Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Worn and Wine 101

I have satellite radio in my car and I normally listen to The Highway (Country) but I was listening to the Christian station yesterday.  Tenth Avenue North was on and playing songs from their new album live.  I like them more now than I did before.  They played a song called "Worn" and I cannot for the life of me find it online for you to hear but here is a sample of the lyrics:  I want to know a song can rise, From the ashes of a broken life, And all that's dead inside can be reborn, Cause I'm worn.

One of my other favorite songs of theirs is "You are More" and you can listen to it/watch it here to get a sample of what their music is like.

The lead singer was talking about a verse from Hosea:  "Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds." ~Hosea 6:1
I have never heard that verse before but I love it because I have lived it.  Sometimes God needs us to be completely broken and worn so we will turn to Him and seek His will for us.  It is in those times that I have been binded and healed.

Isn't it funny how we forget what being a kid was like?  We look at them and wish our lives could be that simple again.  I have learned as Garrison has gotten older that they have worries and heartaches too.  They may seem insignificant to us but they are huge to them.  It is so important to listen to our kids and not diminish things that seem important to them. 

This morning Garison was complaining that I made him sausage biscuits for breakfast.  I thought I was being a good mom by not sending him to school with a pop tart...again.  He was in such a bad mood at home.  On the way to daycare he was being grumpy and wouldn't talk to me.  We get to daycare and I turn around to tell him to get his lunch box and he just lost it.  Side Note:  It's so cute because now he doesn't just cry openly.  He puts his thumb and forefinger over the bridge of his nose/corner of his eyes like a man who doesn't want anyone to know he is crying.  I looked at him and said, "Are you SERIOUSLY crying over sausuage and biscuits?".  He shook his head no.  And then he went into this long, drawn out story about how when the daycare took their field trip to Gatti Town yesterday he didn't get a prize in the prize store.  (Apparently they had to use all the money on their card and he didn't have time to use all the money on his card so he never got to get a prize.)  I could have easily tried to "teach him a lesson" by telling him life isn't fair and to get over it and get out of the car because I was going to be late (again).  But I could see how important this was to him and how hurt he was over this event that seemed so insignificant to me.  I told him that I completely understood why he would be upset about that and that it really sucked that he didn't get to get a prize.  I told him that I would pick him up after school and take him to Target and let him pick out a prize there.  I also may have added in something about the toys at arcades being cheaply made.  :)

The point is that our kids need to know their feelings are important.  They need to know they are significant.  I hope Garrison continues to communicate with me as he gets older.  I am doubtful he will want to tell me about his day when he is 13 but hey, you never know!

Wine 101
I am a wine if you couldn't tell by some of my Facebook posts/pictures.  Ha!  Garrett and I love to go wine tasting and discover new wines.  Grapevine has some great wineries and we like to go there around our anniversary.  My favorite place is La Buena Vida.  They have live jazz/blues music one weekend a month too.  You can check out their website here.  They have an awesome outdoor seating area with fire pits so we love going in the fall/winter.

I went to get a pedicure Friday night and they served me red wine cold in a chilled glass.  I thought this might be a good thing to blog about since a lot of people have questions about what to serve wine with or what should/shouldn't be chilled.

Typically red wine is served at room temperature and white wine is served chilled.  Red wine also typically lasts a bit longer than white wine.

Red wine (dry) is great for marinating steak.  My favorite picks would be Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.  Marinating a steak with some wine and garlic salt is amazing!  When cooking with white wine make sure it is a dry white like Chardonnay.
**Tip:  You can buy a super cheap wine to marinate/cook with.  The quality is not important.

I am always discovering new wines and have been surprised to find some really decent priced wines that I enjoy.  My favorite places to buy wine are World Market and Albertsons because they have the biggest selections.  Target has a surprisingly good selection of wines as well for a lower price.

Suggested Whites
I enjoy white wine more in the summer.  I don't like Chardonnay much because it is very "oaky".  I really enjoy Sauvignon Blanc (considered off dry but has a citrus flavor) and Pinot Grigio (slightly dryer but still has a citrus taste).  I would describe both of these wines as very crisp with a citrus finish.  Here are a couple of my favorite brands.

