Tame the Crave – a few of my favorite *healthy* things

Ahhh, Fall – pumpkin spice in the air, crisp leaves beneath our feet, cozy scarves around our necks, ……………. and food, food, and more food. Everywhere.

As I write this, there is an apple crisp in my oven. Only the second of the season, so I’m not doing too badly. But, oh, the temptations knocking at the door! Literally. Halloween. I’ve been known to raid my kids’ treat bags for prime chocolate pickin’s. I know I’m not alone on that one 😉

So I’ve compiled this list to remind myself that there are lots of healthy AND yummy options for the upcoming season of merriment, thanks, and full bellies.  I hope it gives you some ideas as well.

I’m aiming to make this my healthiest holiday season yet. I’d love to hear your ideas too! If you have any favorite healthy holiday recipes, send them my way – and maybe I’ll post another list in the near future.

Pumpkin Apple Soup


Beef Pho


Minestrone Soup


Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

For this meal, I simply cook a spaghetti squash (or two), scrape out the spaghetti like flesh, and top with our favorite spaghetti sauce. Simple, scrumptious and healthy!

BBQ Chicken Apple Pizza


Oven Dried Apples


*you have to scroll down a little ways to get to the recipe*

Lentil Sloppy Joes


Homemade Lara Bars


Pumpkin Oatmeal Bites


As you probably know by now, dessert is my downfall. These recipes are healthy renditions of the originals, but still require moderation, for me.

Black Bean Brownies


Pumpkin Custard



Pumpkin Pazookie



Recipes I want to Try:

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust


Oven Roasted Chickpeas


Healthy Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin Granola


Autumn Squash Soup



I’ve also started several Tame The Crave boards on Pinterest if you’re interested.






The spicy sweet smells of that apple crisp I mentioned are wafting into my room at this moment. And you know it’s actually a relatively healthy dessert. I decreased the amount of sugar this time, and the next time I make it I want to try using coconut oil instead of butter. I’ll try to remember to let you know how it goes! And I’ll try not to eat too much of this one 😉


To Tame the Pain – A Tame the Crave Update

Pain craves comfort –relief.

So I crave salty & sweet.

Though I’ve been silent on my my health journey the past month and a half, Tame the Crave still has occupied many of my thoughts. I’m daily conscience of my healthy and not-so-healthy eating habits. I’m continuing to work in work-outs to my lifestyle. And my weight is still flat-lined. No change for a few months now.

Flat-lined. It’s the summer story of my heart; and becoming my autumn story too.

I can’t seem to find the joy that should clothe me with proof of my abundant life in Christ. It’s like emotional anemia.

No tragic or traumatic event has befallen me or my family; but a deep seeded thorn of pain has grown and begun to wrap its wandering vines around my heart. I’m giving attention, and pursuing healing; but it’s an arduous process.

It’s a process that almost audibly begs me to reach for comfort from ooey-gooey sweets and fancy melty cheeses. And I’ve succumbed on occasion. And it has comforted temporarily. But here I am still – processing the same deep pain.

Maybe it’s a testing? To teach me to seek full-heart comfort instead of full-belly comfort?

On the brighter side – because of the mental and physical changes I’ve adopted this year, my splurges are far less ‘splurgy’ than past splurges. Like a handful of chocolate chips rather than a large chocolate peanut butter brownie milkshake from Sonic.

I  know it’s a fairly short update, but emotional anemia makes it difficult to communicate well. This is what I have to offer. And I offer it in hope that maybe one other person out there can be comforted by simply knowing they are not alone in the struggle — can say, “me too.”

“Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why have you become disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 42:11

This is the truth I am attempting to feast upon as my source of full-heart comfort. Will you join me at the table?


It’s been a few weeks since I have written an update on my health journey. I guess the primary reason is that not much has happened.

I weighed in again today, as I do every Wednesday, only to find I’m stuck at the same weight I’ve been at for the last three weeks.

It’s most frustrating this week because I took some extra steps toward healthier eating (like not eating after dinner) and being more active. In my mind that all should have added up to some small result on the scale. But it didn’t.

As I contemplate this, I’m reminded of other areas in life that I get frustrated by lack of results, too. Parenting – I can speak the wisest words to my children, but they won’t necessarily heed them. Friendship – sometimes my investment never is reciprocated. Even cleaning! – I can clean for an hour yet still be dissatisfied because it doesn’t stay clean for longer than a day around here.

So, I’m tempted to ask myself, “Why keep trying?”

I keep trying because the unseen results are far more valuable than the seen. The obedience I am learning, the ability to say no to cravings, and the peace and comfort that comes with filling up on God rather than on food – All of these things are conforming my inner self into the image of my Savior.

Whether my outer-self will continue to change, that remains to be seen.

So, I’m not on a diet. I’m on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness. ~Lysa TerKeurst Made to Crave

My result this week wasn’t what I had hoped for. But, it led me to inspect the more beautiful and lasting results this journey has wrought in my life. In recognizing those results, I’m motivated to keep trying and to endure – to pursue holiness in every area of life.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

1 Peter 1:14-16

Faulty Feelings

Today, my feelings deceived me. As I woke this morning, I groaned at the thought that today was Wednesday – Weigh-In day. I certainly wasn’t feeling any lighter than last week; truth be told, I felt as if I had gained a couple pounds.

