Monday, September 16, 2013

happy birthday, David!

I absolutely love birthdays. I love to celebrate, whatever the occasion, but birthdays are my very very favorite. It’s one day a year to make a huge deal about someone, to shower a person with love, prayers, and gratitude for their awesomeness. It’s a perfect day for good food, best friends, great drinks…and cake. I haven’t wished one of my favorite people in the world “happy birthday” in 5 years and although this feels vulnerable, and maybe even a little silly, I decided that it’s time to start celebrating him again. Sixteen days before his 23rd birthday we lost our David. Most people who read this blog probably know or know of David, but in case you don’t, David is my mom’s youngest sister’s son.  He is 9 months younger than me making him my “closest in age” cousin, and therefore a built-in best friend. When his parents died, my parents adopted him, so when I was 12 he became my brother.

Dave, you would be 28 today. If I could have it my way, you’d be coming over for dinner. I’d make you spaghetti and homemade meat balls, we’d have a craft beer, and I’d make you a salted chocolate caramel cake (that’s Ryan’s current favorite and you all are so similar it’s scary, so I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’d love it too), and of course you’d make me laugh until I cried. So much has happened since August 30, 2008…you’ve missed out on a ton. I married Ryan and we moved to North Carolina. I finally have a job I like. Carrie went to grad school in New York, bought a house, and is a dean and literacy specialist at a charter school in Houston…and a badass like usual. Layne is married to Mollie and moving to Dallas soon. Christian is about to finish college at A&M (you guys are also so similar!). I’m going to see Papa & Kitsie in a couple weeks. We put an offer on a house. Life is so full of joy. I wish you were a part of it all.

I miss you from my core and still feel disappointed that I don’t get to have it “my way”, but thankfully I can say with a ton of confidence and peace that God is good and that I know Him in a deeper way now than I did 5 years ago.  It comforts me to know that your body and mind are healthy and at peace now. My hope is that you’re celebrating your birthday in heaven today. Hopefully you have a guitar, mountain bike, and Lord of the Rings series up there…and maybe even some chocolate cake.

I love you! Happy 28th Birthday, David!!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

summer vegetable bake

Thanks to a new CSA-type thing that I joined 
(Homegrown Grocery---> 
and to my friend Nicole's garden, 
I may never have to grocery shop again :) 

Slight exaggeration, but I am so excited about all my fresh, 
local, organic produce, milk, eggs, homemade granola, etc... so fun! 

We're having this vegetable bake for dinner tonight, so it may be risky to post this before I eat it, but what could go that wrong with these ingredients?!

-a couple yellow squash
-a couple zucchini
-an onion 
-a few tomatoes
-2 cloves garlic
-red pepper flakes
-parmesan cheese 

Mince garlic and a little bit of the onion. 
Spray bottom of small baking dish with cooking spray and sprinkle a little bit of the
 diced onion and minced garlic along the bottom. 
Slice zucchini, squash, onion, and tomato thinly. 
Arrange vegetables in pretty rows, using whatever pattern you like.
 I did zucchini, squash, tomato, onion. 
Sprinkle the remaining garlic on top along with some sea salt, pepper, a few dashes of dill and red pepper flakes. 
Drizzle lightly with olive oil. 
Bake at a 400 for about 30 minutes covered. 
Uncover, sprinkle some parmesan cheese (or another cheese if you'd prefer) on top and bake uncovered for about another 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and it looks cooked and delicious. 

enjoy! :) 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

BBQ Chicken Quinoa

This is a fairly quick and very healthy summertime meal. 
It's great for dinner and almost better for lunch the next day. 
You can change it up or add more stuff to it if you'd like. 
Might be good with shredded carrots, peas, tomatoes, etc...

