A Surprising Intervention

Husband and I are addicted to a show called Intervention. If you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty self-explanatory; it focuses usually on one individual, but sometimes they share two individual’s stories, whom have an addiction. 99% of the time, the person is addicted to drugs or alcohol.

We went to watch one last night, and it was about two different stories. One girl, Gina, was addicted to heroin. The other, Kaila, was anorexic.

I had never thought about anorexia as an “addiction,” although I’ve often said that during those times, losing weight was addicting, not necessarily the disorder itself. For most, you would probably ask how the two are different. It’s just something that a lot of people won’t understand: there are many facets to an eating disorder, and none of them truly make sense. I mean, a disease that convinces you that you are fat when you are 85 pounds is not likely rational, right?

Surprising Intervention1

Anyways, as we were watching {which sometimes can be hard for me}, I got an eery chill in my bones when Kaila spoke the words verbatim that I had said to husband not even two weeks ago.

“I needed something to make me feel special, different. That {anorexia} made me different, and sometimes even better. Powerful; because I could say no. That I didn’t need food when others did.”

Hearing the same words I said coming from another person’s mouth almost made me cry. It truly is that messed up. It’s a disease that festers on a persons insecurity by telling them they are fat, then the insecurity gets worse as you lose the weight; but on the flip side, you feel more powerful?

Surprising Intervention

I don’t think anyone, even people who have been through/are going through it, will ever really understand it. I know I didn’t. People have been trying to figure it out for years, and it being a fairly new disease, a lot of questions have yet to be answered. Who knows if they ever will?

Anorexia Nervosa is the number one mental illness that leads to death. This shows just how powerful it can be: Gina went to treatment, and has been sober since.  Kaila left treatment after 12 weeks, and hasn’t spoken to her parents because if she didn’t go to treatment, her parents would stop paying for her schooling.

Anorexia had more power over a woman’s brain than a woman who’s body was physically addicted to heroin.

Just a little food for thought {no pun intended}, I guess. It was just something that had been on my mind since viewing it.

Watch this documentary if you wish to know more about the strange illness.

Carrot-Zucchini Bread, Two Ways

I purchased the CUTEST cake platter at Goodwill{!} for eight bucks last week. So, naturally, I’ve had to have something in it at all times. When the kids and I made the cake, it perfectly displayed it, but then the cake was gone.

I didn’t want to make another sugar-laden treat, so I decided on the best thing I know how to bake: bread.

During the fall and winter months, we have home made pumpkin bread aplenty, but since it’s summer {and I don’t have gobs of pumpkin puree}, carrot zucchini bread sounded light and refreshing.

Now, I wouldn’t consider this recipe necessarily healthy, rather healthier than it’s original. For breads, I usually swap all purpose flour for whole wheat, reduce the sugar by 1/4 and replace one egg for flax seed. That’s a little better, but the cup of oil and cup + of sugar make this a decadent treat to be had sparingly.

| Zucchini Carrot Bread

makes 2 loaves

3 C whole wheat flour

1 TSP cinnamon

1/2 TSP allspice

3 TSP baking powder

3/4 TSP salt

1 C peeled and grated carrots {about 4 large, whole carrots}

1 C zucchini {about 3/4 one large zucchini, not peeled}

1 C canola oil

3 eggs {or sub 1 egg for 1 TBS flax seed + 3 TBS water}

3/4 C white sugar

1/2 C brown sugar

2 TSP vanilla

Grease two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix well the first 5 ingredients. In another large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy. Continue beating while you slowly drizzle in the oil. When the eggs and oil are well mixed, continue beating still, and slowly add the sugars, then vanilla. Fold in the veggies.

Mix in the dry ingredients to the wet until well incorporated. When thoroughly mixed, add half of the contents of the bowl to each loaf pan. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes, then check if they’re done by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s finished. If it doesn’t, let it cook another five minutes, then check again.

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Two Ways

Now, I don’t normally {ever} write recipes on using a food two ways, but I often do it in real life as leftovers are a wonderful thing.

When we ran out of eggs, and I asked Husband to get some, he remarked by saying that the reason we are always out of eggs is because “that’s all you make for breakfast.”  {Let me point out that I have made homemade pancakes, peanut butter toast, and even allowed them to have cereal in the last five days}. Hmph. Well, I’ll show him!

