and fasting. We are doing the Daniel Fast together this year starting Sunday, January 8th. Here are eight practical tips for thriving during the fast. I am not ignoring the spiritual side, just giving some practical tips.

1. Plan, plan, plan. Know specifically what you can and cannot have. After you have researched, plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day for a week at a time. If you're feeling advantageous, plan for the entire three weeks in one sitting.
Here is a sample meal plan for us:
Breakfast: fruit smoothie (frozen berries, 100% apple juice and frozen banana)
Lunch: taco salad with guacamole and apple slices with peanut butter
Dinner: 4 bean chili with a side of green beans
Snacks: mixed fruit, clementines, mixed nuts

2. Tell yourself you won't quit. Tell yourself that you will complete the 21 days. If you say you're going to "try" then you are giving yourself room to fail. It's tough but it's supposed to be tough. If you slip up and eat a handful of M&Ms, repent, forgive yourself and keep going. Don't give yourself an out to quit.

3. Have readily available snacks when you get hangry. For me, I like easy fruits (bananas, clementines, apples) and mixed nuts. I also keep sugar free applesauce on deck.

4. Realize temptation is going to come and that you can overcome it. Whenever my husband or I have done fasts, it seems like we get invited to lots of parties with all you can eat pizza buffets with a 5 tiered chocolate cake. Either don't go to those food filled outings or eat before you go and bring approved snacks along so you're not tempted.

5. Check your labels carefully. While you're mostly eating whole, fresh foods, you will use some prepared foods like canned beans. Now, if you're like me, you would assume there would be no added sugar in a can of pinto beans you're using for a chili but most have corn syrup in. There are some jarred salsas without added sugar and pasta sauces without added sugar.

6. Invite friends or family over to have dinner with you. During our first Daniel Fast in 2012, we had another couple over for dinner that was also doing the fast with us. We had mixed fruit as an appetizer and a 4 bean chili for the main course. They brought the most delicious guacamole with baked corn chips. We had a great time sharing recipes, encouraging each other and praying with and for each other.

7. Caffeine withdrawal is tough. Realize the first few days will be very tough if you're used to drinking soda or coffee on a regular basis. You will have headaches and most of the time, they will die down after day 3. Drink lots of water.

8. Experiment with new foods so you don't get bored or stale. Sometimes, we just have a baked potato for dinner because of our lack of creativity and because we're just hungry. We love to go to Whole Foods to get inspired with new foods. They also have a buffet with many DF approved foods. It's a nice treat not to prepare a meal.

Remember to drink lots water, eat as much as you want with DF approved foods, and get enough protein. Remind yourself that it's only 21 days and that you're stronger than you think.

Each year, many people tell us they aren't doing the Daniel Fast because they "already eat like that." Chances are, that's probably not true and more of an excuse than anything. If you find yourself pushing back hard, you may need it the most. But if you legitimately eat similar to the Daniel Fast on a regular basis then I encourage you to do another fast like a 3 day juice fast.

Click here for some Daniel Fast approved restaurants.
And click here for some Daniel Fast recipes.
And click here for more info on what exactly the Daniel Fast is.

You can do this.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Welcome (back).

You know those people that start a blog and promote it heavily then post once or twice then never post again? This will be that blog. I will post randomly and sporadically.

All my posts from my old "wifey life" blog are still here. A lot of it makes me cringe because of the photos or wording, but it's fun to see how I've grown and evolved so I decided to keep it.

This new blog is called "MS in MS." It stands for Melody Sowden in Mississippi. MS are my (semi) new initials from getting married nearly seven years ago. And MS is the state I have lived in (also for seven years). Growing up, I desired to be married more than anything but wasn't sure if it was ever going to happen. And let's face it, Mississippi was probably the last place on earth I ever thought I'd live especially being a proud Northern girl from Lancaster, PA. But Isaiah 55:8 says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord." I may not know what I am doing tomorrow or even later today but I am sure glad I serve a God who does.

So the initials "MS" represent me and the new person I've become and living in the new state I moved to seven years ago. My old "wifey life" blog just encompassed my title of just "wife." While I am still a wife, I am more than that. I embraced a new role two years ago when we welcomed our first son, Judah, into the world. Then six months ago, we welcomed our first daughter, Alexa, into our family. I am a Pennsylvanian, married to a Seattleite and we are raising two Mississippians.

I don't think this is a mom blog or cooking blog or hair blog or couponing blog or whatever blog. It is just a blog. It's a constant work in progress - just like me. I may post 10 times in one week or I may not see you again for three years. But I still want you to check back daily anxiously awaiting a new post. ;)


Friday, November 13, 2015

6 Things I am Learning in 6 Years of Marriage

Troy and I got married on Friday, November 13, 2009. Here are 6 quick things I have learned (and am still learning) about marriage since then.

1) Marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. We both have to give it our all. We cannot short change each other. Yes, we are partners, but we are partners giving it everything we have and striving for more.

2) I am not the same person I was six years ago. And neither is Troy. Am I perfect? Not even close.  Am I better than I was? Absolutely. Troy continually helps me be a better person: a better wife, friend, mom, and most importantly, Christ follower.

3) We never stop growing in our love for each other.  Six years may not sound like a long time compared to a couple married 16 or 26 years, but I have learned that our love has blossomed and grown immeasurably. We have grown spiritually, relationally, sexually (oh yeah, I said it.)... in every way. That's one of my favorite parts of marriage - growing deeper.

4) I'm learning to get better at forgiving. I heard a quote that said that a great marriage is made up of two great forgivers. Troy is the BEST example of it. Which is crazy because I am probably the worst example of it. He is constantly giving me grace and time.

5) The Word of God has got to be our guide. It just has to be.

6) Troy is still my favorite. No matter what has happened, his voice is still the sweetest sound. His face is still my favorite sight. I never tire of being with him and I will work my hardest to see that that never changes.

I love you, Troy! Thanks for choosing me.