Big Changes and Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Boy, how things have changed. And boy, how things change so quickly. I was flipping through our wedding pictures just minutes ago. It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t even two years ago that I said yes to the man beyond my dreams. Three years ago I had no idea who this guy was, and now I write this with our daughter napping on my chest. When I think about how I would have planned my life, gratitude fills my heart for a God that loves so deeply to disregard our plans. This is something I need to constantly be reminded. The Hubs and I are always making plans for our future, only to see them change for the better. For instance, we’d planned three years between our wedding day and our first born. Ha. Some may blame it on birth control, or lack thereof, eh hem. I credit it to our good God. After all, I do not create life, nor can I prevent what He has ordained.

Amanda&ElsieBW

Just 6 weeks ago I was still making my way to work everyday, cooking dinner every night, and our apartment was clean. I’m sitting on our couch in the middle of a disaster area and dinner may or may not happen tonight. It is no longer me in charge of my schedule, but a tiny, although rapidly growing, baby. She says, “Wah” and I say, “Ok, forget the laundry. We’re cuddling and watching Downton Abbey.” I’ve watched way too much TV only because I’m truly stuck sitting on my butt, and I’ve yet to pick up a book from the pile I’ve been meaning to read. It’s a big pile too. I have, however, had the chance to cook some dinners, and try some new recipes. Many times this has been done with one hand, as the other had a baby in it. Note: It’s not the easiest thing in the world to cook with a baby in your arm, much less while breastfeeding. A 45 minute dinner can take an our and a half.

Last week a friend of ours was visiting from Oklahoma City. This happens to be the friend that introduced The Hubs and me. So this guy holds a special place in our hearts. Since he was going to be in town, we offered to make him dinner one night. This dinner was crafted all day, between naps, and at times with that single arm. This friend requested pizza with a cauliflower crust. We’ve made this a couple times in our house and each time it was never exactly what we wanted it to be. So, if I was going to make this for a guest, I needed to revamp the recipe. After doing some online digging, I contrived a recipe that was successful. One thing with cauliflower pizza crust, at least in my opinion, is that it doesn’t vibe well with your standard red sauce. Kale pesto, on the other hand, seems to be its best friend. The recipe for that to come in next post.

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

Adapted from The Detoxinista‘s version
Makes 1 small pizza
Ingredients:
4 cups cauliflower rice
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s–it’s one of my TJ’s staples)
1/4-1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour, more or less depending on wetness of the dough
1/3 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
1 egg
1/4 t salt
pepper
1 t oregano
Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

To make cauliflower rice, put the florets in a food processor and pulse until it’s grainy, not pasty.

This step is optional and adds a good bit of work, but I found it to produce a successful crust. However, if you’re strapped for time, don’t bother cooking the cauliflower. Bring an inch of water in a large sauce pot to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook for 4 minutes. Strain the cauliflower in a mesh strainer. After straining, transfer it to a fine dishtowel and squeeze out the excess liquid. You’ll be surprised at how much liquid is present. Combine the cauliflower, garlic, mozzarella, egg, flour, salt, pepper, and oregano to food processor and pulse until it’s just mixed. Be careful not to overmix.

Roll dough out with your hands into desired shape onto a parchment lined baking sheet. We always use a rectangular sheet so we end up with a rectangular crust. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown, not burnt.

Top the crust with pesto/sauce and your preferred toppings. We used sliced fresh mozzarella, baby bellas, sliced grape tomatoes, and dried basil and oregano. Place under broiler for 3 minutes, watching it carefully. Slice and enjoy!

Escaping Reality

Sometimes you just need to take a day off doing whatever the heck you want to do.  We’ll call it a mini vacation from life.  Because sometimes, in order to maintain sanity, you just have to escape from those things that can make you go insane quite frankly.  And maybe those things aren’t necessarily bad things.  Or maybe, to you, they are.  Regardless, we all need a break once in awhile.

We have this morning routine.  The Hubs wakes up first most mornings.  He preps himself for his workout, does whatever a man needs to do to get ready, and then he wakes me up.  Can I just tell you that as much as I do not enjoy an interrupted sleep cycle, being awoken by this man is one of the highlights of my day?  I remember, when I still lived at home, my sweet mother would wake me up with a fresh cup of coffee and a gentle, “Sweetie, it’s time to get up.”  By the way, nobody is too old for this type of wakening.  What could be better than that but sweet kisses and snuggles from the person you love more than anything in this world?  There’s a gentleness and a quiet that the morning holds that makes this that much more precious.  I know that these cherished a.m. cuddles will soon come to an end.  Pretty soon we’ll both be wakened by the hungry cries of a newborn.  And while I am looking forward to life with our baby girl, I will look back fondly at these sweet times.