Happy cooking to you:) 

1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used organic white)
about 2 cups frozen organic corn
about a handful of snap peas, cut in half or thirds
about a half of a bunch of green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 chicken tenderloins, boiled and shredded
 BBQ sauce (I used Annie's Naturals 
Organic Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce from whole foods)

1. Boil chicken 
(bring water to boil, add salt and pepper, 
drop chicken in and let cook for 4-5 minutes. 
remove from water, cool, and shred)

2. Cook quinoa according to package 
(usually 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water. bring to a boil then cover, 
reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 10-15 min. fluff with a fork when done)

3. In a sauté pan at about medium heat add a drizzle of olive oil, 
add minced garlic--watch it so it doesn't burn 

4. Add thawed corn and cook a few minutes

5. Add chicken, cook a few minutes

6. Add snap peas and green onions, cook for a few minutes 

7. Add chicken and vegetables to quinoa and add BBQ sauce  to taste (a little at a time so it doesn't overpower it)

8. If needed add s&p and/or more bbq sauce 

Garnish with cilantro. 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

light creamy mushroom soup

I think by now you know how much I love soup. 
I love mushrooms almost as much. 
I don't love really thick, overbearing soups though...
this one is perfect. 
Even the "carbs-loving" husband of mine asked me to make this again. 
Spring is almost here. 
Try this before it's too warm. 
Texas may already be too late for you. (turn on your AC and make it anyway)

I'll post a fish taco recipe soon to commemorate the beginning of spring. 

2 c mushrooms, roughly chopped 
(use a variety. i used half cremini, half baby bella)
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T butter
1 T fresh thyme (or 1 t dried)
2 bay leaves
1 t worcestershire 
1 c broth
1 T flour
sea salt
1 c fat free half & half
dash nutmeg
ground pepper
fresh parsley or thyme, for garnish

Heat oil in saucepan. Add butter and lightly sauté garlic on medium hear.
Add mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves, and worcestershire. 
Cook about 5 minutes.
Gradually add in broth, stir occasionally until boiling.
Reduce and simmer 10 minutes.
Add flour and stir until it thickens. 
Season with salt and nutmeg. 
Taste and adjust seasoning. Add "cream" and bring to simmer.
Turn off heat. Add pepper and stir. 

Garnish and enjoy :) 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Baked Oatmeal

My Mama's Baked Oatmeal. 
Mostly guilt-free comfort food in the morning. 
Yes please! 

3 apples, peeled and cubed (about 1/2")
brown sugar
3-4 bananas, sliced in about 1/2" chunks
2 c blueberries
1/4 c honey or agave
2 c uncooked oats
1 c toasted walnuts, optional
3/4 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 c brown sugar
pinch salt
1.5 c milk
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Heat oven to 375. Lightly spray 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray.
Toss apples in dish with sprinkle of cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar. Bake for about 8 minutes.
Layer blueberries and bananas with apples.
Mix oats, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt together. Pour over fruit.
Mix milk, eggs, honey, and vanilla together. Pour over oats and fruit. 
Sprinkle a few additional walnuts and blueberries over top and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until set, bubbly, and slightly browned on top. 
Serve warm. 

Could be prepared the night before then baked in the morning. 

enjoy :) 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Crockpot Coconut Ginger Curry Chicken

This crockpot recipe originally
 called for a lot of prep work, pre cooking, etc. 
I'm not into that when I'm using a crockpot....
so I added (almost) all ingredients at once and it turned out great. 

It serves a lot of people! 
I made this for our "small group" of 12. If making it for fewer people, 
consider halving the recipe.

4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks 
2 handfuls sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
1 can baby corn, drained
3 T olive oil
2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts 
2 cans lite coconut milk
1/2 t pepper
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1.5 t ground turmeric
1 t salt

Set baby corn, snap peas, and red bell pepper aside.

Add all other ingredient to crockpot and stir thoroughly. 
Cook on low 4-6 hours. 

Add bell pepper and corn with 1 hour cooking time left. 
Add snap peas for last 15 minutes of cooking time. 

Serve over brown rice or quinoa.
Garnish with green onion, cilantro, or crushed peanuts. 

enjoy :)