Homemade Tomato Zucchini Soup

Autumn’s Harvest: Hearty Tomato Zucchini Soup

Hearty Tomato Zucchini Soup is a perfect meal for an autumn harvest. Made from the garden’s bounty, this recipe is made up of harvested tomatoes, onions, zucchini, garlic, basil, and thyme. The soup is fresh, flavorful, and feast for the eyes to look at with its deep red and green ingredients.

Local Agriculture

The garlic cloves I used in this recipe were from Sunnyfield Farm, a local garlic and sheep farm in Eden, Utah. Support of local farmers and growers is good for community economics and local commerce. SunnyField Farm Garlic is of the highest quality and free from chemicals and pesticides. You can buy garlic from their Sunnyfield Farm Shop.

Hobby Farmer

On the more than a half-acre lot that my family lives on, you’ll find a big garden plot, horseback riding area, garage shop, barn, grassed yard, and cozy farm home. In addition to our land, we have a lease on several acres behind our property.

On our pasture, we raise horses. We personally own three equines, a bay horse, Palomino horse, and one pony. The pony is a mix between a Shetland pony mare and Morgan stud. I think horses are such beautiful animals. I enjoy their company at our home and enjoy the care and keeping of our equines. My husband is naturally gifted in horsemanship and I love learning from him!

We raised a Charolais cross beef steer for meat a couple of years ago. I loved having our own pasture-raised meat in our chest freezer. Cattle are beautiful animals and I appreciated the provision of meat the steer provided us.

Within the next couple of years, I would like to try my hand at raising chickens. However, my barn needs cleaning and de-cluttering first. I want a very clean, sanitary, and organized environment for my young children and livestock to be in. And no, my children do not live in my barn, just play in there! ha ha. Clean healthy chickens make clean healthful eggs. Clean healthful eggs will go into our clean healthful human bodies. The health of our food chain matters!

In our garden plot this 2018 year, we grew: zucchini, corn, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and cantaloupe. The planting season was right in the middle of our move into our new home, so we planted our garden late. For watering, we used an overhead sprinkler. Therefore, our garden produced plants well, but so did the weeds. The large garden’s weeds got too much for me and I fell behind on the weeding. There were many mistakes on my behalf with the garden, however, gardening is a personal journey of trial and error and finding what works for your garden and lifestyle.

Now I know more about how I want to plant my garden next year. Next year, I will plant only one zucchini plant, half the amount of tomatoes, two cantaloupe plants, two spaghetti squash plants, and add in butternut and acorn squash into the mix.

With the large number of tomatoes and zucchini we grew, I wanted to create a recipe that I could use up the tomatoes and zucchini with. With that, the Hearty Tomato Zucchini Soup was created!

In addition to the tomato zucchini soup, my zucchini egg waffle recipe is another tasty recipe I enjoy this time of year!

Hearty Tomato Zucchini Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts (128 ounces) stewed tomatoes OR four 28 ounce cans of stewed tomatoes plus one 14.5 ounces can
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves – Sunnyfield Farm Organic Garlic
  • 2 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Chop or shred zucchini and mince garlic. Sauté zucchini in olive oil in a frying pan. Once the zucchini is tender, add garlic and continue to sauté until garlic is aromatic. Once finished, remove from heat and do to next step in the recipe.
  2. In a blender, blend the onion and tomatoes. Pour purée in a big soup pot. If you want a chunky tomato soup, leave one quart or can of tomatoes unblended.
  3. Add sautéed zucchini and garlic to the soup pot.
  4. Add spices and seasoning to the soup, including chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, thyme, and basil.
  5. Simmer soup for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let each serving cool down in a bowl. Enjoy!

To spice up the meal, you can sprinkle cheese on the soup and/or add grilled chicken chunks. It is also great served with grilled cheese sandwiches!

