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Fall = Apples + Love

9/25/2012 *Sara-Marie* 20 Comments

I'm participating in a blogging event from The SITS Girls, an online women bloggers support community. Today's prompt: What does Fall look like in your neck of the woods? or What does Fall mean to you?

For me, I will forever associate Fall with apples and love.

In Fall 2009, I went apple picking for the first time in my life in New Hampshire with the hubby (just my boyfriend then). It was the most amazing experience ever.  It was a surprise day trip, since we both lived in MA at the time, and it was just so much fun.

Knowing how much I LOVED apple picking, the following Fall, on September 25, 2010 (2 years ago today!), we took another trip up to our favorite orchard. This time, while I was busy examining the best apples to pick for our basket, Mark suggested we go farther in the back because "it doesn't look like anyone has touched those trees yet." Giddy and excited to be picking off a fresh tree, I skipped right over to a more secluded part of the orchard. "Great idea, babe" I shouted, "These apples look AMAZING!"

Babe? Baaaaaaabe?

He wasn't answering me.

When I turn around, my adorable husband was down on one knee, with a diamond ring in his hand!


I started jumping up and down like a little girl at the thought of what was happening! I literally could not stop jumping and squealing.

Finally he said, "Will you just say YES already? My knee is in some applesauce!"

And of  course, I did.

Do you see the excitement?
For our official engagement photos, we took beautiful photos in a park in Pennsylvania, and made sure to bring along a basket of apples to remember how it all happened.


Professional photos courtesy of Marjorie Datuin. She's awesome.


Jesus, Friend of Sinners

9/23/2012 *Sara-Marie* 0 Comments

Yesterday, on my way to a special anniversary church service at a sister church, I heard Casting Crowns' new song "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" on the radio. I had heard it once or twice before but this was the first time that I really listened to the lyrics. The song really struck a chord with my heart. 

Jesus, Friend of Sinners


Jesus, Friend of sinners we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your Name, but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinners the one who's writing in the sand
Make the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring your people to their knees

Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did?
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good And Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus friend of sinners break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

The part of this song that hit me the most was the following line:

Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs, crossed over the lines and loved like You did?

Isn't this the truth? Are we missing the point as followers of Christ?

I pray that through my life people can see God's love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and goodness. 
I pray that they see Jesus reflected in me. 

Nothing else. No judgement. No pointing fingers. No hate.  

Just LOVE. 

That's the message of Christ. 


Good Food Friday - 9/21/12

9/21/2012 *Sara-Marie* 5 Comments

What's today? FRIDAY. But today's not just any Friday. Today's the Friday my new iPhone 5 should arrive in the mail!!!! And it's Good Food Friday, here at Consider the Leaf TURNED.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you have already seen a few of my good eats this week, so I apologize for some repeats!

Post Whole30 - my goal is to eat as close to Whole30 compliant as I can, with allowing a little bit of flexibility. Since my husband is now on the Whole30 himself, I am staying pretty compliant in support of his efforts. (Yes, even though on my Whole30 Day 1 he ate McDonalds in the car).

California Style Organic Pork Chops - Recipe from It Starts With Food.
Ingredients: Pork chops, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, and fresh parsley. Very easy!

2 ingredient pancakes - Adapted from this recipe
 The original recipe calls for just banana and eggs, but I was hesitant to leave it just at that. I used 2 eggs, 1/2 of a large banana, dash of vanilla, pinch of salt, pinch of baking powder, and a liberal amount of cinnamon. Cooked over medium low heat on a cast iron skillet and topped with almonds, the other half of the banana and some coconut flakes. 1/2 way through eating it, I also added a drizzle of honey. These weren't too bad, as long as you don't expect them to taste like fluffy buttermilk pancakes. They were more like banana flavored crepes or banana flavored skinny omelets. I don't know how to describe - but I enjoyed eating it!

This week I discovered that cashew butter is amazingly delicious!
When my husband is hungry, I deliver! This was a quick lunch meal yesterday. Romaine, ground beef, fresh guacamole and salsa!
Mango Slaw! Recipe from Everyday Paleo
Tarragon Cream Chicken Thighs - Recipe adapted from It Starts With Food.
I never cooked with Tarragon before so I didn't know what flavor to expect. I thought this chicken was amazingly delicious, but my husband hated it. Apparently he has a strong aversion to tarragon! Just when I thought I knew the guy! No big deal, more food for me. This recipe was also very easy. Ingredients: chicken, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, coconut milk, chicken broth, tarragon, and chives.
I paired the tarragon cream chicken with mashed cauliflower - SO GOOD.
Whole30 approved organic hot dogs with mustard and lettuce buns!
1/2 sweet potato with organic uncured ham. Random breakfasts.

