Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simply Sweet Sunday Ingredient Challenge #3: Beets!

Time for challenge number three! Yipee! Things are still going strong and I'm just loving sharing this with everyone. The other gals and I are truly enjoying talking about our time in the kitchen with one another.

I'm out of town today, so I set up a linky just to make sure that everything was linked to without my help... Please feel free to enter your delicious little number on here!

Now, to my recipe!
Citrus Beet Ginger Salad

  • 2 bunches beets (about 5 or 6 medium beets)
  • 3 tangelos 
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Drizzle of olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 f. 
  2. Cut the beets in half and then slice the halves into quarter inch thick slices. 
  3. Place the sliced beets in a glass baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. 
  4. Cover the top of the pan with tin foil and place in the oven. 
  5. Let cook for 40 minutes or until the slices are tender to a poke with a fork. 
  6. Remove from oven and let stand until cool. 
  7. Drain juice into a medium bowl. 
  8. Add the 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and ginger to the juice in bowl and whisk. 
  9. Peel the tangelos and break in half. 
  10. Slice halves in quarter inch slices.
  11. Place beet and tangelo slices in a large bowl. 
  12. Pour dressing mix from step 8 over the beets and oranges. 
  13. Enjoy! 
And the challenge for next time (due on May 15)... 
Now, it's not so much about finding a new use for hummus, 
but instead, making your own hummus recipe! 

I have fallen head over heels for all of the amazing hummus they have at the local farmer's market and decided why not try it myself! Plus you can use many types of beans to make it! 

Now, before I sign off...
Share your beet recipe with us!
Beginners who were worried about the challenge being too tough, this is the perfect one for you! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fancy Friday... Stagecoach edition!

This weekend my Mama Bird and I are off to Stagecoach, a HUGE two day country concert extravaganza just over an hour from my hometown... I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am. So excited, in fact, I'm going to spend my entire Fancy Friday talking about the fanciness I feel for Stagecoach!

Hanging out with Mama Bird all day
(just wait for the ridiculous pictures!)
The amazing line-up
Sleeping in with no boys playing loud movies in the mornings. 
Giggling to sleep much too late at night. 
Riding matching John Deere beach cruisers with baskets. 
My cowboy boots. 
(rhinestone cowgirl anyone?) 
Driving Daddy's truck to ensure our cowgirl street cred. 
A cold beer on a hot spring day in the heat stricken area of Indio. 
Laying out by the pool. 

And we are off! 
See you all on Sunday with ridiculous stories and pictures I am sure!

(on a side note: I promise next week is going to be a better blogging week... 
I have lots of ideas and no time to put them out there for all of you!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Guiltiest of Pleasures

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is your 
Guiltiest of Pleasures!
No matter how much you might be ashamed to share, 
you know that you're not going to stop enjoying them. 

I know it's a little bit late, I totally apologize, 
I've sort of fell off the face of the blogging planet, but I'm back!

1. Microwave popcorn. 
2. The Real Housewives of Orange County. 
(so stupid, so stupid, yet faithfully DVRed)
3. Thick-cut French Fries. 
4. Sleeping in. 
5. Any Seth Rogan movie. 
6. Bud Light Lime.
(Yep, I'm a really cheap date!)
7. A good police show. 
(Cops, Jail, Lock-up, I don't discriminate)
8. Skyburger, my favorite iPhone app. 
9. A juicy issue of People, Star, or Us Magazine.
10. A good chocolate chip cookie. Or two. Or three. 

Now it's your turn to share!
What are your ten guiltiest pleasures? 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Dearest Jesus

My Dearest Jesus, 
On this Saturday, sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I write to thank you.
Thank you for taking on the burden of the cross. 
Thank you for entering into a physically and relationally painful state to save me, an unworthy soul. 
Thank you for holding me in the palm of your hand through all of my mis-steps and sin. 

On this Saturday, sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I write to thank you. 
Thank you for your great love for me, a love unmatched by any other.
Thank you for making Sunday a day of great glory with your resurrection. 
Thank you for all of the difficulties you endured to ensure eternal life for me. 

