the diets fail.

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I was in the third grade when I realized I was fat. Since then, I've bounced up and down like a yo-yo. But I've discovered one thing about wearing my struggles for the world to see...

This post originally appeared on my old blog in 2012.  Let’s remind each other to keep our eyes on the prize. Jesus. Not a smaller pants size. 

I was in the third grade. It was right after Christmas vacation and I had to wear the dress one more time. Purple velvet, with a silk sash. I loved it. So maybe it was getting a little snug but I didn’t care. One more time. The sash kept untying and I’d ask my teacher to fix it for me, over and over again.

Finally she said “maybe if you hadn’t eaten so many cookies at Christmas, your dress would still fit and the sash would stay tied.”

In front of the whole class. Loudly.
It was then that I first realized I was fat.

Continue reading “the diets fail.”

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Fruit Dip

I love entertaining and having people in my home. And I really love easy, delicious recipes that I can serve to all the people I like having in my home. Apples are in abundance during October and November in New York. But what if you don’t have time to bake something? Make this dip. It takes all of 5 minutes to whip together, can be served right away (although I recommend letting it chill a little), and tastes good on a variety of things.

What you need:


1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup of brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 hefty teaspoon of cinnamon

{That’s it!}


Whip all ingredients together until creamy. Cover and refrigerate until serving.


If you’re serving a medium to large crowd, I would definitely recommend doubling or tripling this recipe. You can serve with apples, pretzels (because sweet and salty? yes, please.), graham crackers, pears, the list goes on and on.  I love that this dip isn’t too sweet and doesn’t contain any artificial-y ingredients. Marshmallow fluff freaks me out a little, honestly.

What would you serve with this brown sugar cinnamon dip?

Corn & Bean Salad

One area of this website that is still quite neglected is the recipes. I love to cook and usually do so for a good-sized crowd. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at food photography. So you’ll have to trust me a little.


This salad is delicious. Crisp, spicy, a bit sweet and so fresh. It is perfect with barbecued meat and so easy to toss together. It’s vegan and gluten free as well! This corn & bean salad makes enough to generously feed my family of six with leftovers. I don’t have step-by-step photos but there aren’t many steps! Here they are:

Corn & Bean Salad

9 ears of corn, shucked and lightly brushed with olive oil

3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 an onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

the juice of 2 large limes and 1 lemon

5 teaspoons chili powder

3-5 teaspoons cumin (all depends how smoky you want your salad!)

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a hearty handful of each cilantro and parsley, chopped

— Char the corn just until there are some grill marks. You can do this outside on the grill, on a griddle inside or even in a skillet.

— Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl while the corn is cooling.

— Remove the corn from the corn cobs by standing them on end and lightly running a knife down it. Add the corn to the salad and mix very well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

— Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

I think this salad would be great with some chopped avocado tossed in. Someone also suggested adding mango. Yum!

What’s your favorite summer salad?

My Favorite Things: Coffee

I have lots of opinions. If you know me, you’re chuckling right now because that’s really an understatement. I have tons of opinions! So I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you in a new series on One Redeemed Mom.



Every couple of weeks, I’ll share some of My Favorite Things with you. The first edition? Coffee. No surprise there. I have four coffee related items that are my favorite. So if you don’t like coffee, this might be a bit boring for you..

Favorite Thing #1 – The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew coffee maker. My hubby surprised me with this on Christmas morning after my not-so-subtle hints for weeks. The FlexBrew, as the name implies, brews coffee in different ways. You can brew a whole pot, schedule a pot to brew, use a k-cup or the included reusable one-cup filter to make one cup of coffee at a time. Granted, I’ve only been using this for a couple of weeks but I love it. The only downfall, if you can even call it that, is that you have to add water each time you want to brew a cup of coffee. There’s no reservoir, like in a Keurig. I don’t even really think it’s a bother, because if you use your coffee mug to measure the water then the FlexBrew will fill your cup perfectly every time. With a Keurig, I had a hard time getting a full cup in some of the bigger mugs we use.

Favorite Thing #2 & 2.5 – Confession time first. I don’t always drink expensive, whole bean coffee. I drink a lot of coffee. There’s no way I can afford the really good stuff all the time. My coffee of choice for every day may surprise you. First, for k-cups, I love the Maxwell House House Blend. They are a nice medium roast and they’re affordable The ground coffee that I really like is the Donut Store blend from Aldi. Seriously, you should try it. I told you it was surprising! I’ve tried lots of ground coffee and this one really is great.

Favorite Thing #3 – When I do want a really, really good cup of coffee I use my Clever Coffee Dripper. It makes an amazing cup of coffee and it’s relatively easy to use. While you do have to play around with measurements until you get them right, it’s worth it. I don’t have time every day to brew all my coffee this way but it’s nice for special occasions. It’s small enough to store away for when I’m not using it and affordable enough that I don’t feel guilty just keeping it the cabinet for once-and-awhile use.

Favorite Thing #4Church and State Coffee. I don’t see my favorite roast on their site right now but it’s all good. Exceptionally good coffee, actually. So yes, I know the owners and their families. But that has nothing to do with the coffee! And some money from each pound of coffee you purchase goes to an affiliate organization that you choose when you check out. They are all pro-life organizations that are doing great things. So not only are you getting great coffee, you’re supporting some great organizations as well.

So there you have it! Edition #1 of My Favorite Things! What other topics would you like to see featured on My Favorite Things?

The Best Pizza Crust

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There are people in my house that can be a bit picky when it comes to food. So when I found this pizza crust recipe (no idea where I found it now), I tripled it and wrote it in my recipe book. It comes out great every time and the picky person in my house comments every time on how good it is.

The Best Pizza Crust

2 1/4 tablespoons yeast
3 cups warm water
7 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose)
3 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons oil (I’m sure there is some smarter equivalent for this)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine yeast and water, stir well. Add in honey salt and oil, mix. Then add in flour and mix with wooden spoon until it pulls together. Then knead until it’s a soft, workable dough. I don’t ever knead this for very long, no more than a minute or two. Add flour if needed.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Then split into three sections. This makes three large pizzas. Sprinkle pizza pan with cornmeal or cooking spray. Pat dough out to desired thickness. Top as desired and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Our favorite pizzas are currently white garlic sauce with crumbled sausage and broccoli or oil and garlic with crumbled hamburger topped a mix of mozzarella and cheddar. And there is of course meat lover’s pizza. There is always meat lover’s.