Zoodles with spicy orange beef. This was so good!

Leftover breakfast special: leftover mashed cauliflower, leftover orange beef, and two fresh eggs
Found these last night and I'm in heaven! Only three ingredients on the bag: sweet potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt. Sounds good to me! But they can be dangerous, so practice self control!

 What new recipes did you try this week? 
Leave a comment with a link to a recipe, your blog, or even your Pinterest board! 


Word Filled Wednesdays - 1 Corinthians 10:31

9/19/2012 *Sara-Marie* 8 Comments

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Linking up with:


My 5 Tips for Eating Clean

9/18/2012 *Sara-Marie* 17 Comments

As you are all aware, I began to change my diet a few months ago to a clean eating diet. That means that I strive to eat real, whole foods like meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and good fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado. This way of eating just makes so much sense to me and has really changed my life. I've never felt better. I thank God everyday that He opened up my eyes! Overly processed, created in laboratory, type of "food" is not real food at all, and will not make me healthier.

Along this journey, I've talked with a lot of people about the changes I've made and the most common reactions are:
Wow, what CAN you eat? 
How do you do it? 

The answer to the first one is easy. I can eat A LOT. There are a bajillion types of vegetables and fruits out there - not to mention tons of different meats to pair them up with. Have you looked at any of my food posts lately? I'm not depriving myself AT ALL.

The "how" of it all, is a very good question and I'm going to try to sum it up in 5 easy tips:

1. Stick to the outside perimeter of the grocery story for the freshest, realest foods. If it comes in a box and has an ingredient list that reads like a science experiment - it doesn't belong in my shopping cart. The middle aisles of the store are full of the evil boxes!

2. Clean out your kitchen.  Take a box and throw in all of those prepackaged, overly processed foods. Find a food pantry and donate it. Or at least put it out of sight. If you see it, you crave it. Even if you're not hungry. Don't set yourself up for failure. Only keep good food around - and plenty of it!
3. Be creative. Try a new recipe or buy a vegetable you've never tried before. Keep things interesting - you just might find a new family favorite. Pinterest is recipe heaven! Just keep your eyes on the healthy stuff.

4. Buy a new spice/seasoning every week. Experiment with new flavor profiles and different ethnic flavors. I can't tell you how many different ways I've prepared roasted cauliflower and each time it feels like a new vegetable. Or if you're tired of grilling chicken breasts using the same boring seasonings, you'd be surprised at what a new spice can do for it and for you! I have found out that I really like typical Indian flavors and Moroccan flavors. Keeps things new and exciting!

5. Be Prepared. This is really the most important of them all. Always have good food choices available no matter where you are: at home, at work, in the car, at a hotel, at the park, etc. When hunger strikes, you have something wholesome to turn to instead of a take-out menu, drive-thru or vending machine. Believe it or not, I try to always carry some "emergency protein" for times like those. All natural, minimally processed beef jerky works really well and is easy to carry in your purse. If you're going on a trip, pack a cooler with already cooked chicken tenders or turkey slices. Fruits and veggies are easy to pack as well. Baby carrots and celery are our go-to snacks, as well as bananas and oranges. But protein is the most important to curve hunger and cravings.

I also recommend taking out a couple hours a week to do lots of prep work in one shot. Make a couple of meals and package them up in single servings to easily grab with you on your way to work.

Or prep a bunch of veggies that you can easily throw into your morning omelet or your salad throughout the week.


Double a recipe and freeze half for those crazy busy nights where you know you'll only have 15 minutes to throw a meal on the table. It's all about being prepared. Also, one big clean up is better than multiple clean ups!

I probably could throw another 5 tips together, but I'll save that for another day. I just want to emphasize that while this does take some thinking and planning, it's not hard. And you can do it. 

Treat your body well. 
Feed it what it was designed to thrive on. 
It's the only body you'll ever have.

Linking up with:
 A Humble Bumble
Boys Oh Boys - Tea on Tuesday HopGrowing HomeFlock Together


Motivation Mondays - 9/17/12

9/17/2012 *Sara-Marie* 4 Comments

Keeping it simple today. 
Thank you Tina for sharing this photo with me. 
Only three days left in week one!


"I can't forget the children of Haiti" - my dad

9/16/2012 *Sara-Marie* 2 Comments


Two years ago, my father went to Haiti on a missions trip with a group of others. It was a life changing experience for him. He saw many things that broke his heart, that frightened him, and although they spent a week in a medical tent providing simple care - he came back feeling like he didn't do enough. When asked if he would ever go back, he said he wasn't sure. In fact, he didn't talk much for days after his return. When he did, all he would say is "I can't forget the children of Haiti."

There were many things he experienced that scarred him for life - like hearing the cries of people being sacrificed as part of the pagan rituals that still occur in this country - and him not being able to save them.