Resources

Sunnyfield Farm Website

Utah State University Extension: Yard & Garden (favorite Utah resources for garden and food preservation)

Refreshing Raspberry Almond Smoothie

Refreshing Raspberry Almond Smoothie

This Raspberry Almond Smoothie is a personal favorite of mine because I love the flavorful combination of revitalizing raspberries and delightful almonds. This raspberry almond smoothie is naturally sweet, savory, and super satisfying. You can enjoy this tasty treat any time of the day!

Ingredients For Adults

  • 1 cup milk of your choice (cow’s, almond, soy, rice, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 drop of almond extract
  • 1/2 of a ripe banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Ingredients For Children

  • 1 cup vitamin D whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 drop of almond extract
  • 1/2 of a ripe banana
  • 1 scoop of kid-specific vanilla powder

Extra Smoothie Add-Ons:

  • Shredded zucchini
  • Chopped spinach
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Hemp seed
  • Etc.

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in your high-speed blender and blend until creamy!
  • Enjoy!

Did you try this recipe? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Share your creations on Instagram with the hashtag #brehealthyeats

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to follow along on my Instagram @bre.healthy!

Sweet & Simple Cinnamon Glazed Almonds

Nothing screams summer rodeo and fair food like warm cinnamon glazed almonds! These sweet, nutty, and crunchy morsels are so fun to pop in your mouth as you enjoy summer festivities. Whether you enjoy them in your backyard as you host a summer barbecue or take them on-the-go when going summer adventuring, they are a perfect snack!

Thanks to my momma Elizabeth, who gave me both the nut roaster and recipe, I am able to share it here on my blog with all of you! On the subject of loved ones, this is a perfect treat to gift. We’ve taken the almonds to new neighbors and plan to give the roasted nuts as Christmas treats to family, neighbors, and friends. The options on who you can give them to are endless! Anyone for any occasion!

Cinnamon Glazed Almonds

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Supplies Needed

  • Nut Roaster
  • Heat-resistant spatula
  • Non-stick baking tray, parchment paper, or silicone baking mat.
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions

  1. Spread almonds evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour water, sugar, ground cinnamon, and vanilla over the nuts.
  3. Turn crank handle to mix the nuts and ingredients together.
  4. Place pan on the burner and turn to medium heat.
  5. Stir continuously and slowly, allowing the glaze to keep coating the nuts. It is normal for the almonds to slide around at first. The nuts will begin to tumble as the glaze thickens.
  6. As the glaze begins to thicken, you will feel more resistance as you stir the almonds. When all the liquid evaporates from the cinnamon sugar glaze, it will quickly change to a crystalline coating. Remove the pan immediately from the heat.
  7. Using a heat-resistant spatula, immediately spread the glazed almonds on a non-stick baking tray, parchment paper, or silicone baking mat to cool.
  8. Separate the nuts with a wooden spoon as needed.
  9. Wait for nuts to cool so you don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Glazed Almonds Ingredients

Cinnamon Candied Almonds

Cinnamon Glazed Almonds

Marriage Prep Advice – Letter To A Friend

A little while back I had another woman reach out to me and ask:

“What are some things you wish someone would have told you before getting married? I’ve headed that direction and just want to be as ready for marriage as possible.”

My Response Was:

First thing, is that life does not get easier once you are married. If you are trying to run away from problems by getting married, it doesn’t help. Life is amazing with a spouse, however, with marriage comes responsibility and a lot of sacrifices.

To start off, every couple’s relationship is so very different. What I will share is what has worked for my husband Karson and me. Something about me is that I am a slow-moving gal. Before I make decisions, I like to take my time and plan the heck out of it. When I move forward with decisions, I am very thoughtful and reflective so I know I am making a good one.

Girl, that fact that you are asking questions and looking for advice is awesome! I think it is so helpful to be prayerful about these things!

Time Spent Dating

Karson and I dated for about a year and were engaged for a couple of months. I liked dating Karson for that long because I was able to see him through all seasons of the year (deer season included!) and see that he was the same person I met on day 1 that he was on day 365.

