Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Belated Fat Tuesday!

Happy Belated FAT Tuesday!

So the story behind this is...I was just too.durn.busy yesterday. So here we are.

Growing up in a Baptist church, I never really celebrated Lent, but always respected those who did.
Anyone who can give something up for 41 days is a hero in my book.

Fat Tuesday kicks off Lent by allowing you to indulge in a big, hearty meal before you begin your 40 days of fasting. I'd like to propose that every once in a while you can have a Fat Wednesday... right?

If you are looking for ideas for Lent, I saw some great ideas on a devotional I read today:

a) 40 days of fasting: from luxury items

b) 40 days of prayer: A friend of mine is doing this-found an accountability buddy to text each other every morning to begin each day in prayer.

c) 40 days of praise: reading 1000 Gifts and recording 3 things you are thankful for every day.

I love these ideas, especially "c" because coincidentally I am reading 1000 Gifts by Anne VossKamp and loving it. The book encourages starting your days with thankfulness. And only after thankfulness comes blessings.

Who couldn't use a few more blessings?

So my 40 day Lenten challenge has begun. 40 Days of thanks & praise.

I am thankful for 65 degree weather in February, jambalaya, and mothers. I'm especially thankful for my mother this week.

How are you kicking off Lent?

Sausage & Chicken Jambalaya
1 8-oz package of andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2'' pieces
1 chicken breast, sliced into 1'' pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cajun seasoning
1 12 oz dark beer
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp evoo
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Over medium-high heat with evoo, saute Chicken and sausage for 6-7 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan. Reduce to medium heat and add butter, onion, and bell pepper and saute until pepper is tender and onions are translucent. (3-5 minutes)

Add undrained can of diced tomatoes, beer, cumin, cajun seasoning, and cayenne, and cook until the beer reduces by half for about 5 minutes. Add chicken, sausage, and rice to tomato sauce, and cook for 5 additional minutes, tasting and adding more seasoning for desired flavor and spice level.

Serve with parmesan cheese for garnish.

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." 1 Chronicles 29:13

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Apple Almond Butter Pancakes

I love the weekends.

I wake up every Saturday craving a big, warm and toasty Denny's Grand Slam Style Breakfast.

I think it is a product of my Saturdays at home growing up when we would wake up to coffee, pancakes, eggs, and bacon wafting up the stairs into our little noses beckoning us to eat them.

Saturday mornings at grandmas were always special when all of the aunts and cousins would head off to middle-of-nowhere South Carolina for the weekend, to get together for a giant sleepover. All of our aunts would wake up at the butt crack of dawn to giggle and cook together in the kitchen at 6 AM. Yes. 6 AM. Um, hello, that is NOT sleeping in.

So all of us cousins would fight over who had to sleep in the living room. Because none of us wanted to be woken up at 6 am.

We would fight for the rooms in the back where you could hide out at least until 8am when all of the grumpy cousins who were woken up would come stomping in and shake you awake vigorously.

Because misery loves company.

The coffee and pancakes and bacon and coffee and homemade biscuits and coffee always made up for it.

Everyone always managed to sneak in an afternoon nap to recoup.

During one of these recent very special Saturdays, my fabulous baking cousin over at Kara's Cakeshop introduced me to her secret recipe for delicious fluffy pancakes.

All you need is a) Buttermilk b) an egg, c) Self-Rising Flour

And whatever else fun and zany stuff you want to throw in there to jazz it up like me.

If you love the marriage of apple + almond butter as much as I do, you will also love these Apple Almond Butter Muffins.

Apple Almond Butter Pancakes
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp Almond Butter, plus more for garnish
1 Apple, peeled and grated
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, separated into tiny pats

Mix flour, egg, buttermilk, almond butter, grated apple and cinnamon until creamy and thick.

Over low heat, melt butter and drop pancake batter by 1/2 cup spoonfuls. Cook 3-4 minutes on first side until bubbles form and stay on the top of the pancake. Flip and cook for 3-4 minutes until cooked throughout.

Serve with almond butter, any reserved apple, and hot syrup.

Makes 6 large pancakes or 12 small pancakes.

"...his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fantastic Friday!

Happy Friday!

Has this week been as long for you as it has for me?

Well, brace yourself. I have 2 things to share with you this friday to make it even more fantastic.

1. You must make this bacon guacamole grilled cheese now. I have dear old Pinterest to thank for this delicious sandwich.

The oozey cheesy part is the best. It's even good without the bacon! AND if you need a good guacamole recipe to go on it, I may or may not know someone who makes a killer guac. 