I still required eggs for this, but it was different than the norm fried egg with toast that they supposedly “always” have.

| Carrot Zucchini Bread French Toast

serves 4

4 slices of carrot zucchini bread

2 eggs

1/4 C milk

1 TBS sugar

Butter, as you need

In a shallow dish {or pie pan}, beat the eggs with the milk and sugar. Heat a skillet on medium heat and toss in a tablespoon of butter. As the butter is melting, dip the bread in the egg mixture, letting it soak for a couple minutes, then turn it over and repeat. Place the soggy break in the buttered pan and let cook about 1 minute, or until the side is fully golden brown. Flip and repeat with each slice.

Serve with a pat of butter and, if desired, syrup {this is delicious with pumpkin, raisin, or really, any other bread you like}.

Carrot Zucchini Bread3

Enjoy!

Marriage Mondays: 50’s Housewife

Okay, so first off – if any of you do read – I wanted to apologize for my absence for the last month or so. The boys have been here and I have been too busy to snap photos of any delectable foods I have been making {if I even have – we’ve been eating out… a lot}.

Ever since I was little, I have been enamored by times of the past. It started out as an obsession with ancient Egypt when I was probably 9. As I got a little older, I watched the movie {albeit not historically correct} The Mummy and The Mummy 2 over… and over… and over again.

Then in high school, The Notebook came out. I declare this the downfall for me enjoying the present time. Then, well… let’s not even start on Mad Men…

50s Housewife 2

I have said here about my quest to simplify my life. I have often requested to my husband that we do away with my iPhone – and cell phone altogether. He and I have other means of communicating throughout the day, and we only have text conversations about two times during the work day. On the weekends, I rarely touch my phone {save to scroll down Instagram, which I could live without. But since it’s there, might as well, right?}.

On The Fourth, we went to my grandma’s house, and I asked what she has been up to.

That lady. I do love her.

She said she has been so busy. “I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and set my hair, then do my exercises {I don’t know what these exercises consist of, but she has a mini trampoline in her basement}. Then, I do the housework and ironing. I don’t iron everything, probably 3-5 items {which is funny considering my mom told me yesterday that when she was a kid, my grandmother ironed the sheets. THE SHEETS, people!}. By noon I’m done because I’m exhausted.” I bet!

This conversation made me curious.

I googled things like, “The Perfect 50s Housewife”, or “How to Live Like the 50s” and the things I found were very interesting.

I came upon several blogs that included this genuine guide to a 50’s Housewives day.

Wow, I thought my house cleaning was hard. After being inspired by this blogger and her 50s Housewife Experiment, I decided I’d give it a try. She didn’t do the old fashioned clothes and hair, but because of my affinity with the old ways, you can imagine how many vintage or vintage inspired dresses I have {one of the main reasons for me disliking winter is that the ability to wear dresses significantly decreases}.

Okay, maybe I wouldn't have a matching umbrella...

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t have a matching umbrella…

Unless I am working {which I only do two days a week, which is kind of sort of like being home – so even sometimes if I am working} I wear sweatpants throughout the day to clean or do whatever household tasks may beckon me, and Husband often comes home to a make-up free, sweats-laden wife. How lovely.

A couple days ago, I followed The Guide. Oh. My. Gosh. Being a 50s Housewife really is a job in and of itself. I actually enjoyed the hard work. And making my husband so happy and comfortable after a long day of work. But, my feet KILLED and I set aside the Husband pleasing for a few minutes to ask him to rub my feet after the kids went to bed. I kid you not, I sat down for thirty minutes that day. In total. It was worse than my bank teller days.

Plus, the kids and I made a delicious pink cherry-flavored cake that my grandma would have been proud of. But, making more mess after making my home immaculate was  sort of sadistic.

At the end of the day, when my husband came home and I was clothed in a fit-and-flare dress, with a full face of make up {including pink lipstick} and the whole family enjoying a great dinner {pork chops, roasted root vegetables, a baked potato and split-pea soup}, I saw the pay off of all my hard work. Then, we enjoyed that delicious cake.

I worked so hard – on the house, with the children, to make them all happy {which included picking my battles – I highly suggest that. It saves a lot of stupid arguments}.

I wonder if that’s why marriages lasted much longer back then.

50s Housewife 1

In 1950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 34 per cent of women ages 25-30 were working, and according to the New York Times, 78% of Americans were married. During the 60s, women protested housewifery, and the numbers of working women increased  by almost 4 per cent.

Women protesting the 1969 Miss America Pageant

Women protesting the 1969 Miss America Pageant

Then the whole hippie movement in the 70s increased the percentage of working women again by almost 10 percent compared to the 50s and the number of divorces increased from 1950 to 1975 by over 650 thousand.