On this Saturday, sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I write to thank you. 
Thank you for taking on the wrath of your Almighty Father, unlike any other would. 
Thank you for your power that is matched by your amazing grace and mercy. 
Thank you for loving me as your own, for creating me perfectly for your plan. 

On this Saturday, sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I write to thank you. 
I write with a heart overflowing with awe in considering the horrid crime you endured. 
I write with a heart breaking for the hate put upon you by your friends and enemies alike.
I write with a heart overwhelmed by your love despite my obvious sins. 

Thank you, not only for enduring the crucifixion, but equally as important, for the resurrection. 
Thank you for choosing to give me much more than my unworthy self ever deserves.
Thank you for expecting my best, but embracing and forgiving me at my worst.

My dear Jesus, thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Promise to Make Your Day!

You know when you have one of those no-good, too-long, can't-it-end-yet, kind of days. Well, I have found the cure-all for such LONG moments in life.

Meet Molly and Bennie. Doesn't Molly's sweet laugh make you forget about any and everything else that makes you grumpy? And their shared love for bubbles just makes me smile.

Please enjoy... And share with the grumps in your life!

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Did Jesus Do?

As a child going to church as a family was an important Sunday morning activity. I would head off to class with one goal in mind: learn what God was teaching so I could share with mom and dad. (Yep, I wasn't so into real live application yet) One Sunday in particular, I remember proudly wearing a woven bracelet home from Sunday School and giving my parents a lesson on what Jesus would do.

For years, or maybe more like decades, I spent so much time thinking about the ways that I was not honoring Jesus. I wasn't doing what he or His Almighty Father would want me to be accomplishing. And that led to lots of frustration. Until this past week, something clicked. I got it. Jesus doesn't want me to dedicate all my time worrying about what he would do, but instead he wants me to lean into what he did do.

In taking on the cross, Jesus overcame the finality, the everlasting damage of death and rendered it harmless. Upon the cross, Jesus cleansed our pained, sinful souls restoring their utmost beauty and splendor. Conquering the cross shifted the world's paradigm: Jesus redefined strength, transformed power, muted death, healed sorrow, and radicalized love.

But did Jesus do all this with a worry about us being more like him? Nope. He did this out of his unending, undeniable, unfathomable love, mercy, grace for us. Jesus didn't take on the cross to weigh us down, to sink our already waterlogged ship, instead he conquered the cross to show us his undying love for us.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30 

God didn't sacrifice His only son out of pity for us. He understood the reality of the situation, we were lost, sinful souls who needed a savior, who needed His son. It's not about our works or becoming perfect, it's about leaning into the love, grace, mercy, wonder, righteousness that was granted to us upon the cross. We must stop working so darn hard to get Him to love on us, and take in what is already there for our enjoyment.

The gift God gave us of His beloved son on the cross centuries ago was unprecedented. He unleashed His immeasurable wrath upon His own child to ensure life unlimited to the children who acted in direct defiance of Him. Oh, how He must love us.

As Easter nears this Sunday, remember we are here. We are here for a reason. But we are here only by His unending grace and mercy. Remember what Jesus did for us and enjoy it. Don't worry about all your shortcomings and failures (God knows how many times I've listed every time I've disappointed myself), but instead focus on the wholeness, the forgiveness we have because of His amazing son, Jesus.

Happy Easter Season my dear friends!
I hope you can receive the amazing things Jesus did just for you. 
Enjoy this time with family to realize oh, how He loves you.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Simply Sweet Ingredient Challenge: Coconut Oil

Two weeks ago I posed my second edition of the Simply Sweet Ingredient challenge... Coconut Oil! I had to think hard about what I was going to do with this one, but it ended up being perfect. I made one of my favorite things to eat ever, granola! (and it turned out so wonderfully!)

Please note: It yields a WHOLE HECK of a LOT, so please find someone to share with! 

