Intro to Marriage Mondays

So, with this new year and new season, I thought I’d try a little something different. Kind of going along with my past Worthy Wednesday posts, my idea was to write about only marriage on Mondays. I want to touch on that topic because our marriage is ever changing, ever beautiful and often times very tough. I want to talk about things we want to work on, things we do to strengthen our marriage, and advice we will try in the future. Husband is pretty excited about this as he will often guest post on Mondays to get insight from both perspectives. We will be very open, but this being our marriage, we will not talk about everything in our relationship. It is sacred between us and God.

Keep in mind, we are not marriage experts – we simply want to strengthen ours and possibly give someone a new understanding as to how marriage really operates. Most of the time.

Aside from my relationship with my Heavenly Father, my relationship with my husband is the second most important thing in my life.

So, I hope you will enjoy, and learn along with us.

The first thing I want to talk about that I have started for the year 2013 is a little book that I received for my bridal shower from Chris & Lynne but I never touched. It’s called “365 Reasons Why I Love You”. It’s made of all different papers, and each day you write a reason why you love your spouse. At first we decided we were going to do it together, but after the first day that he didn’t do it, I wasn’t going to pressure him {and I wanted to see if he would do it on his own}. After he didn’t, I was a little sad, but I had to realize he is a man, and things often slip their minds. Plus, he has a lot going on and I didn’t want to make this thing we were working on for our marriage stressful – it should be fun, right?

Anyways, I won’t show you a picture of mine because my naughty Molly chewed the cover. I couldn’t find the original company who made our book, but I found lots of DIY ways to make one.

Here’s a good tutorial.

At the end of the year, I will have a lovely gift for my husband that he will be able to look back on time and time again. It also forces me {especially when he makes me mad} to remember why I married him and why he’s so special.

Enjoy 🙂

Advertisements

New Years Goals

I know, I know. It’s late, but it’s still January so it counts.

I have never before made a New Years resolution, and to be honest, even the beginning of this year I wasn’t feeling so inclined to do so until a few days after.

I have so much hope for 2013. I have said multiple times that when that ball dropped, I felt an instant relief. At this time in my life, I feel like Spring. Spring has sprung in so many different areas, and not just in my life, but in my family and friend’s lives, also.

So, with that being said, I didn’t make a huge, unattainable goal for myself to accomplish this year. Instead, I made a lot of little ones that are easily achieved and that make for a better quality of life. Since I feel so renewed, I figured, why not continue this renewal throughout this amazing year?

According to thesaurus.com, resolution and perseverance mean the same thing. To persevere means to endure. I don’t want to endure throughout this year. I want to enjoy it.

Now, goal on the other hand means the same thing as destination and design. I have a destination in mind, and I hope to make the design along the journey of this year a beautiful one.

New Years Goals

Here is a list of my New Years goals:

1. Be in the Word daily.

2. Don’t obsess over food.

3. Stomp on negative thoughts – especially about your Husband.

4. Save money.

5. Drink less.

6. Have patience.

7. Be active on a regular basis, and don’t freak if you miss a day.

8. Be kinder – especially to your husband.

9. Go on more adventures.

10. Fall asleep in your bed instead of on the couch.

11. Go to bed earlier.

12. Wake up earlier.

13. Write something everyday. Even just a sentence. A word.

14. Be more passionate.

15. Finish the things you start.

16. Stress less.

I hope your year is full of amazing things, dreams become realities, and happiness fills your heart.

Enjoy!

Turkey & Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Growing up, we ate acorn squash as one would a sweet potato – a little brown sugar and butter, and it was mighty fine. Now that my palette is a bit more sophisticated, I don’t need the sweetness to enjoy a nice squash.

Acorn squash contains a lot of folate, which among other  things can prevent colon cancer, and when consumed by pregnant women, reduces the chance for birth defects. It is also full of fiber and magnesium, which aids in digestion.

I’ve made stuffed bell peppers before {think meatloaf, couscous & Parmesan, etc.}, but I had yet to make a stuffed squash. I thought I would keep it simple by using ground turkey and rice, and it turned out delicious.

 

| Turkey & Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, halved

12 oz ground turkey meat

1 C uncooked brown rice

1/2 C chopped onion

1/2 C spinach, roughly chopped

2 TSP olive oil

2 eggs

1/2 C mozzarella cheese {optional}

1/2 TSP thyme

1/2 TSP sea salt

1/8 TSP lemon pepper

Place acorn halves, open face down, in a 350 degree preheated oven. In a small pot, cook the rice as the package directs, but cut off 5-10 minutes of cooking time, leaving rice a little uncooked. Set aside in a large bowl. In another pan, on medium heat, lightly sautee onions in 1 TSP olive oil for a few minutes. Add in the chopped spinach and continue cooking until spinach is wilted. Add to rice.

In the same pan, using the rest of the olive oil, cook the turkey meat, adding in the thyme, salt and lemon pepper. Once the meat is almost fully cooked, remove from heat and add to the sauteed vegetables.

When the meat mixture is cool, add in two eggs, and with your hands or a potato masher, thoroughly combine everything. After the squash have been roasting for about 30 minutes, take them out of the oven and spoon the stuffing into the center of each squash. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of cheese over the top of each serving {optional}. Place them back on the baking dish and continue cooking in the oven for 7 minutes. Set your oven on broil, and leave for 2-3 more minutes, or until cheese begins to get light brown spots.