Ahem. Excuse me while I toot my own horn. Toot. Guacamole!

2. Do you like free stuff? I do. Shutterfly is giving away 28 address labels today for FREE. 

Aren't they cute! 

[And no, the McWonderful's are not also known as the Griffin's. This is a sample. ]

And after the code my order was only $2.12 with shipping. I know. Amazing.

Go to, pick out your labels, add 1 order to cart & 
Use this code at checkout: A2SD-7DM3-PDX5-C6PMX9

Have a wonderful weekend!

"With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home." Exodus 15:13

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Love Resolutions

Hope you had a "Love-ly" Valentine's day.

I happened to catch a few minutes of a daytime TV show today talking about Valentine's Resolutions. I thought about how silly it was that they were trying to do an "after V-day" theme and it seemed...forced. And random.

Psssh. Who makes Valentine's Resolutions, anyway?

Until I thought about it some more.

Valentine's is well-known as a commercial holiday which encourages you to spend more money on the one you love and be romantic.

Not such a bad gesture.

But what if it could motivate us to be more Loving. Ya know, like every day.

What if we did start Love Resolutions.

My very clever valentine from Live to Love

I would resolve to write more cards to my dear, sweet husband and friends.

I would resolve to have more friends and family over for dinner for fellowship.

I would resolve to be good to my body and my heart all year long.

Maybe these so-called Love Resolutions aren't such a bad idea after all.

Black Bean Love Burger
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper
1 carrot, diced finely
1/4 cup green onions, diced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
6 tbsp hummus
1/2 avocado, sliced

Mash black beans until chunky. Add black beans, bell pepper, lime juice, green onion, carrot, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic, egg, and bread crumbs to large bowl and mix with your hands until firm and sticky.
(If the mixture separates too much, add more bread crumbs. )

Separate into 3 black bean burger patties. Grill over medium heat on a piece of aluminum foil for about 5-8 minutes on each side.

Serve on toasted buns with avocado and hummus. Makes 3 servings.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NIV

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy LOVE day!

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs on your heard are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

What a beautiful love note from God!

Even sparrows, which are sold 5 for $0.02 are not forgotten before God! (two cents!)

Have you ever heard of a sparrow going hungry and dying? God feeds even sparrows, gives them a shelter, and family. He even gives them beaks to carry twigs to make nests and to carry food to feed their babies.

If there is ever a time that you have felt worthless, or like God cannot love YOU, or that God has left you alone to fend for yourself? God’s word begs to differ.

YOU are of more value than many sparrows. Each and every hair on your head has been numbered by God.

[What an interesting conversation with God that must be. “No, really God. How many hairs do I have on my head?”]

And even if right now He doesn’t seem near, look around you. You have a shelter over your head. You have popcorn you are shoving into your mouth (ok maybe it’s not popcorn.) You have some form of family who loves you [friends, mom, dad, children].

You are precious to Him.

Happy LOVE day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sun-dried Tomato Black Bean Dip

 I totally stole this dip from my lil sis over at Live to Love.

Sorry you brat.

Believe me, you will be glad I stole it from her. I have dreamt about this dip for two years, after she served it at a Halloween party.

Don't get all squirmy on the word stole.

Sisters don't mind so much when you steal things from them.

Twenty or so years ago, I stole her two front teeth.  From her mouth. In a minivan.

In all fairness, we were playing a fishing game, where she was the fish. Let's just say the fisherman, [ME] tugged a wee bit too hard on the "fishing pole"

Aforementioned "fishing pole"

Needless to say, she was very sad [and toothless] at me. But the good news is, they were baby teeth. 

And she wouldn't dare let me near her permanent teeth.

The moral of this story is that even if you steal things from your sister, better things happen.

Like brand new teeth. 

And Sun-dried Tomato Black bean dip. Which I can now share with you.

It's fluffy, savory and fragrant, filled with yummy sun-dried tomatoes and thyme. 

And, it's purty. Well, no. No its not pretty at all. But your mouth won't care. It will dance with glee at the blackbeany sun-dried tomatoey goodness of it all, that it won't care one bit what it looks like. 

Sun-dried Tomato Black Bean Dip
adapted from my lil sis

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp diced sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil (plus more if necessary)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
1 tsp thyme

Add all ingredients to a food processor, and puree until soft and fluffy, and sun-dried tomatoes have been puree'd throughout. Add more olive oil as necessary to get your bean dip to the desired fluffiness. 

“Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs 21:21