Coconut-Almond Granola
  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds 
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut 
  • 1/2 cup agave (you can use honey instead if you want) 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  1. Turn on the oven to 350 f. 
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over the stove. 
  3. Mix together the oats, almond slices, and shredded coconut in a bowl. 
  4. Once the oil is melted (since it starts in a solid) add the vanilla, agave, honey, and spices. 
  5. Stir all of the oil and spices together then pour over the dry ingredient mixture. 
  6. Spread the coated oats in a baking pan and place in the oven. 
  7. Stir every 7 minutes.
  8. Let cook until it's baked to your liking.
  9. Enjoy with almond or soy milk! 
Now, the other lovely gals that took part in this challenge: 

Zoe with her Chicken Masala

And for the next ingredient challenge due in two weeks... 

This one's due in two weeks on May 1st! 
Please let me know if you're interested in participating... 
It's soooo much fun and I promise there's no pressure! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Absolutely Honored!

Yesterday was one of those days where I was just in a funk... I couldn't seem to be able to shake it. Last night I got home to be greeted with two awards from two blogs that I absolutely adore! Compliments are always so sweet, but when they come from someone you truly appreciate and admire they mean so much to me!

First, one of my favorite Mama bloggers, Brandi of My Amazing Life as a Mommy and Wife, gave me the versatile blogger award. Brandi finds a way to blog consistently, stay at home with her kiddos, and take pictures of all that comes with life along the way! She always has a kind word to leave in comments... So go show her all the love she deserves!

The way the Versatile Blogger Award works: 
1. Link back to the blogged who awarded you with much thanks! 
2. Share seven (versatile) things about yourself. 
3. Award five versatile bloggers you love. 
4. Contact your winners and share!

Without much further ado, here's seven versatile (maybe I mean more like random!) facts about me: 
1. If I was going to be a singer, I'd want to be a country girl with major spunk just like Miranda Lambert!
2. I desperately want to write a book that people actually read.
3. I'm a running addict. No joke, it makes me crazy to see runners and not be participating.
4. I have a little red glass rooster (or as my mom and I affectionately call him, The Cock) that I take places and take pictures of him, then send to my mom... For example: 

5. I'm a sucker for anything that needs organizing... as in, I love to clean and organize. 
(Weird? I know.)
6. I like my girly writing. J hates it. 
(He says it's impossible to read... At least I don't write like a five year old. My writing is like fine wine, an acquired taste!)
7. I grew up around construction... And can't imagine life without the smell of dirt, tractors, and hard hats. 

And my big versatile blogging buddies: 
1. Angie at Oh, How Delightful
2. Bonnie from My Whim Wham Life
3. Leigh at Very LoveLeigh
4. Mackenzie at Design Darling
5. Sarah at Cubicle Sanity

Yay for versatile bloggers! 

And from a very dear foodie friend of mine, Zoe over at Runny Yokes are Better shared the Sisterhood of the World of Blogger Award with me! Zoe is sharing her laid back approach to the cooking and the simply, but so savory, dishes that she's making daily in her kitchen! I can't tell you how many of her dishes are on my To Cook list! And check out her stellar recipe for the Simply Sweet Ingredient Challenge!

And here are the rules for the Sisterhood Award: 
1. Link back to the blogged who awarded you with much thanks! 
2. Share seven things about yourself. 
3. Award five new bloggers you have recently discovered. 
4. Contact your winners and share!

So, seven more things about me: 
1. The first night J and I hung out I truly thought he was interested in my best friend... 
Thankfully, he later made it obvious he wanted to date me! 
2. I am the queen of underestimating myself... But this leads me to always be impressed by my strength!
3. I'm allergic to milk, but haven't always been. I contracted a nasty stomach virus in high school... 
4. The idea of spending the rest of my life with J makes me nothing but joyful. 
I hate when people ask if I'm nervous, then say I'm being insane when I say no. 
5. I have a staring problem. When someone is acting odd, I can't help but stare. J often has to call me on it... Maybe one day I'll be ok to take out in public. 
6. Adopting Baby Bear made my family complete. Life wouldn't be life without him. 
7. This is Pennie Pickle. I adore everything about her ridiculous self. 