Well, this morning even with a tender peck on the cheek from The Hubs, I just didn’t want to get up.  No, I didn’t want to face what the day could possibly hold.  Again, this wasn’t anything bad, just nothing particularly enjoyable.  And I was just ready for an enjoyable day off.  But here’s the deal with days off.  Sometimes you need days off to accomplish things, like cleaning house, or shopping, or baking, or appointments.  Other times you need days off to recuperate, to refresh, to learn to love life again.  Today was the latter, and for me this can’t happen on my own.  So with my cunning womanly ways, I convinced The Hubs that he needed a recuperative day too.  Honestly, all this took was a text that read, “I’m seriously thinking of calling in.”  I sent it during his workout, so I had to wait for his answer.  Just in case he wanted to play Mr. Responsible, I readied myself for a day of work.  But with his reply text came a sigh of relief from me.

So, while I write this, I sit across a coffee shop table (our favorite pastime) from my partner in crime.  And I wonder, how do I make this happen everyday?

Not too long ago, a friend and I were discussing what it feels like to be separated from your husband.  We both agreed that we find it strange when women rejoice at having a weekend free of their man, like they need a break from him or something.  I don’t like being separated for 9 hours of the workday or even a couple hours to run errands.  It’s like when we got married, somebody welded us together and to separate us takes pieces of ourselves leaving us rough and damaged.  It’s just not natural to take us apart.  I suppose that’s a bit dramatic, but when you’re in love, things are dramatic.  Delightfully dramatic.  Maybe I’m a little crazy, but I’d like to suggest that a little crazy in this culture that seeks to shape you is exactly what this culture needs.

So, a day off just wouldn’t be the day off I needed without my better half.  Today I’m encouraging everybody to practice a little bit of irresponsibility to nurture yourself and your relationships.  Keep the sanity by escaping from reality even for just the day.  People, this is encouraged by God Himself.  He knows it’s good for us to refrain from work.  We don’t have to feel guilty about taking care of ourselves.  That’s some backwards thinking if you ask me.

Return with Refreshment

It feels strange to put my fingers to the keys again, with creativity longing to pour out.  It’s been months since I last wrote anything, with the purpose of publishing it at least.  I’ve been so lax and uninspired.  There’s good reason for that, mind you, but still, I am hoping to return with more vigor.  I can’t promise more consistency.  That seems too committed a word for me right now.  But vigor, enthusiasm, even heart, I think I can manage.

You see, I have been tired and sick and taking many an evening nap for the past few months.  This is not my norm.  In fact, I’m not even a huge fan of naps.  However, it turns out pregnant me is.  Yep, I am pregnant!  16 weeks and one day to be exact.  And I have been at the beck and call of my body for the past 12 weeks or so.  I’m not looking for pity, but I can’t tell you how much I do not enjoy pregnancy.  True, it will be worth it once Baby Irwin shows his/her face.  For now, I am just not one of those pregnant-and-loving-it-women.  Praise the good Lord, my nausea has subsided considerably, and my energy is returning.  Not only that, but I’m finding myself desiring books and writing and podcasts and I even started my first to-do list in months.

So, with a refreshing hello to cyber space and an outlook that’s less than the dreariness I’ve been experiencing, I’m back in my writer’s seat and loving it.  Sitting next to me is a refreshing glass of water.  Miss Midwife instructed me to drink between 80 and 100 ounces a day.  Dude, that’s a lot of water.  So much in fact, that I’m probably not making the cut.  However, I’ve discovered something that’s making this task a little more doable.

A few weeks ago we made a trip to the Nashville Farmer’s Market and purchased the grass-fed/finished ground sirloin we like so much.  After the customary meatballs that must accompany this sirloin, The Hubs had a brilliant idea to make burgers with chutney.  We opted for mango chutney because mango in our household summons worshipful thoughts and praise to its Creator.  Well, it should rather.  Really, we just like mango.  A lot.  All of this to say, I had to purchase some fresh spearmint for the chutney and wasn’t going to let those beautiful leaves go to waste.  For one, nothing goes to waste in our house if we can help it.  And two, spearmint has a nostalgic scent and taste that takes me back to my grandmother’s dining room and fresh mint iced tea.