Gabbiano Pinot Grigio (around $10)

Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc (around $8)


Suggested Reds

I really like dry red wines with a full body flavor.  My favorites are the Spanish reds from World Market, although I cannot recall any brands right now.  Tempranillo is a really good wine (that is the type, not the brand).

A great red to try is the Red Velvet by Cupcake (about $8).  I thought it would be sweet but it's not at all.  It's dry with a hint of a chocolate finish.


There is your Wine 101 for today!  Cheers!!!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Faith and Sprouts

I was having a discussion on religion yesterday with a few people.  I have learned to be comfortable and confident in my faith as I have gotten older.  I hate debating over religion but I think we are meant to have open and honest discussions about religion and our viewpoints.  It opens our eyes to what others believe and helps us to confirm (or re-evaluate) our own beliefs. 

One of the girls I was talking with mentioned she is Catholic but believes there is truth in a lot of other religions (not denominations, but religions).  That seemed completely contradictory to me but I stayed open minded and kept listening to her view points.  She has traveled around the world and is a very cultured person.    During the discussion I expressed my beliefs on different topics which were different than some of hers.  The whole time I had an underlying fear she might be judging me for my beliefs and thinking what a closed minded person I am, as us Christians are often perceived to be. 

The discussusion turned toward the fact that she liked to have proof of God becuase she was a very scientific based person.  I don't think this is wrong at all.  Some people just have different ways of getting to the truth.  I explained to her I had a more faith based view.  I told her I didn't need physical proof God existed because He has proven to me time and time again (through life experiences) that He exists.  I told her I love listening to others' views but I am unshaken in my faith and beliefs.  She looked at me for a few seconds.  At this point I thought she was going to laugh at me or tell me how ridiculous that sounded.  But instead she told me she was jealous of my faith.  She said she wishes she could have that kind of faith.  I don't take this as a compliment at all.  It just makes me wish that people understood they CAN have that kind of faith.  It only takes a little bit of faith in God for Him to show them He is real.

Don't be scared or ashamed of your faith.  Believing in Jesus and what He can do for you is not a childish or fantasy like thought.  He is real.  He is alive.  He is in you.  All you have to do is have faith.  What can it hurt?!

"I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move.  Nothing would be impossible." ~Matthew 17:20

Last night I made the pork chops with dijon sauce again (which I have already posted).  So I will instead talk about some of the great finds I have had at Sprouts recently for quick and easy meals. 

Side Note:  I used to think Sprouts was like a Whole Foods where everyone inside wears socks with sandals and smells like granola.  This is no joke people.  Have you ever been inside a Whole Foods on a week day?  Anyways, it's so not like that.  And it's not expensive like I thought either.

Besides having amazing produce and an awesome wine and beer selection, Sprouts has a nice selection of prepared meats, fish and chicken.  Two of my favorites are the pinwheel flank steaks and the jalapeno cheddar burgers. 

The pinwheel flank steaks are thin flank steaks wrapped around provolone cheese and fresh spinach.  One per person is plenty.   You just take the meat, baste with Worchestire sauce and sear on each side for a couple of minutes.  Then you can put on the grill or bake in the oven.  We did them on the grill so I don't have oven temps/times for you.  Here is a picture from the internet but the steaks look exactly like this (raw of course).

The jalapeno cheddar burgers are awesome and self explanatory.  They are meat patties filled with shredded cheddar and chopped jalapenos.  You can season with garlic salt and pepper but they honestly don't even need that.  Another picture from the internet but very close to what the patties look like.  Yum!



Thursday, August 9, 2012

No Matter What Others Do...

Last night's VBS quote was, "No matter what others do, trust God"!  You smart cookies see the theme of the week, right?!  (Trusting God for those of you who are scratching your heads.)  In a previous post I mentioned that we are writing down the quote each night to make a book this weekend.  Last night AS I was writing down the quote Garrett started yelling at me in frustration about something he had his panties in a wad over.  (I have a very loud husband for those who do not know him.)  I could have easily yelled at him, "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?  Shut the hell up!!!  The kids are in bed!!!"  But I didn't.  Instead I sat there and laughed (which I'm sure he didn't appreciate, ha!) because God always finds a way to get his message across to me loud and clear. 
Side Note: Garrett apologized this morning for being so ridiculous.