And my new blogging friends in the Sisterhood of Blogging!
1. Fran at Free Borboleta
2. Megan at Mackey Madness
3. Em at Today's Letters
5. Bo-Nan at Cape Cod Collegiate

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Me as a Soaked, Seeping Sponge


"And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, 
but for him who died for them and was raised again." 
-2 Corinthians 5:15

At church on Sunday the pastor gave an amazing message about the radical love of Christ and the way we, as His children, are called, asked to love as He did, radically. He went on to illustrate the way the character of a Christian is revealed through the toughest of tribulations we face. 

He said, "When life gets tight and we are squeezed, what comes out of us?" 

Being a kitchen loving gal, I could only think of my pretty pink sponges. When I'm done cleaning the kitchen and the sponge is water logged, I am sure to squeeze out the excess water so it doesn't get stinky. Sometimes, I'm surprised at the color of the liquid that spews from it's pores. For example, today I roasted beets. That magenta color they are known for leaked out onto my counter, so I wiped it up thinking nothing of it. After dinner, I squeezed hot pink water from my pink sponge, a pleasant surprise. But sometimes, nasty brown water comes out. And I want to puke knowing that dirtiness came from my seemingly clean counters. 

I found myself wondering, when life squeezes me out to make sure I don't get stinky inside, does something pretty and pink come from inside me as a result of my loving self, or does brown nastiness spew out grossing out others (and myself)? 

With the grace of God, I am working towards the pretty pink liquid, spewing out love and grace, mercy and patience, self-control and gratitude when life calls for anything but such lovely things. It's not easy, in fact, I'm sure if you squeezed me tight enough right now something closer to brown would flow from deep within me, but I'm trying and, for me, that works. God doesn't need my pretty and pink, but He asks me to work towards it in order to glorify the great works He is baking within my little soul. 

"For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "yes" in Christ. 
And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God."
-2 Corinthians 1:20

What would be squeezed out of your sweet spongey self? 
Is it pretty and pink? Or stinky and dirty like me?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Kitchen Tools

This week is a week of kitchen love! Many of my blogging friends love to cook and share amazing recipes... But it's the tools that make a kitchen of amazing value.

So this week it's time to share your favorite kitchen friends! 

1. My pink kitchenaid. Duh! 
2. My Food Network magazines. 
3. A good slow cooker. (Nothing beats a crock-pot on BUSY, BUSY days)
4. My J.A. Henckels knife block.
5. Hand lemon juicer. (My popsicle gave them to me)
6. My Built ny lunch box. 
Isn't it cute?
7. Pyrex pans with snap on plastic lids.
8. Spatulas. They are the all around perfect kitchen tool. 
9. My meat thermometer. 
Makes baking and grilling a no guessing kind of game. 
10. Pink sponges. 
They make cleaning a more joyful experience!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Drippy Drop, Drippy Drop

One of my all-time favorite worship songs is "Ancient Skies" by the Michael Gungor Band. I listen to worship and country while I'm running... This song seems to beg me to play it over and over. I always get caught thinking, repeating, meditating (and not in the ommmmmm kind of way) over the lyrics.

"You're amazing. Creation cries, so will I, You're amazing." 

As I listen to the sweet melody of the Michael Gungor Band, I can't help but think about all of the things in God's green earth that scream of His glory. In fact, while I'm running, I often think about the way my body is a wondrous tool He so perfectly created. The complexity of the human body is far beyond my capacity to comprehend, but I'm going to share the amazingly orchestrated process behind an uncontrollable bodily function: sweating. Yep, I'm writing a God blog about sweating.

Don't you wish your back looked this good?
I do too!
Have you ever considered all of the process behind the thin layer of water that covers your entire being when you're working out really hard? Me neither. Until Michael Gungor got me thinking. In order to sweat a person needs to raise their core temperature enough to set off the sensors in the thermosensitive neurons found in the preoptic and anterior regions of the hypothalamus. This little bundle of neurons then sends a signal to the sweat glands found all over the surface of the body, that it's time to drop the surface temperature in order to cool the core. Whoa. Yep, all that, just for the watery stuff that keeps you cool.

Now, I'm not going to end it there. You see, humans and horses are the only mammals with the capacity to sweat in extreme amounts. God made us special. We don't pant like dogs because our bodies air condition through water evaporation. And the actual contents of our sweat... That's a whole other kind of awesome.

Lactate, the chemical that makes muscles sore after a really tough workout, is excreted in our sweat. It's not just salt and water, it's chemicals that are not necessarily helpful in recovery from an intense workout.   Also, the composition of sweat acclimatizes... Yep, when you're sweating in the heat it emits a different "recipe" of sweat than in mild warmth or cold. It's complicated. And, not that you should skip sunscreen, but sweat has an anti-ultraviolet radiation protection component to it.

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can see his invisible qualities -His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." - Romans 1:20

Sweat isn't just a random function of the body. In fact, it's a perfectly orchestrated cooling mechanism God equipped our bodies with. Think on Him in all the little things that your body is constantly doing for you... Do you ever think about how to sweat, or make your heart beat, or to digest your favorite sweet treats? Nope, I didn't think so.

Take a moment to appreciate the amazing tool that God gave you in your body today. 
When you're pushing your body... Whether it be to chase that little one down at the park, or lift that last box into the new house, or with your trainer who hasn't an ounce of mercy, think about the gift He created so carefully, so well-thought out, just for you.

And finally, the topic for tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday:
Favorite, Couldn't Cook Without, Kitchen Tools! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Waffles

Last weekend J called early on Saturday morning and asked what my plan was for the day. I was so sore from my training on Friday that I said I was just going to lounge and eat breakfast... Then we quickly decided it would be fun to have waffles! So these puppies were born. 

Whole Wheat Banana Oat Waffles with Fresh Berries

These are hardy little buggers, so you'll be a lot fuller than you originally think when eating waffles!

  • Krispies Whole Wheat (just add water) pancake mix
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 carton raspberries
  • 1 carton blueberries
  • 1 carton strawberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  1. Prepare the Krispies pancake mix as directed on the box. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats and stir into batter.
  3. Cut the bananas into slices and add one to batter and another to an empty bowl. (J likes his crushed, but I prefer them not, do as you wish!)
  4. Fill the waffle iron with batter and let cook. 
  5. While the waffle is cooking, wash the blueberries and raspberries and add to the bowl with the banana. 
  6. Slice strawberries and add to the berry-banana mix. 
  7. Stir the 1/4 cup powdered sugar into the berries and squeeze lemon juice into the bowl. 
  8. When the waffle is done, remove from iron and douse with berry-banana goodness! 
  9. Enjoy! 
J adds a little protein to his meal by sprinkling bacon bits into the pan over the batter. I'm not a huge fan, but he gobbles it right up! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Fancies!

I tried this out last Friday and people seemed to love it... So I'm going to go for it again. :)

I want a puppy. Specifically one of these... 
I'd name it Stitch.
My wedding dress... Don't you wish you could see it? 
Weekends at home with my sweet family. 
Running miles and miles with Mama Bird. 
Text messages. 
(not my texts)

My NIV and Message side-by-side Bible.
My studio apartment where everything is just where I left it. 
Planning my dream wedding with my dear J at my childhood home. 
Country Music... Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Sugarland, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, ... I'm not picky!
(and that my mom and I are going to the Stagecoach festival at the end of the month!)
Shows like Cops, Jail, Locked Up, and Prison Wives. 
(I got it from my Popsicle)
American Eagle jeans. 
Sanuk June bugs. 
Wearing workout clothes to the small office I work in since I'm on the phone all day. 
My pink hard hat. 
(I work in construction and have to be site ready!)
All the sweet words you all leave for me. 
(My heart feels so encouraged through it!) 