Did I really have to weigh in today?!

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve committed to report my weigh in to my Facebook group of friends joining me in this journey, I would probably have stayed home from the gym and opted for sugary cereal instead of the scale and exercise.

So I went (out of obligation), exercised, sighed heavily, and stepped on the scale.Up went the numbers as I barely dared to look down at them. Then they stopped. Two pounds shy of last week. Really? I looked stared. It was true! I was down two pounds!!

And yet an hour earlier I was convinced I had gained two pounds. My feelings deceived me.

Had I listened to my feelings and stayed home and overindulged, I would never have felt this victory and probably would have packed on a pound instead.

Today, the truth was much more pleasant than the lie I started to believe.

But sometimes, the truth is much harder than a lie.

Like when I’m feeling good about this health journey and weigh in only to find I’ve gained a pound. Then there’s that other pesky lie I’ve caught myself believing on this journey – the lie that blurs grace and overindulgence. It tells me to give myself a little wiggle room, to give myself some grace and not be so ‘legalistic.’ But the hard truth is that giving myself ‘grace’ is just a nice sounding way of excusing my overindulgence.

Overindulgence is overindulgence. And limitless indulgence in food always has consequences – it compromises our health, diminishes energy to pursue our calling, and affects the way we feel about ourselves, just to name a few.

~Lysa TerKeurst from Made to Crave chapter 13

So today I’m reminded that on this journey toward health and victory (both spiritual and physical), I, we, must always come back to what is true, no matter how painful. Because our feelings are often full of faults, and even full of lies. They will lead us astray if we follow them. The only trustworthy guide is the Truth.



I want to walk in your truth. Walking – it requires movement and initiative. Help me to move in Your Truth and to initiate pursuit of it through study of Your Word. Help me discern between feelings that come from lies and feelings that come from Truth. Help me to stay the course in pursuit of physical health, but even more help me stay the course in pursuit of spiritual health. Thank you for these bodies you have given to us; may we please You, and not substitute You, with them.

Tame the Crave – Flimsy Joy

It’s been three weeks since I weighed in. A trip to the other side of the world and back convinced me to take a hiatus from the more intense aspects of my health journey. Today I’m back at it.

I cringed at the thought of stepping on the scale this morning; I didn’t want to face the potential results of my time away. The number that greeted me was not as dreadful as I had imagined.

After three weeks, I weigh the same. What a relief!

I tried to be sensible while traveling, but I also splurged on a few different things. So this result is very encouraging.

I do wonder why, though, it seems harder to maintain a healthy weight at home than while abroad. Why didn’t I gain weight from my splurges? And I only exercised once the whole trip!

I’ve learned a few things about myself as I ponder these questions:

1. Much of my temptation comes from the fact that I spend significant amounts of time in the kitchen preparing food for my family. Food is always within reach. When I was abroad I was rarely hanging out in the kitchen – someone else prepared the food and I ate at mealtime. If I got hungry I ate a small snack. This always-in-the-kitchen struggle is one I don’t yet know how to overcome. What do the rest of you homemakers do to avoid this temptation?

2. Seafood is good for me and you. I ate more seafood in two weeks in Okinawa than I have eaten in the rest of 2016. And my body and my taste buds love it. It’s too bad seafood is so expensive where I live. However, incorporating a bit more into my diet would be well worth the expense – it’s a healthy splurge :).

3. When I’m on mission and investing in something bigger than myself, my food desires fade. When I’m finding joy and motivation in doing kingdom work, I don’t crave the flimsy joy of food. In Okinawa, I was so focused on the ministry at hand, that I only thought of food when the hunger pangs called.

Providentially, the chapter I’m working through in Made to Crave this week ties in perfectly to this last point. Lysa talks about where we find our ‘happy’ – is it in our pant size or in our Savior? She emphasizes that all of us are incomplete, and it’s hard sometimes to deal with other incomplete people. But when we derive our joy from Jesus instead of junk food or even our successes, we can love other incomplete people.

The bad news is, we’re all incomplete people. The good news is, Jesus loves incomplete people. And He wants us to know we can have complete joy by being secure enough in His love to reach out and love other incomplete people. – Lysa TerKeurst

She goes on to encourage ‘afternoon acts of kindness’ as a way to show love and also avoid the temptation of unhealthy food. She encourages these things in such a warm and loving manner, but there is a stinging truth behind it all that I am beginning to understand.

There is a connection between my overindulgence and my self-centered tendencies. Think about all those excuses we use to give in to unhealthy things, whether food or otherwise. I’ve earned this. I deserve it. It will make me feel better. I am the center of all these excuses. Is it possible that I’m loving myself and my body more than I love Christ and His Body?


Maybe this is partly what Lysa was getting at, maybe not. But it’s what’s getting at me.


I want to be so filled with Your love and Your joy, that my own desires and pleasures become light as a feather and float away. I want to be so consumed with Your work that my temptations toward unhealthy indulgence are only whispers, no longer screams. Help me to see that even the little mundane tasks of the day are service to You and service to Your people. Help all that I do be for You only. May Your thoughts become my thoughts. May You increase and I decrease.