Since tea is out of the question (no caffeine for 9 months+), I remembered something a friend had done at a get-together once.  She had leftover lime and mint and decided to muddle it in some water.  With her as my inspiration, I did the same and have been drinking fancified water since.  At work, I’ve got green mint leaves lazily floating in my glass and find a sense of calm with that beneath my computer screen.

While it’s just flavored water, it’s a physical representation of how my life has taken a turn towards hope from despair.  From sick and tired to refreshed and reenergized.

For your own glass of summer refreshment:

Muddle two of three fresh spearmint leaves in the bottom of a glass.  (If you don’t know how to “muddle”, just take the end of a wooden spoon and beat up the leaves with it.)  Squeeze the juice from one wedge of lime.  Drop it in the glass.  Pour cold, filtered water on top.  Add ice if you’d like.  Maybe a straw.  And enjoy your fancified water!

It’s the little things in life, you know.

When Things are not in My Hands…and Meatballs

Isn’t it funny how events in your life all work together?  You check the bread in the oven just in time to save it.  You dial a friend’s number just as they are calling you.  You remember your concert ticket just as you walk out the door.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, orchestrating events that play beautifully into a work of art that leaves you in awe.  I’ve seen this throughout my life in much larger ways than just baking.  Today was a reminder of just that.

The Hubs left for a road trip with the guys to see a favorite band of his.  I was left at home to grocery shop and to spend some much needed time cleaning house and doing a little writing.  On the way to the store I thought I heard something go wrong with my tire.  “Oh great!  Perfect timing.”  I pulled to the shoulder, cautiously inspected each tire in the rain, and found nothing wrong with them.  Hmm.  Must have been hearing things.  I’ve been paranoid about my tires since I was told I needed a new set quite some time ago.  But with everything appearing kosher, I was off again to restock our fridge.

After a leisurely stroll around the store, I get home to an empty apartment that is definitely made for the two of us.  It may be small, but if feels way too big when he isn’t here.  You know, when you spend all of your time with one person, it leaves you feeling a bit lost when they are not around.  What was I to do alone on this rainy Sunday?  I vacuumed, I folded clothes, I washed dishes, I tidied, I called my mother, my father and my stepmom.  Ok, now what?  I’ll check the mail!  A drizzly walk to the mailbox rewarded me with a sweet note from a friend and a birthday card from my new grandparents.  I am so blessed with the people in my life.  I also remembered that I needed to grab the 30 pack of toilet paper from my car that I couldn’t carry in earlier.  30 rolls calls for two hands.

The walk back from the mailbox was also a reward, but not nearly in the same way.  I was reminded that God’s timing is perfect in all things.  My tire.  Yep, it was flat.  The noise I heard earlier was apparently legit, but somehow the tire didn’t lose air until I got home.  I didn’t get stuck on the side of the rode with a flat and a husband in Atlanta.  And had I not decided to grab that large amount of TP until just then, I wouldn’t have had a ride to work in the morning.  A friend and coworker lives just down the street from us, so I am able to hitch a ride with him.  Funny how things just come together.  It must just be luck… Or not.

I worry so often about the things that I just can’t control.  But you know what, clearly the Creator and Sustainer of all life is in control and cares for every part of my life.  Every single part.  He’s provided more than enough and has given me this crazy, awesome life.  Who am I that You are mindful of me, that You care for me?

So, here I am in my little apartment that feels so big, I’m car-less, and humbled by the God that cares for me regardless of my doubts or trust in Him, regardless of the many times I make myself god.  His affections for me are relentless.

(I should say that I am happy that The Hubs had this chance to make this trip.  He’ll be back tomorrow to take care of my tire.  No bigs.)

Tonight, I am resting.  I have already watched multiple episodes of The Office, and I am about to have leftover spaghetti and meatballs.  Leftovers are my favorite and I am really looking forward to these.  I have to tell you about these meatballs.  First of all, have you noticed the lack of meat on this site?  It’s because I honestly don’t love the stuff.  But I was seriously wowed by these things.  Wow.  Not only are they amazing, they were made by the hands of my amazing husband.  He’s been getting his hands dirty in the kitchen more often lately.  Literally.  For a rookie in the kitchen, he totally knocked it out of the park.

*I need to preface this recipe with a note about the beef.  We made a trip to the Nashville Farmer’s Market and took home some local, grass fed ground sirloin.  Along with the gorgeous hands of my man, I’m positive that the meat made the difference with these babies.