Well God has big plans for him and God told him to go back. This time with a different mission - bringing the Word of God - the medicine for the soul. My dad, along with two other brothers from our church just landed yesterday in Port-au-Prince for a week long Jesus campaign.

Will you help me pray for them?

Please pray for protection, guidance, and for the message that is going to be delivered. Pray for the Haitians that their ears and hearts would be open to receive the message of Christ, the Lord, Our Savior. Please pray for many lives to be saved and for the safe return of my dad and his colleagues.

As a daughter, of course I worry a little bit about what he may face on his trip. But I trust that God is in control and He will be with my father. So today, and forever, I stand on the promise of Isaiah 41:10 and will not fear, because the Lord, our God, is with them. And this trip is for God's glory and I know that my father will be richly blessed for being obedient to the Lord.

Thank you in advance for your support and your prayers during this week. They are greatly needed!


Good Food Recap

9/15/2012 *Sara-Marie* 11 Comments

It's been a few weeks since I've shared my 'whole eats' so here's a reminder post that it's not hard to eat good, delicious food!

Let's start out with the weekend we decided to treat ourselves for our birthdays to a romantic night at Melt. If you're in the area, we recommend it. 
Treated myself to a nice new dress after completing the Whole30. Nice to know I fit in a smaller size!
My extremely handsome husband with the lovely decor.
Our good eats - NY Strip for hubby, grilled chicken for me, side of zucchini and broccolini
The birthday celebrations continued that weekend at my parents, where I thought it was special enough to indulge in a tiny piece of my favorite birthday cake. My mom has been making it for me since as long as I can remember, so it's kind of a tradition. It was really yummy and just a few bites satisfied my desire.

Love the parentals!
My mother's birthday dinner for me - my favorite steak guisao with tomatoes, avocado and yes, I had some white potatoes! Not the end of the world paleo eaters!
If my baby sister was born 17 years earlier, we would be identical twins.
Recently, I've been doing a bit more of experimenting:

Coconut Flour Pancakes with jam and almonds
Homemade ranch dressing - THE BOMB. I'm obsessed.

Paleo brownie mug with coconut flakes. Still perfecting this recipe. Once I have it just right, I will definitely share!

Sweet potato fries dusted with coconut flour prior to baking to make it more crunchy. I enjoyed them!
Chocolate banana sorbet with almonds. This has been helping Mark get through his Whole30!

And some more random meals:
Organic turkey breasts in romaine leaves with homemade ranch dressing, avocado and organic, uncured bacon!
Random pulled pork recipe with lots of veggies, prior to cooking in the crockpot for many hours

That pulled pork turned into this! With sweet potato fries. IT was yummy!
Pollo guisao with cauliflower instead of potatoes and rice!
My red pepper tacos! For recipe, scroll to the end of this post

The usual breakfast after Taco Night. SO GOOD.
This was supposed to be "egg flowers" but I need to perfect my form because my eggs escaped!
Another typical breakfast!
yes, you can have broccoli for breakfast.
Paleo Orange Chicken - the sauce didn't come out as thick as I had wanted/expected, but the flavor was ALL THERE. Check out the recipe I followed here.

Another breakfast favorite! Sweet potato, sausage, avocado, cilantro and, of course, eggs!
My fresh salsa. I even got Mark to eat some scrambled eggs (he has hated them for a while!) with some of my salsa on top.
"Sara's Chicken al horno" over some greens
And even while I was out on business travel, I was able to easily stay on track!

Preparation is key! Roasted veggies, cauliflower, and balsamic chicken ready for my cooler and the drive up to Boston!
Shared a juicy and delicious grass fed burger while I was in Cambridge with my dear friend Jen! I had the burger bunless with a fried egg, guacamole and salad!
While in Boston with Momma Pops, we both enjoyed Naked Burritos!
When I got back from Boston, the hubby and I enjoyed another good meal at Red Robin!
We asked for some guacamole and veggies - and they agreed! We had carrots, cucumber, zucchini and jicama! Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions while eating out!
And then another delicious burger with a lettuce bun and sweet potato fries. No hassle at all!
Eating whole, good food is a way of living and it is NOT hard once you know how to manage and form new habits. As you can see, I'm eating PLENTY of delicious food. No deprivation, no counting calories, no guilty feelings. And I'm still seeing positive changes in my body. 

In closing, I want to give a big shout out to my awesome mother in law, Momma Pops, who is on Day 15 of her Whole30 and she looks AMAZING! Not to mention my husband, who is on Day 13 of his Whole30 and disappearing before our eyes! He actually just took his uniform to get taken in! Men, they lose weight so much faster than the rest of us! 

Until next time,