Most of us have been taught since childhood to do what we know is right and not "give into peer pressure".  Sometimes that is way easier said than done.  We are human after all.  But in a "modern society" where so many sinful things are accepted and even praised it can be hard to follow/trust God.  It can be hard to keep everything black and white as opposed to venturing into the grey.

For me being around negative people can really make me want to just give up.  It makes me want to join in the complaining and focus on everything negative in my life.  But the truth is I am SO much happier when I focus on my blesings and wake up each day thanking God for another day to try and be a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, etc.

In the midst of this broken world we have to trust God no matter what is going on around us.  I'm sure many of you have people in your lives who constantly hurt you or disappoint you in some way.  But that is not God's fault.  He has given us  free will.  We have to focus on His promise that He will never forsake us and keep trusting Him even when things or people seem to be falling apart around us.

I don't have a recipe to include on today's post because I went to eat with some friends last night.  I will say I am super proud of myself for going to Chipotle and having a scrumdidlyumptious (yes, that's a word) dinner for under 10 carbs.  I'll leave you with a funny picture I saw on Pinterest the other day.  I really hope this isn't the case with me!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Independent Child is a Successful Adult and Creamy Cajun Shrimp

It is no secret that my generation is known for being lazy and having little to no work ethic.  It is also frustrating to be lumped into that category.  My parents raised us to be independent and not rely on others for everything.  We were blessed enough to have cars when we turned 16 and a middle to upper middle class upbringing but we were also taught to never take anything for granted. 

When I went on an interview for my current job the fact that my generation had a "weak work ethic" was brought up in the interview and I was asked to respond to that.  That is when I realized that somewhere along the way something went completely wrong.  I'm not sure what the cause is (society in general, parenting or the huge boom in technology) but I know that it is not what I want for my boys.  I want them to work for what they have and appreciate everything they have.  I want them to never take life for granted.

I see SO many parents out there doing everything for their kids and spoiling them rotten.  Does your kid really need to be carried everywhere at five years old?  Does your kid still need their paci at four years old?  I remember having to remind myself to let Garrison try to do things for himself when he was a toddler.  The thing is they WANT to do things for themselves.  We just have to let them.  Who cares if he punches four holes in the capri sun before he gets it down.  At least he's learning.  Even now, I get frustrated when Garrison spills milk all over the counter, but I want to let him try to be as independent as he can so I bite my tongue and hand him a wet paper towel to clean up the mess. 

Letting your kids be independent can be hard because in a sense it means you are slowly giving up that control and letting them grow up.  I think some moms want to hold on so tightly to their "babies" forever (which I totally get).  But the reality is we are hurting our kids by not letting them learn, grow and build a sense of confidence in themselves and their abilities.  Letting your kids do things for themselves does not mean you should love on them less.  I still smother my six year old with hugs and kisses, even when he pulls away.

I am hoping that my boys grow up to be confident, independent teenagers/young adults who take pride in doing things for themselves.  I want them to work hard for something and understand the sense of accomplishment that comes with that.  I want them to pass on the amazing work ethic that my husband's dad passed on to him and he is passing on to our boys.

"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings."  ~Ann Landers

Update:  Still going strong on the low carb eating.  I'm feeling great and still don't have any cravings.  I made an INCREDIBLE shrimp recipe last night and it was super easy.  For those of you not worried about carbs you can serve over pasta or rice.  The picture I added is not mine but the shrimp looks very similar (minus the rice of course).

Creamy Cajun Shrimp
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined (Wal Mart sells these frozen for $5)
3 T butter, divided
ground red pepper (cayenne)
garlic powder
onion powder  (I didn't have any so left this out of mine)
salt & pepper
oregano (I didn't have any so left this out of mine)
juice of 1/2 lemon
3-4 T heavy cream
chopped parsley

Season the shrimp liberally with the spices above. You can also add a few drops Tobasco to make it hotter. Melt 2 T of the butter in a large skillet over med-high heat. When very hot, just before the butter browns, add shrimp, one at a time, to the pan. Don't over crowd the pan. Do not move them. When the edges begin to turn opaque, 1-2 minutes, turn the shrimp over and turn the heat down to medium an cook until just done. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Lower the heat to low and add remaning 1 T butter, lemon juice and heavy cream. Swirl until thickened and pour over the shrimp and toss. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve.