Monthly Archives: June 2011

My Top Ten of Lately…

ALOT has happened. People everywhere. Brother’s wedding. People gone. Working, working. Trip to Vail. And finally, home. Kinda feels like letting out a breath you’ve been holding in for a week. Aaaahhhhhh. Yes.

I would like to tell you everything that has happened over the past week and  a half, but I won’t. You’re welcome. Instead, here’s my top ten favorites of lately...

1. My brother’s wedding. It was just the best, and I got to be a bridesmaid for the first time. I think I’d just like to sign up to be a bridesmaid in people’s weddings as a career. Any takers?

2. Cake pops. Not the fakey Starbuck’s kind, but the moist kind with cake and frosting on the inside. My baker cousin made them for the wedding. Changed my world.

Definitely making some of these soon.

3. My new Lulu Lemon clothes. I splurged. I don’t feel guilty. Its really a wonderful thing.

4. The Help. I have been reading this book the past week and a half. It’s awesome y’all. If you need a summer read, pick this.

5. Hempz lotion. I got it in my bridesmaid gift. Its divine and works wonders on my ashy Colorado hands.

6. Homemade Hawaiian Pizza (courtesy of my Rachael Ray mag). My parents and I made it on our vaca to Vail. We made it with real ham steak, fresh pineapple and mozzarella, and great crust. I never want to get delivery again.

      

7. Horse. Yes, just one horse. My horse John that I rode in Vail this weekend. After traumatic past experiences on horses, he is the only one I will trust.

8. Cinnamon Raison Ezekiel Bread. This is not a new thing. We have had a relationship for quite a while now. But in all the hustle and bustle lately, there have been lots of breakfasts out to eat, and I just missed it a lot. My family and I kind of have this problem where we go to sleep excited about having our Ezekiel bread with almond butter and jelly in the morning. If you’ve ever tried it, you should know what I’m talking about. Anyways, we were happily reunited this morning, and I decided it deserved a shoutout for being so wonderful.

9. Segways. Always wanted to ride one. Rode one along the river on Vail Mountain. Gotta get one.

10. This whole wheat pancake from Butterhorn Cafe & Bakery in Frisco, CO. Topped with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, walnuts, and powdered sugar. Changed my worldview on pancakes. That’s for sure.

 

It’s been a wonderful week and a half. But real life isn’t so bad, either. Breeeeaaatheeeee.

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Wedding Week.

Its wedding week! 

I wish I could say it was my wedding week, but, sadly, I can’t. I probably wouldn’t be blogging about muffins and my new outfit if it were. But it is my brother’s wedding week! So I can.

We have been waiting for this week for quite a while, and its finally here! The family and friends start flooding in today, and we can’t wait to part-ay.

 

I LOVE WEDDINGS!

Because I love to see two people so giddy in love.

Because everyone knows that you must look at the groom’s glowing (with joy and sweat) face as his bride walks towards him.

Because the bride always looks so beautiful and reminds you of your girlish dreams of your wedding day. 

Because you get a free party.

Because you get free food (and cake!)

And mostly because you get to buy a cute new outfit to wear to the wedding. Its kinda a rule.

But since I’m a bridesmaid, I didn’t get to pick out my own outfit. I get to wear a pretty eggplant purple dress that makes me look like a Greek goddess. (Or as close as I’ll ever come to one.)

But I did get to buy a new outfit for rehearsal morning and the rehearsal brunch. And it makes me happy, so be happy with me for a second and tell me its cute. Even if you don’t think so. K?

I am going to accessorize with a cute darker pearl necklace and cute sandals. I would just like to note also that everything  was on sale. I love the J Crew Outlet. It is my weakness.

Aside from my cuteness brunch outfit and being in a wedding for the first time, I can’t wait to be with all of my family and friends celebrating my brother and the love of his life! We have quite a few personalities coming, so this should be fun (:

Here we goo.. Da dun da dunn! (Sung to the tune of the “Here Comes the Bride” song, not the creepy horror movie song.)

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Peach- Pecan Streusel Muffins.

If you read my father’s day post, you know I made these little morsels for my dad on Father’s Day. Here’s the recipe!

They were delicious. They tasted like little peach cobblers. For real. And who doesn’t LOVE cobbler? Please.

Ingredients:

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I did half all-purpose/ half whole-wheat to make them a little heartier)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

2 medium peaches, diced

For the Pecan Topping:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted butter

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Combine topping ingredients until mixture is crumbly; set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together butter, buttermilk, and egg in a separate bowl. Stir wet mixture into the flour mixture and blend just until moistened. Fold in diced peaches. Spoon into muffin cups; sprinkle evenly with topping mixture.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely. Enjoy!

