6.21.2014

Saying Yes to God


It seems about time to share a bit more of my personal journey these days.  About my faith and about saying yes to God.

Earlier I spoke about not sharing our personal story on here and there are parts that will remain unknown for the sake of privacy and family matters but there are parts which I want to share and feel like I should because once again, I think God's asking me to.

His voice was heard one day in the shower- about the only time my mind is somewhat clear and focused.  He was asking me to say yes, to ask my mother-in-law to come stay with us and more importantly to not ask Him for how long.

I have a toddler.  I know how annoying whining can be when we ask for things we can't have the answer to and so I knew whining to God would be similar- pretty annoying.  I needed to trust my heavenly Father with the answers when He wanted to give them to me.

My mother-in-law was at a cross roads.  She wasn't sure where she'd be living once my sister-in-law got married in January and she needed to be near good medical care given her history of a massive brain bleed and now current seizure disorder.  We had a newborn and toddler and before this conversation in the shower with God I had considered our house to be an option that simply wouldn't work.

But then God reminded me of the Bible.  He reminded me of the faith I claimed I had- about the Spirit He has given me to do much more than I can do on my own- about the truth that I am to walk by Faith and not by Sight.

And so I said to my husband...

"I think we're supposed to invite your Mom to come stay with us- and I don't think we're supposed to ask about all the stipulations..."

I kept thinking, "Did Noah say, 'ok God I'll build the boat but how long is that going to take? and how long will it rain? and how long will we be on the water?"  I don't think so.

Time and time again we read in the Bible about people who say yes and then go.  We don't read about their whining and foot stomping and kicking and screaming.  Even at 30 I could be tempted to do so in my heart when asked to do something hard.

"Go sell everything then come and follow me..." Matthew 19:21

Sure- sounds easy enough.  Not a problem, God.

Growing up I had high hopes that I would say Yes to God- whatever you want Lord, no problem.

But saying Yes is sometimes hard and when I did Satan was quick to come into my mind telling me I'd never have time with my family again, that we'd never this and that etc etc etc.  He still comes in and tells me these things in hopes of discouraging me.

And yet, I said yes and was at peace with it.  My husband said yes and was at peace with it.  We said yes and are trusting God.  It's not easy, but it's what we are called to do right now, not asking God about His time frame of what this all will mean for us next month or next year, but trusting Him today and praising Him that He has gone before us.

As my pastor growing up said and a phrase that often rings true in my ears now "Our times are in His hands..."

6.20.2014

green goddess ranch dressing


We have a lot of "what's in the fridge" meals these days.  I always seem to get to the store days after I really need to be there.  That said I kind of love looking in the kitchen and coming up with a meal when it seems like we have nothing to eat.  Some nights that means a salad with grilled chicken that's been thawed from the freezer topped with whatever veg I can find and of course this dressing.

After I made this once I decided I needed to make sour cream a most definite refrigerator staple.  If you're not into that but have greek yogurt on hand I'm sure it would work just fine too.  Since we have chives on the porch and everything else seems to be a staple (milk over buttermilk) this is another winner in my book.

I hope you make it and enjoy!

Recipe thanks to Mad Hungry

Ingredients You'll Need:
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • buttermilk or milk
Place all ingredients except for the milk in a mason jar and shake.  Pour milk or buttermilk so that it's a pourable consistency or keep it thicker for a dip with veggies.

Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Simple and delicious.

6.19.2014

8 freezer to slow cooker meals




There's a saying that "something's gotta give..."  If you're a Mom you know this very well.  It doesn't take long in motherhood to resign to the fact that something has got to give.  I've written before about not letting myself go, and this isn't about that, but this is about how cooking has had to change a bit for me these days.

With Tucker taking two naps now and Anderson still taking his solid afternoon nap the time before dinner is play time and now 5:00 dinner time.  Both boys are hungry as Tucker wants food now (and lots of it) and then it turns quickly into 6:00 when it's bath time and soon bedtime for Tucker.  Benjamin is then home or on some nights in class so dinner needs to be done or have very little steps if we're going to eat anytime before 8:00.  This nursing momma can't really stand to wait that long as I find myself much like a cranky toddler when I'm hungry and so I've turned once again to freezer meals but this time freezer meals that are thawed and dumped into the slow cooker in the morning.

We all know I like spending hours in the kitchen and would love to make my own pasta if I could but that's not my reality right now.  Right now I'm working with what I've got and found these few recipes to offer some good vegetables, health, and sustenance for our family.  I've even made them a few times now.

I got these recipes after seeing this blog post.  Here you go- hope some are keepers for you as well!

Because I usually don't have hours on end to assemble these all I get the ingredients and know I will be able to get them all in their bags and into the freezer (we just got another fridge/freezer for fee!) within a few days before items go bad.

The day before you're going to make the meal take it out of the freezer so it can start to thaw- or if you're in a pinch just put it in warm water for a bit so you can them pour it into your slow cooker.

Also, sometimes the bags seem too full.  If this is the case omit adding the broth and just write on the bag that you need to add the broth on the day you cook it.