What do YOU fancy this Friday my friends?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Call the Movers, It's Time to Relocate!

Lately I have felt like I'm just not on the same page as God. 
Like He has plans that He's not letting me in on. 
With it being His fault for keeping secrets, I find myself creating a distance between us. 

Lately I have felt like my prayers are falling on the deaf ears of a busy God.
Like He has greater fish to fry, so I fall to the wayside. 
With it being Him whose schedule is so full, I find myself giving up. 

Lately I have felt like the words in my Bible don't contain the life they once seemed to have.
Like He has stopped breathing His ever-powerful spirit into me. 
With it being Him who isn't blessing me with His spirit, I find myself distracted. 

Lately I have been letting go. 
Like I'm a slacking student who doesn't care about the lessons from my teacher. 
With it being my fault for being lazy, apathetic, stubborn, thick-headed, 
I need to move, relocate, find a new, more humble posture. 

It's all too easy to get involved in a cycle of laziness, of apathy, of indifference. 
God has blessed me with a big lesson: 
If I'm not feeling close to God, guess who moved? 
(Easy answer here: it's me.) 

So I'm moving. 
Somewhere in a better place with Him. 
I have no reason to be a big blamer, instead, I must grow myself, my walk, my trust. 

I want to grow my God section on here. 
He is what makes life simply sweet.
And I want to share His blessings with you. (Please stay tuned)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stylish Sister Over Here!

It never fails, when I get an award I'm so pleasantly surprised... Especially when it's the Stylish Blogger Award because anyone that sees me on a regular basis knows that style isn't really something I can brag about having! Thank you to my dear new friend Mrs. G from My Amazing Life as a Mommy and Wife.

The rules of the awards are as follows: 

1. Link back and thank the person who gave it to you. 
2. Share 7 things about yourself. 
3. Award 5 stylish blogs you read. 
4. Contact them and tell them about their award! 

And my seven facts:
(I'm trying my darndest to make them new and exciting!) 

1. I run like mad in order to keep myself sane. 
2.  Grocery lists and shopping are one of my favorite things to do. I know, insane. 
3. I want to have a house full of chaotic kids. It's been a life long dream!
4. I drive a stick-shift. My dad taught me on a hill and I thought we were going to die. 
5. I truly love a good afternoon nap. 
(although I hardly ever have the chance to take them anymore)
6. I am dying for a puppy. I literally am brooding over a puppy.
(J says I have to wait for us to have a house)
7. I truly believe flats are more becoming than heels. And more comfortable too!

And my blogging friends who I'm honoring with this award: 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday #2: Summer Fun Edition

This week's Top Ten Tuesday asked for your top ten
favorite summer activities.
With all the summer weather in spring, this seemed so appropriate.

1. Watermelon galore.
2. Swimming in the pool to escape the heat.
3. Visiting the water park with my family.
4. The Temecula Fourth of July Parade
(I love everything about July 4th,
but there is something about being in the parade that makes the day magical!)
5. Tan lines.
6. Eating dinner outside on the shaded patio while the sun is still up.
7. Starbucks Venti Passion Teas.
8. Early, early morning runs to beat the heat followed by an afternoon nap.
9. Sandy, salty beach days.
(I love the shower afterwards equally as much!)
10. Hamburgers hot off the grill.
(you're going to be seeing LOTS of hamburger recipes this summer, I just LOVE them!)

What are you Top Ten Summer Favorites?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feijoada (Brazilian Beef Stew) and Top Ten Tuesday Topic #2

In February, J's step-brother returned home from his two-year mission in a remote village in Brazil. A few weeks after his return he said that he really truly was going to miss the amazing food they made there. Like a sign from an all-knowing God, Cuisine at Home's February issue included a recipe for Feijoada (pronounced fay-ZHWAH-duh), or as we call in it English, Brazilian Beef Stew. I was nothing short of amazed with how delicious it was, and J couldn't have been happier with all the meat found in it. What a protein packed Latin delight!