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Daddy’s Girl.

I am definitely a daddy’s girl.

 Let me tell you something about my dad. The Lord sure knew what he was doing when he put me in my family.  I can be stubborn and hard-headed and determined despite other’s annoyance. I have given my parents more than enough to worry about in my short 20 years. And I tend to dream big (which usually includes a hefty amount of finances). I am NOT an easy child by any stretch of the imagination. But if a daughter has ever experienced love from her father, it would be me.

My dad has loved me when I surely didn’t deserve it. He has encouraged me after I snapped at him. He has shown me new things, taken me to other countries and continents, encouraged passions in me for people and life and the Lord, and has stuck by me without hesitation when I have hit rock bottom. He has never doubted the Lord’s hand in my life, and a trusting father who trusts in the Father is the greatest gift a daughter can receive. Today on Father’s Day (and every day) I am so thankful for my dad.

If you are reading this, Dad, I still mean what I wrote in the gift we gave you on your 40th birthday. “When I grow up, I want to be just like you. Except for being a girl.” You are an example to me day in and day out. I love you and Happy Father’s Day.

I hope you all had a chance to celebrate your fathers today. Here’s how I celebrated my dad today:

I baked Peach- Pecan Streusel Muffins the night before so he could wake up with some love and deliciousness:

We went to Wahoo’s Fish Tacos for lunch with my brother and his fiance. (That’s where the top picture is from.)

We took him golfing. He rocked it:

           

      

  

(And I took some pictures of my own on the course.)

Then we went to my dad’s cousin’s for a great dinner and time with family.

It was a great day to celebrate my dad. I hope he felt so loved. Thank God for fathers!

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Two Summer Suppers.

Summer is here! I guess its not officially until June 21, but the weather is officially summer weather, and that means time for fun summer suppers on cool summer nights with the summer playlist playing and some good ol’ backyard football. There’s nothin’ like summer nights. Can I get an ‘Amen’?

 

Anyways, I’ve tried a few new recipes this week and found two that you just gotta try. They are summery, really flavorful, and super easy to make!

Here’s the first (and my new favorite!):

Spinach Artichoke and Tuna Tortellini: 

Note: This is probably my new favorite recipe! It was SO good. Bursting with flavor and a great combination. Make it. You know you want to. Props to Rachael Ray for this one. 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1 box (10 oz.) organic frozen chopped spinach
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. cheese tortellini
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichokes in water, drained
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 can (5 oz.) line-caught tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Directions:
  • Defrost the spinach in the microwave, wring it dry and separate the leaves.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain and let cool.
  • In a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, and butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the artichokes and spinach; season with a little salt and pepper and a hint of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Add the tuna and pasta to a bowl. Top with the spinach and artichokes. Dress with the lemon juice and thyme. Serve or refrigerate for later.
And here’s number 2 (SUPER delicious as well!):

Shrimp Avocado Salad:

 Ingredients:

  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined (or 12 pre-cooked cocktail shrimp… I used cocktail shrimp. I am not a cheater.)
  • Splash of lime or lemon juice
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash of salt and black pepper
  • Vinaigrette of your choice (I used a delicious Alpine Avocado Vinaigrette.)
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 1 cup corn (canned, frozen or fresh from the cob)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • You can also add black beans and garbanzo beans. They were in the original recipe.
Directions:
  • Lightly coat a pan with cooking oil over medium heat.
  • Place the shrimp in the pan and add a splash of lemon or lime juice, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt & pepper.
  • Cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side until the shrimp turns pink.
  • Remove the shrimp from the heat and let them cool. (The shrimp can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated. You can also use pre-cooked cocktail shrimp to save time.)
  • Toss all of the ingredients with the salad dressing.
  • Serve the salad immediately or let it chill in the refrigerator.
There ya have it! Now get summer cookin’ and take advantage of these beautiful summer days and summer nights! Nourish your heart and your body and enjoy some time with your family and friends over some delicious food!

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The Healing is Beautiful.

I wish that you could have been in church with me this morning. My family was gone today, so I went alone. But instead of being lonely, I had a moment with God. God always knows, doesn’t He?