Take the time that you feel is best for the two of you, which could be either shorter or longer. However, I feel that it is good to be with that person long enough for the infatuation phase to simmer down. The “in-love” feeling is wonderful, however, after it is gone, you can really see who your boyfriend is and if he will still lasso the moon for you.

Working Through A Disagreement

I also think it is good to work through a major disagreement with your boyfriend before you get married. Don’t make up a disagreement obviously, however, be forward with things that you have issues with. Marriage will not make issues disappear. There will be disagreements throughout your whole marriage and if you learn that the two of you can communicate and work through a problem and become closer because of it, that’s wonderful.

My first year of marriage was a breeze because Karson and I learned to communicate well while dating. We have been married for six years and we still get along so very well. I have not regretted marrying him once. I knew him very well and knew what kind of man I was marrying.

Same Goals

We view money, parenting, politics, and religion similarly. Obviously, marriage can work when you have disagreements on certain things. However, it has been nice that both Karson and I are very hard-working, frugal, and self-reliant people who work really hard and make sacrifices so we have financial freedom. We both have the same goal of raising respectful, kind, faithful and competent children. We view politics the same so that obviously makes life easier. To have a virtuous and loyal husband is such a blessing.

Marriage Prep Endnote

I also feel that it is good to keep personal matters just between you and your spouse. Obviously, if there are major marital issues, it is good to get help. Church bishops, counselors, therapists, and family members can then become involved if you can’t do it alone. However, if I were to confide in my mother about things that my husband did wrong, she might hold on to his problems because she doesn’t have the healing marriage bond with my husband like I do. That can cause unneeded tension in family relationships. Does that make sense?

My favorite marriage books are The 5 Love Languages and Covenant Hearts.

I hope this helps! I am happy that good things are coming your way!

Love,

Breanna

Here is another letter to a friend about Postpartum Health and Fitness.

Postpartum Health and Fitness – Letter To A Friend

I recently had another mom reach out to me and ask:

“How do you motivate yourself to workout, eat healthily, and keep moving as a postpartum mom?”

My Response Was:

Finding time to workout as a mother is hard! It is difficult to sacrifice time that you guiltily feel should be spent taking care of your baby, and instead take care of yourself. When we sign up to be mothers, we do give our lives away. However, the raising up of children is worth the sacrifice. Nonetheless, it is important to take time for ourselves so we have the ability to give of ourselves to our children and husband. It is not selfish to take care of your own health.

Postpartum Fitness

Sometimes, I get into an all or nothing mentality with fitness. If I can’t do a 1+ hour full-body workout, my efforts aren’t good enough. However, shooting for 30 minutes of movement each day is a good starting point for me. Sometimes the movement might be mowing a lawn or weeding a garden. Typically, I do simple bodyweight workouts at home before my children wake up. High-intensity interval training is a great way to burn fat without spending hours upon hours working out in a day.

My husband’s health insurance has a gym reimbursement program, so, I recently signed up at my local gym. I plan to go at 5 o’ clock in the morning before my husband leaves to work. However, I am not nursing a baby anymore and have the extra energy to sacrifice some sleep. When I didn’t get enough sleep when nursing my babies, my milk supply would drop.

Stroller Walks

Stroller walks are a great way to get moving that also includes your baby. Finding other moms in your church group and neighborhood to run/walk with is a great way to workout. My friend and I, first thing in the morning would go for a walk around our neighborhood with our little babies. It was fun to talk to her while exercising and giving our babies an enjoyable stroller ride.

You can keep an eye on KSL Classifieds for a discounted jogging stroller if you want to start running again. Finding a sport or type of exercise you really love is the key to sustainability.

Accountability Partners

Including your spouse in your fitness journey is so helpful. He can be a great accountability partner. I have learned that sometimes you just need to ask your husband to watch your baby while you go exercise. He wants you to be happy as a mom and if going on a quick run will make you happier and more able to take care of your baby, he should gladly help. Finding accountability partners is crucial in staying motivated and driven.

Nutrition

Bulk cooking healthy foods and eating it throughout the week is the best way I have found to eating well. For a quick breakfast, I love oatmeal and smoothies. For quick nutritious lunches and dinners, steam some veggies, cook some rice, and eat it with a side of lean meat.

Endnote

I too am still learning how to stay happy and healthy as a postpartum mom. It’s definitely been a journey. You can skim my BRE HEALTHY website to read my articles for some tips and takeaways on healthy habits. You and your husband and you are doing an excellent job with your baby boy and hope we can catch up soon in the near future.

Love,
Breanna

Benefits Of Walking With A Stroller

This morning around 10 a.m., I grabbed my jogging stroller, threw on some exercise pants, long sleeves, sunscreen, and a trucker hat and headed out the door. I got my children comfy in the stroller with books and toys and made sure they had protection from the sun too.

In my neighborhood, there is a paved parkway for runners and bikers that I take full advantage of during the warm months here in Utah. Stroller walks and runs on straight pathways make for a more enjoyable ride for the children.

As I was walking up to the trail, I saw this sprightly elderly woman mowing her lawn. I walked passed her and asked if she needed help and she explained to me that by mowing her lawn, she was getting her exercise in for the day. Her yard was pristine and I could tell that she takes pride in her home and health. She said thank you anyway and commented how cute my children were in the stroller. I left her yard smiling at the positive vibe she left me. Once my children and I got home from our walk, I put my son down for a nap and went outside with my three-year-old daughter to mow the lawn.

After seeing this beautifully aged woman, I was reminded how exercise and daily movement is essential in preventing osteoporosis and muscle wasting as our bodies age. Choosing simple ways to move our bodies, such as mowing a lawn or pushing a stroller, are easy ways to get in daily exercise.  Mowing the lawn and pushing a stroller are similar movements and I wanted to share why doing both can improve your health.

Benefits Of Walking With A Stroller… or Mower

  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Fitness

Walking is a form of aerobic exercise that improves circulation and helps the body better use oxygen. Walking strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system. When pushing a stroller or lawnmower, you are pushing extra weight, therefore, making your body work harder.

  • Core Engagement

It is important to engage your core when pushing a stroller or mowing the lawn. Both activities are great ways to engage and strengthen the core. When doing those activities, be cautious not to improperly twist the spine. As a postpartum mom, a strong core helps to keep up proper posture and body alignment.

  • Family Bonding

As a mom, your kids are kinda stuck with you. Ya, feel me? It is not recommended to leave young children alone while you go on a run by yourself or do yard work for an extended period. Therefore, bring your kid(s) along with you in a stroller. While you work in the yard, strap a kid on your back or let them play in the yard. Teaching children to take care of their bodies and the environment around them will do both them and this world some good.

  • Time Spent Outdoors

Spending time outdoors has documented health benefits. When we are exposed to sunlight and natural living things, it helps synchronize our circadian rhythms. Time spent outdoors helps us become mentally and physically grounded. Being outside improves your sense of well-being and helps your body produce vitamin D.

Tips for Parents

When taking children on a stroller walk or spending time outdoors for an extended period, have snacks, sun protection, toys, water, and children who have an empty bladders. These are easy and great ways to keep up an enjoyable experience outside.

Walking is a great way to introduce exercise into a sedentary lifestyle. In my article, Workout Motivation and Goal-Setting, I share how to set fitness goals and tips to meet them. A good goal to set is walking 10,000 steps a day. Read the article to start creating a goal, like getting in 10,000 steps a day, to help you have greater health and fitness. 

Basal Cell Carcinoma – Entry Two

Welcome to the second entry of my basal cell carcinoma series. I hope that the series is small, however, I would be naïve to think that I will never have skin cancer again. However, from here on out, my skin will be monitored closely by my dermatologist and me, and I will continue to carry out strict skin protection practices to prevent further skin damage.