SIMPLY MOUTH-WATERING MEATBALLS:

  • 3/4 Lb. ground sirloin
  • 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Combine all ingredients.  Mix well.  Form into 1.5″ balls.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are no longer pink.  Place them in your pot of sauce and let them simmer for about 30 minutes.  Bada-bing, meatballs.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps and Tres de Mayo

Adapted from Joy the Baker’s Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

This is how you know I love my husband.

Yes, that’s cilantro. And I cooked with it. I added it to multiple dishes. Because I love him.

I realize I may be stepping on some cilantro-loving toes, but even the smell of it is a little bit bleh to me. Admittedly, it can make a pleasant difference in some dishes. Guacamole, for instance, needs a little of that disgusting herb (recipe below). Honestly though, I could do without it.

But you know what? It’s Tres de Mayo!!! Well, it was. 8 months from this date we tied the knot. 8 months and still going strong! We made it everybody. (applause, applause) In honor of such a grand milestone, it’s fiesta time!! Oh yeah! Tres de Mayo style!  Sprinkled with love, er, cilantro.

Here’s my real motivation for this meal Continue reading

10 Lb. of Yams & Sweet Potato Chili

This post is coming to you a week late.  There’s been much to do this week and little time to get it all down in type.  I’ve been in the kitchen a lot!  It’s been great.  It’s also been necessary.  Here’s why:

It’s been on our minds for some time now, but last Saturday we finally made the trek to Costco for a little cost-benefit analysis.  I’ve been thinking that buying in bulk could potentially make life a little easier and save us a little money on our grocery bill.  And when it comes to saving money, I am unabashed!  I get way too excited over coupons and sales.  Oh, and when I get to use a coupon on a sale item, oh man, that is the best.  No, it’s the best when the store has their coupon doubling promotion and you have a coupon…on a sale item.  These are things that excite me.  Seriously.  It may be that I’m trying to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to me.  It may also be that I’m just thrifty (a kind way of saying cheap).

So, after strolling around the warehouse aisles, pulling up my calculator app when necessary, we made the decision.  We are officially the proud new members of Costco Wholesale.  Member cards in hand, we shopped in bulk for the first time.  This is what we went home with:  6 avocados, a 4lb bag of quinoa, a rather large box of oranges, a giant bag of walnuts, 8 roma tomatoes, a 10lb bag of frozen fruit, 8 bananas, 8 cans of diced tomatoes, tons of broccoli florets, and a 10lb box of sweet potatoes.

10lbs of sweet potatoes.  Yes, there are only two of us in our tiny apartment.  But they were only $7!  We’ve paid that much at our favorite grocery store for only 3 or 4.  (Granted, these were organic and worth that price to us.)  What did we plan on doing with so many delicious spuds?  Well…

Saturday night we got our hands dirty making some spiced sweet potato muffins.  It is such a treat when The Hubs joins me in the kitchen.  He’s the best sous chef a girl could hope for.  And not too bad to look at either.

Monday I attempted baked chips–not incredibly successful.  There’s a fine line between crispy and burnt.  I’m afraid I crossed that line a majority of the time.  Some of them were edible–not blog-worthy though.

Tuesday’s lunch was a baked sweet potato with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

Tuesday’s dinner, a crockpot full of sweet potato chili.  This made enough to freeze for a future meal.  This was quite successful, and I share the recipe below.

Wednesday evening I roasted some with cauliflower and broccoli that served as a side to our bruschetta chicken (incredibly blog-worthy).

Thursday dinner:  Sweet potato and black bean lettuce wraps with guacamole.  Yum.

But my favorite concoction thus far has been my Sunday lunch:  Cubed baked sweet potato, chopped avocado, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  Simple, yet so good.  Try it.

So maybe we won’t purchase such a large amount of sweet potatoes in the future, but this has been fun.  I’m forced into creativity, and I like it.  I’ve got 4 more potatoes to use, and darn it, I’m going to use them!

Last weekend we also decided it was time to replace our computers.  Actually, it’s been time, but I’m just so darn “thrifty” I held onto my 6 year old Macbook until that dreaded pinwheel popped up with every click.  While colorful and more pleasing to the eye than an hourglass, this pinwheel became the bane of my writing sessions.  Hallelujah! Right now I am happily composing on a tiny, speedy Macbook Air.  It doesn’t even feel like mine yet.  Honestly, I’ve spent much of my week trying to use up 10 pounds of sweet potatoes, I haven’t had the time to make use of my shiny new toy!  And even now that I have the time, it’s sweet potatoes that I am writing about.