 Without any further ado, here is the recipe!

  • 2 pounds of beef, cut into about 2 inch chunks (a lot of time you can find this pre-cut in the meet department)
  • 1 pound kielbasa (or one package)
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil (veggie works, but it's not as healthy, remember?)
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed (it says to puree one, but I didn't and it was so tasty!)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Rice (optional as an accompaniement)
  • Jalepeno slices to garnish
  1. Season each side of the stew meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the two Tablespoons of oil to a skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Once the oil is hot brown the beef.
  4. Transfer the beef to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up the excess oil.
  5. Slice the keilbasa into 1/2 inch thick sections.
  6. Brown the keilbasa and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. One the meat is done browning, slowly whisk the orange juice into the skillet while scraping remnants off the bottom of the pan.
  8. Combine the onions, garlic, tomatoes, beans, and chili powder in a slow cooker.
  9. Add beef and kielbasa.
  10. Add orange juice and pan juices mixture.
  11. Stir the contents of the slow cooker and make sure the meat is coated.
  12. Cover and cook on high for four hours or low for 6 hours.
  13. Add vinegar when the cook time ends.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.
  15. Cook rice as directed on the package and serve over or under the stew. (It's your choice here!)
  16. Garnish with jalapeno slices for a little added flavor! (I did and loved it!)
  17. Enjoy!
Simply Sweet Note: This will yeild extras, so enjoy again for lunch at work the next day (or two!).

And last, but NOT least, the Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week!
Things to do on a sunny day!

Since there's so much nice weather going on right now, let's channel summer in spring time!
I'll post the link up at midnight tonight (since it's technically Tuesday then!) and leave it open all day tomorrow!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Simply Sweet Sunday Ingredient Cooking Challenge: Kale

Yay! It's been two weeks since I posted my last ingredient challenge... And here is the fruits (or maybe veggies is more appropriate!) of our labor! I had four people participating this time (a couple forgot their kale at the grocery store, so next time!) and I'll link up to them in this post after I finish my recipe for you!

Kale Sausage Lasagna with Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
  • One package of spicy Italian sausage (or sweet if that is more your style) 
  • One bunch of kale
  • One jar of sun-dried Alfredo sauce
  • Two tablespoons of tomato paste
  • One clove minced garlic 
  • 1/2 of a white onion, minced 
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 package of whole wheat lasagna noodles 
  • 2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350f. 
  2. Boil a pot of water and cook the lasagna noodles until just tender, not completely done. 
  3. Drain noodles and run under cool water. Set aside. 
  4. Boil sausages in a pot of water until cooked through, about 12 minutes. 
  5. Remove from water and slice into 1/2 inch thick coins. 
  6. Remove big stems from the inside of the kale.
  7. Place two tablespoons of water in the bottom of a frying pan and toss kale inside of it. 
  8. Taste with salt and pepper as you like. 
  9. When kale becomes warmed through and tender, remove from heat. 
  10. Mix Alfredo sauce, garlic, onion, and tomato paste in a sauce pan. 
  11. Stir over medium heat until well-combined. 
  12. Spray inside of 9x9 pan to prevent sticking. 
  13. Cover bottom of pan with a layer of sauce. 
  14. Layer with noodle. 
  15. Layer with ricotta cheese (you'll need to use a spoon to spread it around). 
  16. Layer with sausage coins. 
  17. Layer with sauce. 
  18. Layer with kale. 
  19. Noodles. 
  20. Sauce.
  21. Ricotta. 
  22. Sausage. 
  23. Kale. 
  24. Sauce. 
  25. Cover the top with the grated mozzarella cheese. 
  26. Cover the lasagna with tin foil. 
  27. Cook lasagna in the oven for 40-45 minutes (or until cheese is melted and bubbly). 
  28. Let stand for five minutes before serving. 
  29. Enjoy! 
And for my favorite part, the link up!