Tortilla Chicken Stew
·      1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts (or about 3-4 depending on size)
·      1 (12 oz) jar of salsa
·      1 lb frozen corn
·      1 lb mixed bell peppers
·      6 corn tortillas, ripped or shredded by hand
Cook in slow cooker for low for 8-10 hours.
Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Chicken Taco Chili
·      1 onion, chopped
·      1 16 oz. can black beans
·      1 16 oz. can kidney beans
·      1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
·      10 oz. frozen corn
·      2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
·      1 packet taco seasoning
·      1 tbsp. cumin
·      1 tbsp. chili powder
·      3 chicken breasts
·      Chopped cilantro
·      Chili peppers (optional)
Cook in slow cooker on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

BBQ Chicken and Veggies
·      2 green peppers, chopped
·      1 red pepper, chopped
·      1 zucchini, chopped
·      3 onions chopped
·      6-10 red potatoes, chopped (depending on size and how many will fit in 2 bags)
·      4 garlic cloves, chopped
·      4 chicken breasts
·      1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
·      1 tbsp. brown sugar
·      1 bottle of BBQ sauce
Split ingredients into two bags.
Cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours
Recipe adapted from Mama And Baby Love

Minestrone Soup
·      1 red onion
·      4 cloves of garlic
·      1 small bunch of chives
·      1 medium bunch of basil
·      3 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
·      1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
·      2 32 oz. cartons of vegetable broth
·      6 large carrots
·      1 lb. zucchini
·      1 small eggplant
·      2 15 oz. cans of kidney beans
·      1 lb. frozen peas
·      1 lb. frozen corn
·      ½ lbs. mushrooms
·      5 stocks of celery
·      2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Chop vegetables and herbs. Divide among 3 bags for 3 meals!  Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add dry pasta noodles during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Recipe adapted from The Gracious Pantry

Southwestern 2 Bean Chicken
·      4 chicken breasts
·      1 15 oz. can pinto beans
·      1 15 oz. can black beans
·      1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
·      1 lb. frozen corn
·      1 12 oz. jar of salsa
Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
Recipe from The Gracious Pantry

Turkey Chili
·      1 lb. ground turkey
·      10 oz. frozen corn
·      1 yellow onion
·      28 oz. diced tomatoes
·      16 oz. tomato sauce
·      4.5 oz. chopped green chilies
·      15 oz. red kidney beans
·      2 tbs. cilantro
·      2 tbs. chili powder
·      1.5 tsp. red pepper flakes
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe from Once A Month Meals

Teriyaki Chicken
·      6-8 boneless chicken breasts
·      1 cup teriyaki sauce
·      1 cup water
·      2/3 cup brown sugar
·      3 cloves of garlic
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Ashley Noel Barnes

Sweet BBQ Chicken
·      4-6 chicken breasts
·      12 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce
·      ½ cup brown sugar
·      ¼ cup vinegar
·      1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·      1 tsp. garlic powder
Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Recipe adapted from Ashley Noel Barnes

6.18.2014

watermelon + feta + arugula salad



I've been missing this space a lot recently.  Missing the creative outlet it is and the fun that it brings me to share a slice of life on here.  Life has remained busy and full but I want to get back, so here I am in a moment when I should be showering or changing laundry...I'd rather blog.

I want to tell you about some recipes that are bringing me comfort this summer- summer comfort food perhaps.  Recipes that are real winners- foolproof- and have made it to several dinners and picnics so far and the kids aren't even out of school yet where we live.  Why?  How?  It seems cruel to them and even more cruel to this mamma who loaded everyone up for the pool yesterday to learn that it wasn't opening tip 3:00 because kids were still in school this week!  It's 100 degrees outside- let it be summer!



This recipe here hails from Bread and Wine and is adapted some from me.  I had it first at our supper club and like I said have made it several times since.  The items can easily be picked up from the store and the dressing ingredients are likely already in your house.  I tweaked it a bit given time constraints but every time it turns out great.

Bringing it to a picnic?  Simple chop everything and separate the ingredients out in zip locks that just need to be poured out and assembled at your host's house in their own salad bowl leaving them with the leftovers to eat up while doing the dishes, if there are leftovers that is...

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups watermelon, cubed
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 10 ounces arugula
  • 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I've done both)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Start by cubing the watermelon and toss it in a bowl with the juice of 2 limes.  You can allow this to marinate for several hours or just as long as it takes you to assemble everything else.

In a bowl toss the arugula with the red onion, feta and mint.

In a mason jar combine the juice of the other 2 limes, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  

Right before serving top the greens with your watermelon then your dressing.  Toss well and serve immediately.



5.27.2014

a season



Life has been very full these days.  My mother-in-law came for a visit, was back in the hospital, and will be with us for a bit as she recuperates.  It's been a season where I could write so much but I'm not sure how to write about it all so I suppose I haven't.  Even with that I'm not sure what more to say and so I'll just tell you that I want to get back to this space someday and share with you the great chicken we had this weekend or the chocolate bundt cake that I'll most definitely be making again.

I'd like to tell you about family and what's been going on but I don't think I can.  I wonder how people write about real life "stuff" on the internet without being misinterpreted, hurting someone's feelings, or just downright sharing too much information?  I suppose that's why people blog about fashion and food- safe topics.

I'll be back with food and maybe some fashion- my attempts at taking care of myself and dressing better that is.  Until then, thanks for your patience.  The boys are growing, the days are full, and I apologize that this space right now is not.


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