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?

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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.

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.

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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}.

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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.

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| 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.

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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.

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| 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

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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.

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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

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!

Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

Normally, when I think of salad, I definitely don’t think of warmth on my plate. I think of cool, crisp leaves with sweet tomatoes, creamy avocado and crunchy onions with some sort of a tangy dressing.

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But, when April is almost over and it’s still snowing, thinking of a summer salad sort of depresses you. Monday and Tuesday it snowed about 5 inches, but today I am not complaining. Almost all of the snow melted late afternoon yesterday, and with this 50 degree weather today and my 10 day forecast, I believe we’re in the clear {knock on wood, cross my fingers, say a little prayer}.

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So when I’m craving a salad, but the weather isn’t cooperating {don’t get me wrong – it’s possible to have a cold salad when the weather’s cold – just doesn’t feel right to me}, a warm salad is the way to go.

I have been eating a lot of cabbage over the last week. For one, it’s cheap as dirt, and two, read this.

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|Warm Cabbage & Fennel Salad

serves 4

1 head white cabbage

2 fennel bulbs

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1/2 TSP minced lemongrass

a TSP olive oil

a pinch of S&P

Cut the fronds off the fennel, then quarter and cut 1/4 inch slices. Begin to saute the fennel and onions in olive oil on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the fennel and onions are cooking, quarter the cabbage and slice into ribbons. When the fennel and onions begin to caramelize, toss in the cabbage and lemongrass with a few TSP water. Cover, raise heat one or two notches, and stir every few minutes for a total of about 10-15, or until cabbage has wilted and begins to brown {add a TBS of water at a time if the veggies are sticking to the pan}.

Remove from heat, add S&P, tossing to coat.

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Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

So I have been hearing rave reviews about daikon radishes, but I’m going to be honest with you; this veggie loving girl isn’t as aroused by radishes as one would think. Not raw, anyways.

I find their bite to be overwhelming, so with such an attention-stealing vegetable, I think it’s best to go the simple route.

Daikon Radish

I do have to tell you, I was a little nervous as to how this would turn out, but as the carrots were caramelizing and the radish was browning in the oven, the overwhelming smells of everything melding together truly captured me. The garlic salt is absolutely necessary, and is the period at the end of the sentence for this meal.

I am pleased to say I was very satisfied. Served over some brown rice or quinoa with a pinch of soy sauce, you will find yourself asking for more.

| Oven Roasted Daikon and Baby Carrots

Serves 1

1 large daikon radish

3/4 C baby carrots

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1/4 TSP garlic salt

a pinch of sea salt

1 TBS soy sauce

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the daikon and chop off the ends. Slice into 1/2-1/4 inch rounds. Drizzle the olive oil on a 1 inch deep baking sheet, and toss in the radish slices and baby carrots. Sprinkle in the garlic salt, sea salt and pour the soy sauce over the top. Toss everything to coat, arranging everything in a fairly even layer.

Place the dish in the oven for 30-40 minutes, tossing the veggies about every 10.

When everything is soft and the edges begin to get fairly crispy, the veggies are done. Serve immediately.

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Enjoy!

Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

So, I literally just realized that I am writing another post about sweet potatoes. Seriously? Good thing they are quite versatile.

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And also, kale? Kale is the trend when it comes to health food these days, and I can totally see why. Kale has more iron than beef {that’s awesome news for those with deficiencies}, more calcium than a glass of milk, and significantly more vitamin C than spinach, among many other things.

Purple Kale

Kale, for me, is better cooked. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat it raw, but I prefer it cooked, and this combination is not only a huge handful of many super foods, but also freakin’ delicious. Plus, it’s a one-pot meal, perfect for those lazier days.

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| Smoky Sweet Potato Hash with Kale and Black Beans

serves 2-3

1 TBS olive oil

1 large sweet potato, chopped into very small pieces

1/4 red onion, chopped

7 oz black beans {half a can} drained and rinsed

3 large Kale leaves, cut into thin ribbons

a dash of salt

a dash of cayene

1/2 TSP smoky paprika

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, cook in an even layer the sweet potatoes, covering. Stir every couple of minutes for about 15 minutes total.

Add in the chopped onion and continue cooking for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans with the spices, again in an even layer after being well incorporated, and cover for another couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.

When everything is nice and somewhat crispy, add in the ribbons of kale, and cook until just wilted.

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Enjoy!