Then, between the 1990’s and now, women have made careers their biggest goals.

That’s wonderful for some. I got married at the ripe old age of {barely} 22 and I knew at a young age, I wanted to be a wife and mother {or singer 😉 }. While women {or anyone, for that matter} striving for their dreams is a wonderful thing, I think often times they are only trying to prove something to themselves. We aren’t oppressed anymore, but women are still putting family on hold and starting it out very late in life. I think people who choose not work {even stay at home Dads} should not be so judged by corporate power couples, but rather, everyone should be able to see the positive things about what a person chooses to do with their life.

For me, I’d rather give my rambunctious, high-energy self to the things that really matter to me – the ones I love. Not the money I make. If that means excelling at being a wonderful, vivacious wife and mother and seeing ear-to-ear grins on  my entire families faces, so be it {and having a freakishly clean house is a huge bonus}.

Fennel Seed & Paprika Potato Latkes

I have 2 obsessions {well, to be completely honest… there’s a lot more than 2…}: spices and Russia.

One of my closest friends, Lynne, lent me a book in 2007 called Tatiana & Alexander {PS, never lend me a book. Chances are, you probably won’t get it back} which is one book from a trilogy about Russian lovers during WWII. I devoured the 900+ page book in 12 hours, forgoing sleep in the name of love.

Ever since reading those books, I have had a mad love affair with Russia. I kid you not, if I meet someone who has an accent even remotely close to Russian, I pick their brain. I even asked my childhood friend who was born in Russia  if I could randomly email her questions I had about the culture. By the way, I hadn’t talked to her in years.

Anyways, Husband and I went to Scottsdale for our first honeymoon {I say first because someday we WILL be going to Hawaii} and in Old Town Scottsdale, there was a random Russian import store, so y0u know I had to go. I got my first set of true Russian handmade Matryoshka {or nesting} dolls. They are so dear to my heart – probably my favorite earthly possession.

Besides homemade Stroganov, I have never made a Russian dish {gasp!}, so I decided on Latkes, or драники {draniki}. Because the poor old potato is so monotonous, it makes a great canvas to experiment with my other obsessions; spices! Probably my favorite spice would be Paprika. But, since experimenting with fennel, I also love the fresh pop that fennel seeds give. That’s where the perfect marriage {like Tatiana and Alexander’s!} begins…

| Fennel Seed & Paprika Potato Latkes

Serves about 6

4 medium-large russet potatoes, peeled and grated

1/4 C chopped onion

2 TBS ground flax seed mixed with 6 TBS water

1/4 C whole wheat flour

1/2-1 TSP fennel seed

1/2 TSP smoky paprika

1/4 TSP salt

1/4 C olive oil {or 1/8 inch deep in your pan}

Ground fennel seed.

Latkes 1

Mix well the potatoes, onion, flax mix, ground fennel seed, paprika, salt and flour.

On medium-high heat {6th notch or so}, drop 2 TBS size flattened balls in the hot oil. In about 2-3 minutes {or until golden-brown}, flip the latkes for an additional 2-3 minutes. Set each cooked latke on a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the oil.

Serve with sour cream and chives {or plain soygurt}.

Latkes 3

Enjoy!

Gazpacho and Spring Cleaning

That title is probably totally weird to you, but yesterday I did probably like my 10th spring cleaning of the year so far, and it always feels so great. Once I’m done, anyway. I tackled about 6 loads of laundry, deep cleaned both bathrooms, organized our closet and coat closet among other tasks {we are still going to clean the kids bedrooms out this weekend – they come home in 11 days!}.

All the spring cleaning, plus the 80+ degree weather {finally!} and our extremely well-behaved puppy at the park all made me think of those simple things that remind me of summer; lazing around on a hot summer day at the pool or a park, all the windows wide open letting in fresh air…

But one thing that’s not really my all-time favorite summer activity is cooking. If you recall, last summer I made a handful of different soups, which sounds crazy in hot weather. My logic is that you just throw everything in one pot, cover it and let it sit. No slaving over a hot stove or multiple burners heating up your house.

Something that {I honestly have no idea why or where I got it from} I have been wanting to make for the past week or two is Gazpacho. I did some reading up on this cold soup, and it’s just my kind of dish. I like foods that don’t always have an exact recipe, rather a backbone that you build off of to fit your palette/fridge/budget.

It was so refreshing and surprisingly FILLING. I couldn’t eat my entire bowl {I think maybe because the water content is so high} but I wish I could have. This recipe makes a huge pot and could probably serve 6 comfortably as a side dish. Possibly the best part is that there’s no heat required.