Sweet Potato Chili

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1inch cubes
  • 1.5 cans of black beans, or the equivalent of cooked black beans
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • Baby portabella mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • Avocado and cheese for garnish
  • 1 t sea salt

Put it all in a crockpot; set to low for 5-6 hours. Garnish with
chopped avocado and cheese, if desired. This makes a ton, but it’s
great for leftovers and does well in the freezer.

Moving Forward

There’s been some conflict going on within me. When I created this blog, my intent was to focus on the health of the home. And so far, I believe I’ve done that. However, I’ve steered clear of a major aspect of a healthy home, all because I wanted to keep this open to a variety of readers. After some thought and, quite frankly, conviction, I am opting not to avoid such provoking and maybe even controversial topics. The primary one being Jesus Christ.

I have an underdeveloped passion for wholeness. The idea being that for a person to live a whole, balanced, healthy, and abundant life, they need to not only eat right, exercise, stimulate their mind, maintain healthy relationships, and so on, but they also need a relationship with Jesus. We were created to be in fellowship with Him and to depend on Him for all our needs to be supplied. Therefore, a home can only be at its maximum health if the hearts of those living in it are directed towards they’re creator.

So, maybe this is a warning, or maybe it’s me making a point. I don’t know. I do know that with all of this in mind, I’m not altering the direction of this blog. However, moving forward I will now start writing into it exactly what I mean.

I Really Like Greens, A Lot

The hubs and I have this running joke.  He’ll say, “I love broccolli.”  And I’ll say, “You love broccoli like you love me?”  And, of course, he’ll say, “Yes.”  Not only are we fans of brocolli; we’re also huge fans of sarcasm.

I am real big on discovering new loves and likes.  Well, new likes, really.  It’s very rare to discover a new love.  Love is such a strong word.  And in English, we’ve only really got one word for it.  If I’m being completely true in my speech, I wouldn’t say, “I love pesto.”  Although, I do feel rather strongly about it.

These are the “things” I honestly love:

  • The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  • My amazing husband
  • My family (the new ones and the old)
  • My church
  • My friends

To attribute this word, love, with anything other than a living being would diminish not only its meaning, but the feelings I have towards the things I value so highly.

All of that to say…I like very much discovering new things I like…very much.  One of those being greens.  Oh man.  I had no idea what I was missing as a kid.  The only greens I’d tough were iceberg and drowned in Italian or Caesar dressing.  In the past year I’ve fallen in like with mustard greens, kale (uh, kale!), and collard greens.  My introduction to collard greens happened a few weeks ago.  It was my first time both cooking and eating them.  Not to toot my own horn, but (toot toot) they were mighty good.  They nicely accompanied our egg-in-a-hole, topped with turkey and steamed broccoli.  I’m calling it a modern twist on a southern brinner (That’s breakfast for dinner.  Come on folks.  Keep up with me.)

About a month ago I was perusing a list of 25 superfoods, most of which I intend to make more prominent in our diet.  #6 collard greens.  Also on the list:  Kefir made it and has also made its way into our fridge.  Cinnamon makes its way into just about everything I eat from coffee to smoothies to chili to yogurt.  Sardines, however, will remain on the list and out of our kitchen.

Collard greens have many of the same health benefits as my treasured kale.  It’s packed with fiber, calcium, and protein, and studies have shown it may help prevent cancer and improve heart health and digestion.  The recipe I used was from Whole Foods. **Sidenote:  If you don’t have the Whole Foods Recipe app for your cellular device, get it.  It’s pretty wonderful.**  I made some changes, though, that I think made a big difference.

Sauteed Greens

  • 1 large bunch of collard greens (although swiss chard, kale, or mustard greens will do)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or a heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s crushed garlic)
  • Few pinches red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and pepper flakes in oil briefly.  Garlic will cook very quickly.  Add greens, a few handfuls at a time, stirring in between.  Stir in vinegar and salt. Reduce heat to low.  Cover. Cook until just tender, about 30 minutes.

Good Morning!

Morning!  I love it.  Productivity and peace exist in tandem.

Waking up in the morning.  I do not love it.  When the alarm sounds, an automatic groan sounds too…from me.  It can be like torture being forced from a peaceful slumber into the not-quite-light of day.  Once I overcome the task of putting my feet on the floor I’m thankful I did.  The best mornings consist of reading, house chores, fixing lunches, etc.