Stuffed Acorn Squash 1

Enjoy!

Final Worthy Wednesday

16 weeks ago, I started a weekly post called Worthy Wednesdays, about finding my self worth and value to the world. Originally, I had committed to 20 weeks, {or until mid-February} but I have to tell you: I feel like starting this new year is a great time to finish, because I feel like I can be done with this.

I don’t know how or why, but in doing this, I feel like my quality of life is so much better, and I can truly look at myself and say that I am happy. I am human, like any of you, and will have a bad day or two, but I can face it. I no longer have a massive guilt hanging over my head, weighing me down. I no longer punish myself for making a small mistake, or worrying so much about what other people think of me. I have embraced myself.

I still hold myself accountable for the things that I do, and think deeply before I do or say something {most of the time – human, remember?}, but I feel a freedom I’ve never felt. This isn’t supposed to be some warm and cozy “love yourself” kind of thing. I can really only say that God took me through this journey, and it is by Him alone that I am able to proclaim all of this.

I hope someone somewhere has also benefited from reading my stories and my journey. I hope that they will not be afraid to say what’s on their mind and talk about their feelings. It’s a scary thing to be raw and vulnerable, but the freedom you get from just speaking aloud about it is far beyond any fear that you may feel in the beginning.

So, this being the last Worthy Wednesday, and even though it’s a week after the new year, it is still a new year. I think the best way to end this chapter is to remind myself of some of my favorite moments of last year, thinking of all the good things that happened to me, and not dwelling on any devastation or loneliness of 2012.

I’m sure someday I will have to go back and read through all of my WW posts to remind myself of how far I’ve come, because we know that sometimes people stumble along the way. If I do, I will pick myself and keep moving forward.

WW FinalEnjoy 🙂

Mini Roasted Aubergines

What is an aubergine, you ask? It’s the more attractive word for an eggplant. Not as if you need any more reason to love eggplant, but doesn’t the word “Aubergine” make you want to indulge? It sounds like a fancy French dish, elaborate and delicate.

I saw these cutest little eggplants {2-3 inches in length} at the store – they were 10 for one dollar – yep, a dollar – so I  bought ten, of course. I mean you sort of have to when you see how cutely they present themselves to you. Almost as if they’re saying, “Take me home! We want a home!” Like a cute little homeless dog – which I have also taken home before. On more than one occasion.

But that story is for another time. This one is about the cute, baby aubergines.

 

| Mini Roasted Aubergines

10 {or so} mini aubergines

non-stick spray

S&P to taste

1 TBS Parmesan cheese {shredded or powder}

1 TSP rosemary

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray non-stick oil on a baking sheet. Lengthwise, slice the aubergines about 1/2 inch apart, stopping at the stem. Fan them out and gently place on the baking sheet, spraying the top with oil, also. Sprinkle salt, pepper, rosemary and Parmesan evenly over the little eggplants. Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, then broil for an addition 2 to get a little crunch.

These really are no different than regular roasted eggplant, besides the presentation and size, which I think makes them even more delicious – on the eyes. I ate them as is, but they would be divine in a dill-yogurt dipping sauce.

Aubergine Minis 2

Enjoy!

Cabbage & Chicken Soup

I have always been intrigued by the cabbage soup diet – not so much the diet aspect of it, but does the soup actually taste good? I thought it might.

Husband spent most of his day on a plane yesterday, and getting home from the airport after 2 flights totaling 4 hours, and 3 hours at airports, he finally arrived at 6:30 PM, utterly exhausted. I thought he would hate his life when he heard that we were having cabbage soup for dinner. At first, I’m pretty sure he did – but when he tried it, he surprised me by saying, “this is really good stuff.”

That’s more props than I usually get! You know Husband thinks something is good when he says, “yeah, it’s good.” But when he thinks it’s great, you don’t even have to ask – and he uses the word “really”.  A man of few words, that one is.

Cabbage has many healing properties. For one, ancient Egyptians used to consume cabbage before a night of drinking – and cabbage is still considered a hangover cure.  Being deemed an “elixir of youth”, it also detoxifies the blood because of the combination of sulphur and vitamin C. Cabbage is a magic vegetable for your core, healing ulcers, improving digestion and eliminating constipation.

A hefty kick of spice from cayenne pepper makes this cabbage soup far from bland, with the protein and filling benefits of chicken.

| Cabbage and Chicken Soup

1 TBS olive oil

1 TSP salt

1/2 TSP black pepper

1 TSP cayenne pepper

1 whole red onion, chopped

1 head of cabbage, shredded

1 – 10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

4 chicken breasts

8 C water

In a dutch oven on medium heat, sautee the onions in oil until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the whole can of tomatoes with chillies, water, chicken breasts, salt, black and cayenne peppers. Cover, reduce to medium-low, and let stand for 1-2 hours.

Take out each chicken breast and shred by pulling apart little pieces with 2 forks. Add chicken back into the dutch oven and bring to a boil, adding cabbage. Cover and let boil for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat back to low for 5 minutes, still covered.

Chicken & Cabbage Soup

Serve and enjoy!