You can read my first basal cell carcinoma entry here. On my first entry, I mentioned that I was to have my surgery on February 24th, however, I rescheduled the surgery for March 6th and had a pre-surgery consult on February 26th.

Health Insurance

On the 6th of February, I turned 26 and under current law before that age, a young adult is covered by their parent’s health insurance. Since I was no longer covered by my parent’s health insurance policy, I needed to switch to my husband’s health insurance starting March 1st. I still had coverage 31 days after February 6th, so the end of coverage date would be March 9th. I had a several day period between March 1st and March 9th where I had dual health insurance coverage. My surgery was scheduled on March 6th which fell within the range of the dual coverage, meaning I could receive the benefits from both insurances.

Pre-Surgery

Before I had the procedure, I met with the surgeon and asked him questions about basal cell carcinoma and the Mohs surgery. I asked specific questions because I really wanted to see how much the surgeon thought he would have to take out of my face. We discussed repair plans and if I needed a plastic surgeon to close my incision.

Initially, I was a bit of a mess trying to figure out when I should have the surgery, what to do with insurances, what kind of coverage I had, and for what amount I would be financially responsible. However, I made a lot of calls to the insurance companies and dermatology office and was able to sort out the issues.

After I figured out as much as I could on my own, I went to the Ogden Utah LDS temple to think about my decision. I chose to go there for a number of reasons, but one of the main reason was that I wanted a place of solitude where I could thoughtfully decide if I was making the right decision about my surgery. After prayer and reflection, I felt like my decision about my surgery was good. Therefore, I planned to have my surgery on March 6th.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Mohs Surgery

On Tuesday, March 6th, my husband drove me to the dermatology clinic for my surgery. We dropped our children off at my parent’s home on the way there. We arrived at the clinic and went into the room where the procedure would be performed. The physician’s assistant came in and with a marker drew some marks on my nose and face for surgery prep. The medical assistant numbed my nose and gave me anti-anxiety medication. My Mohs surgery was not under general anesthetic so I opted for some medication that would help relax me.

The surgeon came in and excised the first portion of tissue. During a Mohs surgery, the surgeon takes the first portion out and then takes it to a lab for examination of the basal carcinoma cells. The first excision did not remove all the basal carcinoma cells, therefore, he came back a second time and removed more tissue. They were able to remove all the abnormal basal carcinoma cells with the second excision. They examined the second biopsy and the borders were clean.

The spot was small enough that there was no need for plastic surgery. The physician’s assistant came in and closed up the spot with stitches and covered it with a bandage.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Removal Surgery
Post-Mohs Surgery

Recovery

Post-procedural care entailed me not exerting myself for the 48 hours after surgery. I was to not elevate my blood pressure, lift heavy items, or strain myself. I rested and took it easy for those two days and felt pretty good. My family helped me a lot, however, I still performed mom duties. I was instructed that I could remove my bandage 48 hours after surgery. I woke up at three in the morning that third morning and couldn’t stand having the bandage on my face any longer. It was itching and irritating my face.

Bandage over Mohs Incision Site
Bandage Over Mohs Surgery Site

The dermatology staff encouraged me to take off the bandage in the shower to aid in removal. That morning, I jumped in the shower and let the bandage soak for a couple of minutes. I pulled it off and started cleaning the incision with the recommended hydrogen peroxide. With a hydrogen peroxide soaked q-tip, I started to clean it. My nose was still swollen and my left nostril was pulled up by the stitches. So, my nose was asymmetrical and slightly disfigured. The inside of my nostril was so swollen that I couldn’t breathe out of my left nostril.

Emotional Shock

The visual of the slightly deformed nose and stitches caused me to have a minor emotional shock reaction. I became light-headed and had to sit down in the shower to get more blood back to my head. I called out to my sleeping husband to get me a glass of juice. After I drank some juice and gained my bearings, I stood up and finished showering. I got back in bed but couldn’t fall back asleep because I was fretting.