Thank God for breakfast.  Breakfast gets me out of bed.

Seriously, is breakfast not the best meal of the day?  It means grains, cinnamon, fruit, eggs.  You name it, you can make it a breakfast food.

Breakfast in this roost is oatmeal and smoothies.  Except on Saturdays.  Saturdays is often eggs and bacon.  And if we’re feeling particularly adventurous, toast or pancakes.

We honeymooned on Oahu.  The last three days of our trip we delighted in breakfast at Eggs ‘n Things.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I have never had a meal so satisfyingly yummy.  If we’d discovered this place on our first morning there, we would have dined there every single day.  Check it:  Macadamia Nut Pancakes with Coconut Syrup.  Oh man!  They sold this wonderful syrup but unfortunately the bottle was too big for our carry-ons.  But as a little Christmas surprise for The Hubs I ordered a bottle of that sweet nectar.  Now we can occasionally have a taste of Hawaii in our tiny Nashville apartment.

Occasionally.  Special occasionally.  Pancakes are quite scrumptious, but they’re really more of a dessert than a meal.  Have you ever listened to Jim Gaffigan talk about pancakes?  Check it out.  It’s quite hysterical.

During the week we alternate–smoothie and oatmeal.  The highlight of my 2012 so far has been the purchase of our Kitchen Aid Blender.  It’s no Vitamix, but it’s been a life changer.  Oh yes, I live a thrilling life.  Oatmeal is great, but it’s even better when you’re not eating it everyday.  This blender has revolutionized our breakfast.  We’re getting a generous filling of nutrition on the mornings we enjoy our blended treats.  A typical blend for us includes kale, kefir, banana, almond milk or OJ, and two types of fruit.  Veggies, fruit, protien, antioxidants, probiotics.  So much goodness in one glass.  (Expect a post on this in the near future.)

Oatmeal days are equally tasty though, and I think I’ve mastered my oatmeal recipe.  It’s one of my favorite things to make/eat.  It’s sugar free and super simple.  This makes that packaged stuff look like junk food.

Every Morning Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Combine oats, cinnamon and liquid in microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 50 second.  Stir.  Add the banana and flax.  Heat for an additional 50 seconds.  Slice banana with your spoon, stir, and enjoy.

**This recipe is easily altered.  Banana helps sweeten it, but if you prefer a different fruit, try it.  Maybe top it with a splash of vanilla soy or almond milk if it’s not sweet enough for you.  It’s really trial and error until you find the perfect concoction for you.

**I keep a container of the dry ingredients on the shelf for convenience in the morning.  Just add juice, water and banana and you’re good to go.

Sometimes You Just Have to Eat Pizza and Ice Cream

Friday nights begin our sabbath.  Ok, maybe it’s not necessarily a Biblical sabbath, but after working 40+ hours a week, along with our numerous extracurricular activities, cooking isn’t exactly what I’m itching to do when I get home.

And yesterday was no different.  In fact, the entire day practically shouted for rest.  Stormy weather took Nashville by, well, storm.  Rumors of tornadic activity fluttered around the office.  With watches and warnings entering the meteorologists vocab, our Moseic mayor let all his employees go for the day.  Taking a cue from our fearless leader, Employer graciously sent us home in the nick of time.  My commute had me gazing at scary skies in the rearview.  And when I pulled into our apartment complex, the hail began to fall.  The Hubs greeted me at the door and we gawked out our window as our poor cars were beaten right in front of us.

After a call to the insurance man, oh yes, last night was a take-out pizza night.  Not only was it pizza night, it was pizza and ice cream night.  We’re calling it our cheat night.  And not feeling one ounce of guilt. Sometimes I just have to eat pizza and ice cream.  For my sanity, really.  It’s good for the soul.

Our plan was to fix some black bean nachos for dinner until we realized that 6 months ago to the day we were eating that very same pizza at our rehearsal dinner.  Crazy!  6 months ago I was preparing to become a Mrs.  I was about to live with a boy!  And now, 6 months later, I have some strong man arms to usher me out of the storm into our home, and veg on the couch with pizza and ice cream and a movie about a viral epidemic.

**Sweet moment I just can’t resist:  Sabbath happens on Friday nights after work, but it also happens every time I enter the door of our apartment.  This is what a home should be.  Restful.  And it’s not because I’ve hung pictures on the wall (although I did finally print and frame some today) or lit scented candles.  It’s because of the covenant that exists here.