And our next Simply Sweet Sunday Ingredient... 
Coconut Oil 

This can be found in your local grocery store's organic foods section. 
The oil has MANY health benefits: 
It's high in saturated fat which is good for athletes and also great for baking. 
(that's the good fat, remember?) 
It has wonderful heat tolerance so it'll withstand a greater temperature than other oils. 
It's also great for your hair and skin! 
My jar of it says to put it in your hair for an hour and wash out for moisturized clean hair!
If you're a baker, this one's right up your alley!

The next Simply Sweet Sunday Ingredient Challenge 
will be due on April 17th. 
Can't wait to see what my new friends come up with! 

Are you interested in joining? 
Leave a comment or send me an email and I'll fill you in! 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Meet My Mama Bird

I have someone I want you to meet. She's so special to my little heart, so near and dear to every day in my life, so sweet, kind, and graceful, but strong with the heart of a lion. Who could be this phenomenal?

My dear Mama Bird. 

Over the last two and a half years my Mama Bird has fought, not only for herself, but for the love of her life, my Popsicle, and for the family that they have so perfectly created. She has fought against the indifference of a dozen doctors, the mystery diagnosis that seemed as though it would never come, and doubters who were sure her intuition was wrong.
Mama Bird isn't just an amazing woman of God with the grace of an angel but she also trumps the strength of a 20-foot bear. She doesn't just make wondrous dinner for all when the house is flooded with guests, but she also manages to teach us kids how to love being in the kitchen just like she does. Most Stay at Home Moms put up their list of "occupations" talking about being a teacher, a nurse, a mediator, an advocate, a financial analyst, an advisor, and the list goes on... Well right now, my mom is literally doing it all.
She is nursing my father back to health in a brutal fight against Lyme's Disease through daily infusions and constant maintenance of his PICC line. She is battling health insurance after their denial of my father's illness. She is advising me on my journey to become a wife. She mediates between a rambunctious, although adorable, eight year old and a slowly healing husband. She is managing the businesses her once thriving entrepreneurial husband started and ran. She is teaching us kids to grow, not only in our maturity, but in our faith in a great and always strong God. 
Mama Bird isn't just taking care of the logistics at home, but she tops it all off being more fun than any other mom could be, especially in the two-year long pickle we are currently experiencing. She not only keeps old traditions alive, but manages to make new ones on a regular basis. Her joy is contagious. I can't count the number of times people have said they don't know how she does it. She does it because God has blessed her with immense strength and power, despite her small frame. 

You can see the amazing words, recipes, and adventures of my Mama Bird just like you see mine by checking her out here. I promise you will be blessed... Probably much more than you will reading through my posts. 

Who blesses you, inspires you, amazes you?

Friday, April 1, 2011

What I'm Fancying this Friday!

Friday seems to be a casual time... Offices that require you to wear fancy clothes accept jeans. Instead of cooking dinner it's time to go out on the town and get some fun time in... If the week has felt particularly long you can always take the day off, why? Well because it's Friday of course!

So this very lovely Fri of a day, I'm going to share why I fancy...
Thus, Fancy Friday!

This might be something I make regular, but don't quote me on that one yet... sort of depends how it goes. 

When I don't bit my nails because they are painted and pretty.
My new graduation present watch.
(It's so shiny!)
Nap time, it doesn't happen often, but when it does!
Yay for warm weather, I love it!
Hard workouts that make my body exhausted.
Running before the sun is up.
(it's hot I tell you!)
A funny April Day today!
A sweet book club.
A God who never fails to amaze me.
Fresh fruit from the Farmer's Market.
My engagement ring.
(I've had it for four months, but can't get enough of it)
Dinner with family to remind me where my heart is.
(on walls, on clothes, on bags, on shoes... I just fancy them)
An alarm that rings to remind a new day is here!
My dear J.
What a good looking chap!

What do you fancy this Friday friends?

(I have a heartfelt post and a new award in line to share... Holy smokes life IS so busy!)