Therefore, I grabbed a tablet and watched some Netflix in our living room to get my mind off of my nose. I texted my mom a picture of my nose while I was watching a show, not thinking that she was awake. However, she texted back wanting to call me. I told her she couldn’t call me because if I were to talk to her, I would burst into tears. So through text, my mom who also is a registered nurse, reassured me that the swollenness would die down and that my nose would be more symmetrical once the stitches were out. I felt a bit better after being reassured by her. Nevertheless, I was still emotional that whole morning and before my husband left for work, he made sure I was well enough to take care of our children.

Rest

When my children got up, I made them breakfast and I let them play in their room while I sat near them resting. However, late morning I continued to feel unwell, so I put us all down for early naps.  After I was able to rest, I felt better. As the hours went by that day, my nose was looking better. All in all, the incision actually looked really good. However, my physical and emotional equilibrium was out of whack and I wasn’t able to process my emotions very well.

Mohs Surgery for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Healed

A week after my surgery, the dermatology P.A. removed my stiches. I am very pleased with how my incision and nose look post-surgery. As of this moment, my incision is healing well.  I was instructed to keep it wet with petroleum jelly. As the incision heals and becomes less tender, I can massage it to promote healing and softening of scar tissue.

This whole experience has been a reminder of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such supportive family members and friends. I am grateful that I was able to have my skin cancer removed by skilled medical staff and that the surgery and repair were successful.

Resources:

Basal Cell Carcinoma Removal Surgery Recovery
Mohs Surgery Recovery

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Muffins

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Muffins are an easy breakfast or snack. You’ll feel good about putting this fluffy and moist morsel in your mouth because they are made with clean wholesome ingredients. It’s a simply delicious way to get some complex carbs and fiber!

Ingredient Breakdown

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a wonderful source of fiber and is made from grain that has not been heavily processed or refined.

Sea Salt

High-quality sea salt has trace minerals that are beneficial in our bodies. Although you don’t want it in excess, a normal amount of sodium helps regulate the electrolyte balance in our bodies.

Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It also has phytochemicals called lignans, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed that is ground is easier to digest and promotes a healthy digestion. Like other sources of dietary fiber, ground flaxseed should be taken with plenty of fluids.

Unsweetened Applesauce

Unsweetened applesauce is another great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Unsweetened applesauce possesses no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

Raw Honey

Raw honey is a pure unfiltered natural sweetener made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers. Raw honey has incredible nutritional value and has antibacterial properties. Raw honey can help with healthy weight management, natural allergy relief,  and reduction of free-radicals in the body.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, iron, essential vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. If you have access to fresh farms eggs, they are an excellent choice because they contain more vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids and less cholesterol and fat.

Bananas

Bananas are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin c, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.

Nutritional Advice

Although these muffins are made with clean wholesome ingredients, they are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Therefore, eat the muffins in moderation. Enjoy your food and eat to nourish and fuel your body.

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Flour – 3 1/2 cups
  • Baking Soda – 2 teaspoons
  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Ground Flaxseed – 2 tablespoons
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – 2/3 cup
  • Raw Honey – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 4 count
  • Ripe Mashed Bananas – 2 cups (about 3 medium bananas)
  • Hot Water – 1/2 cup
  • Oats for garnish
  • Honey for garnish
  • Oil spray or paper baking cups

Instructions

Number of Servings: 24
  1. Preheat oven to 325 ℉ and gather all ingredients on the counter.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients in a bowl. Dry ingredients include whole wheat flour, baking soda, and sea salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, beat applesauce and honey together with a hand mixer.
  4. Add eggs to wet ingredients and beat well.
  5. Add mashed bananas to wet ingredients and then beat to combine.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Alternate adding dry ingredients with hot water to the wet mixture.  Mix well after each addition.
  7. Spoon batter into greased muffin tray three-fourths full. An alternate option of greasing the pan is to use paper baking cups in the tray.
  8.  If desired, drizzle the batter with honey and oats
  9. Bake at 325 ℉ for 17 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and test done and clean with a toothpick. 
  10. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  11. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info

The recipe’s nutritional information was inputted by me and calculated by MyFitnessPal. One muffin is a serving size.

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Applesauce Muffins Nutritional Information

Basal Cell Carcinoma – Entry One

To update friends and family and to raise awareness of skin cancer, I wanted to share my basal cell carcinoma skin cancer experience here.

Background

To give you some background about me, I have fair skin and medium blonde hair. Growing up, my dad had red hair and fair freckled skin. My mother has dark brunette hair and olive skin. My skin is a mix of the two.

Growing up my mother was very vigilant about applying sunscreen on us children. As a teenager, I would often apply a daily moisturizer containing broad spectrum SPF. As a grade school athlete, I would always wear sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing (covered shoulders and chest) when practicing and competing outside. I have never fake baked in a tanning bed, despite invites from others to do so.

There are a very small handful of times where I have laid out in the sun. Obviously, that wasn’t the smartest thing to do, although, I always covered my face and never was severely burnt. I never was one to sunbathe by pools at friend’s, family’s, community’s, or hotel’s pools. I felt like I was always the one wearing sunscreen, a hat, and a sundress while sitting in the shade. A couple of times in my life I have had sunburns, but it was never anything too severe. I never had any sunburns that caused blistering or major peeling.

Since graduating high school in 2010, I’ve been very vigilant about skin protection. I have even received a comment that I must not get outside much because of my paleness. I proceeded to tell that person that although I get outside, I try to take the proper precautions to prevent skin cancer because I have a strong family history of it. Both of my grandfathers, several of my uncles, and my dad all had skin cancer primarily on their faces. Most of their cases were basal cell carcinoma, however, some of the skin cancer cases were melanoma.

Dermatology Skin Check

About three years ago in 2015, I thought it would be a good idea to get a dermatology skin check to make sure I didn’t have any irregular spots or moles, which would show skin cancer. No issues were found at that appointment.

As I was approaching my 26th birthday this year on February 6th, I needed to use up some cash that I had on a health insurance card. I used that money on a specialty office visit copay to get another skin check at the dermatology office.

I scheduled a skin check the day before my 26th birthday, on February 5th. I showed the dermatology nurse practitioner a couple of spots I thought we should keep an eye on. I had a mole on my back that was irregularly colored. I also had a new growth in the crease of my nose on the left side. It was a recent growth since having my son in March of 2017. I thought it was either a new mole or a molluscum contagiosum lesion. My daughter had recently healed up from a severe case of molluscum contagiosum that transferred to me. Luckily though, I only had a minor case.

At the appointment, the dermatologist took two biopsies, one from the mole on my back and the other from the new growth on my nose. While the mole on my back was two different colors, the spot on my nose was a pink shiny bump.
 The nurse practitioner notified me that they would call me and report the findings of the biopsies.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

I received a call from the office a week after my appointment to tell me that the nose biopsy came back positive for basal cell carcinoma. I was very surprised, as I mentioned before, I have been very careful about not damaging my skin. When I told my husband, he told me that he didn’t know of anybody else who was more careful about skin protection than I.

Basal cell carcinoma is a common skin cancer that is slow-growing. It is rare that it metastasizes and is removed through surgery and other medical treatments. Although it’s not urgently life-threatening, it should be treated promptly.

Skin Cancer Removal

I have a Mohs surgery scheduled for February 24th, however, my family and I want to consult with a trusted plastic surgeon we know to make sure we are proceeding in the best possible way to get cancer removed from my face. The surgery date might change.