Gazpacho1

| Gazpacho

Serves approx. 6

5 Roma tomatoes

1 red/purple onion

1 large cucumber

1 red bell pepper

4 celery stalks

3 cloves garlic

1/2 jalapeno

a handful of cilantro

3 TBS tomato juice

3 TBS olive oil

3 TBS white wine vinegar

1/2 TSP salt

avocado to garnish {optional}

1/2 TBS agave

Finely dice the first eight ingredients. Put half of all the vegetables in a blender plus the last 4 ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour out the blended mix into a large bowl and set aside. Add the other half of the vegetables to the blender/food processor and pulse until they become minced, but not pureed. Add in the minced vegetables into the blended vegetables and stir well.

It is best if this soup sits in the fridge for 8+ hours.

Garnish with slices of avocado and a couple sprigs of cilantro, if desired.

Gazpacho2

Enjoy on a hot day!

He Loves Me Like Jesus Does

{Okay, so I couldn’t wait to do another marriage post until Monday. Just couldn’t do it. So happy Marriage Friday!}

 

Have you ever heard that song? I’d say it’s a favorite of mine. I like Eric Church period, but that song…

All the crazy in my dreams,
both my broken wings,
every single piece of everything I am.
[S]he knows the [wo]man I ain’t,
[S]he forgives me when I can’t.
That devil, man, he don’t stand a chance.
[S]he loves me like Jesus does.

I always thought [s]he’d give up on my one day,
Wash [his] hands of me, leave me staring down some runway.
But I thank God each night and twice on Sunday
that [s]he loves me like Jesus does.

 

I can’t say enough good things about my husband. And the saddest part, to me, is that sometimes {most of the time} the way I treat him doesn’t show how I feel about him.

I really am lucky.

I think the world of that man. And he is my world. My whole wide world in one person. This amazing soul of his is one of the biggest motivating factors in me trying better myself. I want to be like him, and have the patience, forgiveness, grace and mercy that he shows this tired, tortured soul on a daily basis.

I hurt him sometimes, and immediately after regret it. I don’t want to hurt him, but I do. And then I think, “God gave him to you to trust his heart in your hands for this temporary life you’re living and this is how you take care of it?”

I never realized how selfish I was until I got married. He gives, gives, gives and I take, take, take without thinking twice and then wanting more.

I’m not going to condemn myself because that would be a reflection of me throwing his love away, and I will not do that.

Somehow, though, this man sees only good in me where, on even my best day, I can maybe find one or two good qualities. I want him to feel the way he makes me feel. My body feels warm when I think about him, and I just begin to get this overwhelmingly comfortable sense in my entire being.

I have never known a love so deep and true until the day I met him.

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Pasta Puttanesca

I’ve heard some very interesting stories about this Italian dish. The name literally translates to, “Whore Style Spaghetti”. One story is that the ingredients were so cheap, it was a staple for Italian night walkers. Another is that prostitutes would make this pungently aromatic, spicy dish and place it on their window sill to draw in men. Whatever story is true, the dish is truly alluring.

I’ve wanted to try my hand at Pasta Puttanesca since I first saw A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s extremely inexpensive, and utterly fool proof. There is a basic recipe here, but the point is that you put in what you have or what you feel like. My ingredients vary a tad from the basic recipe, but it’s mighty fine.

Puttanesca 1

| Pasta Puttanesca

Serves 2

1 TBS olive oil

1/2 TBS minced garlic

1 TSP red pepper flakes

1 – 16 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice

2-3 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 TBS capers

1/4 C kalamata olives, roughly chopped

a dash of salt

2 servings spaghetti, cooked

Puttanesca 4

Saute garlic, crushed red chili flakes and capers in olive oil on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in the can of tomatoes and add the rest of the ingredients plus a couple tablespoons of water. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce reduces a little, add in cooked spaghetti and stir well to incorporate.

Puttanesca 2

Serve and enjoy!

Uplifting in Discouragement Part 4: Final

During the conference, after I had begun to feel the healing process take place in my soul and body, I can honestly tell you that the spiritual warfare began immediately. All of the sudden, I found myself being so distracted, especially during the worship times. I began judging women, which honestly is one thing that I pride myself in not doing. I asked for God to help keep my attention on Him, on worshiping Him and thanking Him for what He was doing.

I could hear things in my brain that are things the real me would never think about. In the middle of a Christian conference. But that just goes to show that God was doing amazing things not just for me, but for hundreds of women. The devil was feeling threatened.

While that’s a great thing, it can also be dangerous if you don’t put your guard up. I had visions of the next week, and saw Satan slowly taking away everything I learned and me spiraling down into my dark place that I so often used to go. I did not want that.

When I felt like I was being healed, I thought to myself, “Wow, God is moving in me and soon, I won’t have to deal with this thing that has plagued me for eight years!” Then I thought about cancelling my therapy appointment because I knew God was going to heal me. But then when I felt that spiritual warfare, I knew that I couldn’t count on myself to keep moving forward. Especially since it had been eight years. I believe that God made therapists and counselors for a reason and so even if it was just for the first appointment, I would go.

And I did. And I love her. She is a Christian counselor who understands how big of a role my faith plays in my healing.

So, me writing all of this down is for me to never forget. Ever. I can say that even since the conference less than two weeks ago, I have had to reread in times of despair. Even just on Saturday, Husband had to help me consciously stop saying terrible things about myself that I didn’t even realize I was. And if someone gains something from this story, well, that’s even better.

I am still constantly a work in progress, but I believe in a God who heals.

Healing

Marriage Mondays: Identity in Marriage

I was talking to one of my best friends about our marriages and how previous issues had molded us so greatly and how those issues have caused negative things. I was married before I met my lovely wife, Savannah, and the events leading up to the end of that marriage completely destroyed my sense of self and who I thought I was. I did not see it at the time, but God was reshaping my identity in Him so that I could better fulfill my role as Savannah’s husband.

It’s important to realize that although you have a very important identity as a couple, you still have your own individual identities as well. I had completely lost mine before and became buried alive under the weight of all my “titles”.

It is by the grace of God everyday that I am any good to my wife and children. By going to God for your identity, He will lead you to your destiny and in turn use you as a man to lead your wife into her destiny and the callings He has for your marriage.

Seek out that truth, and you will be blessed.

Fingerprint

Happy Monday!

-Jason

Uplifting in Discouragement Part 3

Okay, so here’s something very cool. Before all of that emotional, spiritual stuff happened, I had seen the pastor’s wife, Chris, that morning. She stopped by to say good morning, and said, “I had no idea you were coming!” I explained, in short, all of the last minute things that had brought me there and that I was so excited for the weekend. We had our brief conversation, and both went about our business.

After our time of worship, Chris got up to welcome the speaker again and announced that she had some gifts to give away. We had little lanyards with our names and each woman had a different number. She started calling out random numbers and whoever owned the number got up and chose a gift. Now, I’m never the person to win those sorts of things, so I tuned out and just clapped for the women who got something. It was nice little treats such as lotions, soaps and candles. You know, little things that women love.

Anyways, all the gifts had been handed out. Then she said, “I have a couple bigger gifts to give away. God put this person on my heart about 4 months ago {when Katie was getting married. We were all around each other a lot at that time}.” Then she said, “Savannah Lucero,” and I thought, “me?” Well, duh, that’s my name. I walked up to the stage where she was standing and she looked me in the eyes and said, “I have a gift for you, but first; God put you and your husband on my heart, and I wanted to tell you Don’t. Give. Up. Keep pursuing the Lord and He has a special place set aside for the both of you and you are going to do awesome things for Him.”

Wow.

Even thinking about those words that she spoke to me 6 days ago brings tears to my eyes. We haven’t had a lot of rainbows and butterflies in our journey, but those words made me want to keep fighting. And to never give up. I just thought how good God is that He spoke those words to our pastor to give to me at the exact moment I needed it. I had been so down and torn up trying to fight all the battles life has given me. And then this glimpse. This glimpse of the end of our fighting and our struggles, showing me that YES! Someday, it will all be worth it. All of it. And that there won’t be a single thing that I will look back on and think, “Man, I wish I didn’t have to go through that.” Because the end is in sight, and I see a beautiful light glimmering just for husband and I.

So there you have it. Oh yeah, the gift! Remember when I talked about how I {very} briefly thought about going to the spa, and then I saw the prices and changed my mind? Well, that sweet lady gave me a $100 gift card toward the spa!

It was such a special treat and I had been wanting to get a massage for like the past year. It’s awesome to me how she didn’t even know I was going to be there and all these amazing things happened. There for a reason, right?

A glimmer of hope in a dark, dry world.

A glimmer of hope in a dark, dry world.

Okay, there’s still more {yes, I’m sorry. I’m a talker} but until next week, I hope you all enjoy your weekend and beautiful weather!