We’re going through the book of Mark, and today my pastor spoke about the healings by Jesus that take up a third of the entire book (so they’re obviously very important). There was so much said that I would love to share with you, but this is the part that got to me. You can be cured and not healed. And you can be healed and not cured. When Jesus cured 10 lepers in Luke 17, only 1 returned to Him to praise Him for what He had done. It was only then that He said to that man, “Rise and go, your faith has made you well.”  The whole story is about 9 men who were cured and only 1 who was truly healed.

We hail doctors and nurses and researchers for finding cures to all the awful diseases and illnesses that hurt us and the ones we love. I speak from experience when I say-  Praise the Lord for the gift of doctors and medicine that He has given us! But Paul, the greatest evangelist to ever live, tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 that his thorn never left. He was never cured. He could have been angry with God and said, “Lord, I want to do great things for You. Why won’t you just make me feel better so I can?!” Sound familiar? But he doesn’t say that. Instead he says,

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (vs. 9-10)

Paul was not cured. But Paul was healed. Paul was sick, but he was whole, and he was delighted. He had a relationship with Jesus that he wouldn’t trade for all the health in the world.

Like I’m sure many of you, I have had a physical and emotional thorn for quite a while. I have been cured, only to be knocked down again and again by sickness and the devil’s schemes. The devil will settle for me being cured and physically healthy, but he does not want to see me healed because that would mean HE LOST. But finally I see that JESUS IS MY HEALER, and He is healing me from the inside out. What a long journey of ups and downs it has been, but how necessary it was. I have learned the difference between being cured and being really healed.

Don’t get me wrong, curing and health is so so important and necessary, but I LOVE and NEED the healing so much more. He is binding up every broken part of me and drawing me closer to Himself every day in such a real way I can hardly stand myself. I can finally say that I delight in my weakness and in my sickness because the healing would not be necessary without it. And the healing is SO BEAUTIFUL. I wouldn’t trade my thorn for the most beautiful rose in the garden. But the thorn has to be attached to something. Thank God its a rose. Don’t focus on the thorn so much that you miss the radiant rose its attached to.

I found myself with teary eyes at the end of church thanking the Lord and saying,

What a new heart You are giving to me!

What a new and intensely satisfying intimacy I have with You!

What LIFE You are giving to me!

Your grace is not simply sufficient, Lord,

Your grace is MORE THAN ENOUGH.

Friends, whether you or a loved one is suffering with illness, addiction, or emotional struggles- Healing is available. Jesus is here. The kingdom is near. Do not stop praying for a cure. Do not stop striving for health. But, I beg you, don’t neglect healing. It will be more beautiful than any cure anyone could ever find.

Sorry for the length of this post, but my moment could not go un-shared. Bless you for reading. Now go enjoy the sunshine and some Jesus!

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Homemade Granola Bars

Something you should know about me. I love granola bars. I think I would rather get an Easter basket full of yummy granola bars and fruity bars and chocolate bars (especially chocolate) than an Easter basket full of candy and bunnies. My stages of life are marked by my current granola bar brand. That is potentially embarrassing, but they are good stuff, fellow snackers. I trust that you won’t judge.

But I have a problem. I eat them so often that I get tired of the same ones day after day. Thankfully, there are a gajillion different kinds of bars out there so I have plenty variety to choose from. Some of my favorites now are Earnest Bars, ProBars, and the good old Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars. They are all delicious and nutritious and come in loads of great flavors!

What’s on the top of your awesome bar list? Comment with your favorites and I’ll be sure to give it a try!

Anyways, yesterday I ran out of my last Earnest bar and didn’t want to go to the store, so I decided I should make my own. It was also another excuse to get some photography practice. I adapted these bars from Marci Gilbert. They turned out great. The only thing I might change is adding a little more cinnamon and maybe a little honey. The fun thing about them is that you can make them your own. Add chocolate chips, different kinds of fruit and nuts, coconut, or whatever else you like!

Homemade Granola Bars:

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used craisins and golden raisins.)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In two separate bowls, mix wet and dry ingredients. Pour wet into dry, mixing until combined. (It will look kinda soupy, but no worries- the oats will soak up all the milk in the oven!)
  • Pour batter into a square baking dish lined with parchment paper. I used 9 x 9.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool, then cut them into bars and serve!
Refrigerating them is probably the best way to keep them. Put the ones you’ll eat soon in the fridge and you can freeze the rest. They are delicious alone, but even better with some peanut butter or almond butter slathered on top! Enjoy!
My aunt also made some KILLER butterscotch cookies, so here’s a picture of those. I can’t even tell you how wonderfully mouth-watering our kitchen smelled.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
– Psalm 34:8

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