Skin Protection

I cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your skin to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. I highly recommend getting skin checks by a dermatologist to check your skin for issues. I will continue sharing updates on my plans for skin cancer removal and plan of care.

Blessings In Trials

Throughout this whole ordeal, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such a supportive family. Trials such as these put things into perspective. My family and faith in Christ are of the utmost importance.
 May we all realize that we are all fighting secret battles. Know that you could be an answer to somebody’s prayer. Reach out to those in need and you will be blessed.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section and I would be happy to reply.

Resources

Skin Cancer – https://www.skincancer.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – https://www.lds.org/

Health and Fitness Measurements

Health And Fitness Progress Trackers

When beginning a new health and fitness routine, it is helpful to do an initial assessment of your current health and body state. As you use progress trackers, such as body measurements, photos, and journaling, you can see the improvements you have made.

Non-Measurement Progress Trackers

Pictures

Take a picture of your current body state. Use the same location, body position, and time of day to take the photograph. Keep a folder on your phone or computer of your dated photos. Tracking progress through photographs is a visual reminder of the physical progress you have made.

Journal

In a self-development journal, write down the goals and progress you have made throughout your health and fitness journey.

Measurement Progress Trackers

Heart Rate

Measure how many times your heart beats per minute. The WebMD article, Your Heart Rate, includes instructions on how to take your pulse. The range for a normal resting heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute. When exercising, you can work towards achieving your target heart rate. The article above describes how to calculate your target heart rate and how to use that number when exercising.

black sphygmomanometer

Blood Pressure

A normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. People who have raised blood pressure are prone to cardiovascular diseases. To lower blood pressure, practice heart-healthy habits.

Blood Pressure Cuff

Weight

A high amount of body fat can lead to being overweight. Therefore, if you are overweight, tracking your weight can show pounds lost or gained. For those who are underweight, track healthy weight gain through the scale as well.  Healthy body weight depends on your sex and age. Just remember, weight is not always an accurate indicator of health. Body shape and composition are unique to every person, therefore, healthy body weight is unique to every person.

Body-Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is the percentage of fat your body has. Common methods to measure body fat percentage are skin-fold measurements and bioelectrical impedance analysis. More accurate methods are x-ray analysis, water displacement, and DEXA body fat scan.

Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a broad and general equation that provides a numerical rating of your health based on weight and height. As your BMI increases,  your risk for weight-related diseases increases as well. Nevertheless, BMI doesn’t show body composition and cannot distinguish fat from muscle. The WebMD article, Body Fat Measurements, discusses the exact ranges for a healthy BMI and body-fat percentage and how to measure and equate them.

Tape Measurements

Grab a flexible tape measure and a close friend or family member to record the body measurements.

Thigh // measure where the thigh meets the butt.

Hips // measure the widest part of the hip.

Waist // measure at the level of the navel.

Bicep // when measuring the bicep, use the same spot for accuracy.

Chest // to measure, lift up your arms and have someone wrap the tape measure around your chest. Measure above the nipple line with your arms lowered.

Shoulders // to measure, have both arms down at your side and have a friend measure the widest point from shoulder to shoulder.

Neck // have a friend measure around your neck. Relax your neck and make sure your friend isn’t plotting to strangle you.

Bonus Measurement!!!!!

Hair // if you are trying to grow your hair out long, a healthy lifestyle will promote healthy hair and cell growth. Measure how long your hair is and how quickly it grows when taking care of your body!

blue tape measure

Check out my article, Workout Motivation and Goal Setting, where I include tips on how to make smart goals and how to meet them.

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Resources:

Disclaimer: On this site, all opinions are my own.  While I am a registered nurse, and thus a healthcare professional, advice given on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only.  Articles that appear on this site may offer general health advice. However, my articles should never replace any recommendations given by your physician or other medical professionals who are working on your specific case and needs. Also, bear in mind, that what I share in regards to health, works for me and might not work for you. Consult a physician or other medical professionals before making major dietary or physical changes that could impact your health.