Friday, June 28, 2013

Food I Ate Friday - Carnitas and 50th Birthdays

Have I mentioned how much I love the family I married into?  They are fantastic.  This week we are celebrating BOTH of my parents-in-law's 50th birthdays, and boy do they know how to party :)  They threw a family bash at their house last weekend and this weekend we are heading to Vegas to celebrate a little more, because really, can you celebrate too much?

The party was wonderful.  Fantastic food, wonderful people and lots of gifts for the fabulous birthday couple!  I will work on a group Vegas picture to share, but we were all just so busy having fun we didn't get one :)  These two REALLY know how to cook, so I figured they deserve their own "Food I Ate Friday" Post!  The simplicity of the meal should not be confused with the quality!  The carnitas were cooked perfectly and the details of the rest of the food were perfectly considered.  It was so fun to have everyone together in their home to celebrate and to be able to help them with anything they needed.

 It is such an honor to have them as parents-in-law and I loved every moment of this.  They deserve the celebration!  

Congratulations you guys :)  Looking forward to many years to come (and to the celebration this weekend)!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Food I Ate Friday - Banh Mi

I have heard of this Vietnamese sandwich before called and Banh Mi, but I honestly never thought twice about it.  There were too many other things stealing my attention in Vietnamese Restaurants - Pho, Vermicelli and the like.  However, on our way home from church last week, Bill and I decided to try something new, and what we discovered was nothing short of delicious!  

Perfectly balanced flavors, incredibly fresh, and all of my favorite ingredients made this a new favorite.  Fresh chilies (I asked for extra of course), cilantro, pickled carrots, pork, scrambled eggs, onions, and a special sauce makes such a great final product.  I just can't stop thinking about it!  

I try to learn something new everyday, and this day what I found out was when people recommend something to you over and over again, you should probably give it a try and not put it off!  I kept saying, "Why didn't we try this sooner?"  

So as you go into your weekend, don't go get the same thing you always get, try something new!  And then tell me about it :)

Wednesday, I tried octopus sashimi.  It was amazing.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Most Recent Obsession - Light Cooking

While I will admit that I love indulgence in food and in the past have not made the healthiest decisions, I have found a new friend in Cooking Light Magazine.  It has a lot of my favorite recipes, but done in a healthy way. that is completely attainable and reasonable. 

I am learning that healthy living is not entirely about sacrifice of everything, rather it is about living smarter.  You really do not lose flavor a lot of the time at the cost of calories.  I am excited to try more recipes I find in this magazine and share them as I go.  My journey is beginning with light exercise and healthy transitions, and I am extremely excited to learn more and more about all the measures I can take to treat my body better.  

I do not need to be in the most incredible shape and I do not need to be the thinnest person you know, but I absolutely need to treat myself with care and respect.  

Here's to lots of veggies and long walks this summer :)  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Food I Ate Fridays - Chili Lime Snap Peas

You know those recipes that sound like they will be good, but when you make them you are simply blown away by how fantastic they turn out?  Well, Real Simple has done it again for me!  These Chili Lime Snap peas were so incredible, and I hope Bill is ready for them to become a staple in our house :)

They seriously take about 5 minutes to put together.  
Please let me know if you love them as much as I do!  


Kosher Salt
1 Pound Snap Peas Trimmed
One Red Chili Pepper (Such as Chili Pepper or Fresno), Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cup of Roasted Peanuts Chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
2 Teaspoons of Canola Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Finely Grated Lime Zest, Plus One Tablespoon
Lime Juice


1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.  Set a bowl of ice water next to the sink.  Add the snap peas to the pot and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain and transfer to the ice water.  Drain and pat dry.

2. Toss together the snap peas, chili, peanuts, cilantro, oil, lime zest, lime juice and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl.  

Dig In!  Happy Friday friends :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Godly Meditation - Thomas More

I am working through a book called spiritual disciplines, and the first section is on meditation.  This selection spoke to my heart and brought me back to reality.  We are called to love God above all else.  I pray it speaks to you as you read it as well.

Give me Thy grace, good Lord, to set the world at naught; to set my mind fast upon Thee; and not to hang upon the blast of men's mouths.
       To be content to be solitary; not to long for worldly company; little and little utterly to cast off the world, and rid my mind of all the business thereof; not to long to hear of any worldly things, but that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me displeasant.
       Gladly to be thinking of God; piteously to call for His help; to lean unto the comfort of God; busily to labour to love Him.
       To know mine own vility and wretchedness; to humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God. To bewail my sins past; for the purging of them patiently to suffer adversity; gladly to bear my purgatory here; to be joyful of tribulations; to walk the narrow way that leadeth to life.
       To bear the cross with Christ; to have the last things in remembrance; to have ever afore mine eye my death that is ever at hand; to make death no stranger to me; to foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell; to pray for pardon before the Judge come.
       To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me; for His benefits uncessantly to give Him thanks.
       To buy the time again, that I before have lost; to abstain from vain confabulations; to eschew light, foolish mirth; and gladness; recreations not necessary to cut off; of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at right nought for the winning of Christ.
       To think my most enemies my best friends; for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favour as they did him with their malice and hatred.
       These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasure of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all upon one heap. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Truth Comes Out - Confessing Frustration

Sometimes lately, for no reason at all, I just want to scream.  I want to run around like a child and stomp my feet and scream because life is hard and overwhelming and a lot more work than we can possibly imagine and I do not even have kids or financial struggles or any real problems.  I assume I am not alone, but I also feel like everyone is afraid to admit it.  Like, if they ignore it, their desire to lose control and punch a wall will go away.  We all experience frustration, and sometimes I think it is healthy to just scream.  

Sure, running has been a tension releasing outlet, but sometimes you just need to let it out in a silly, ridiculous, 5 year old having a temper tantrum way.  I don't have control, and I am learning to accept that.  I wish I could tell you I scream on a regular basis, but I fit in with the millions putting on a show and not wanting to break down in front of those that matter most to them.

However, after this post is published, feel free to unashamedly scream around me, because it will provide me the freedom to do it too :)  If I am honest, it might even relieve me of the need to because my frustrations are so insignificant compared to others around me.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Foods I Am Currently Missing

I have been missing some food that I just cannot get here in California to the same caliber as the places it belongs.  Every area has their specialties, and lately I have been missing the 4 listed below somethin' fierce!  

1. Maryland Crab Feasts

If you have never had a Maryland crab feast, I am so sorry. 

Imagine the most incredible smell of Old Bay wafting through the air covering the crabs that have been practically soaking in it while they cook to perfection.  The art of cracking open a crab and knowing how to proceed is something anyone in Maryland can teach you.  We have names for every part of the crab and it is such a treasured tradition.  

Is it fun?  Is it delicious?  You have NO idea until you have tried it how fun and how delicious it is.  When you are elbow deep in juicy, crabby goodness,  to the point that you are licking your hands and they are burning but you keep going for more - then you will be able to answer for your self, its amazing.  I am missing this Maryland pastime as I type these words and I am missing the summer in Maryland where it seems to happen every other week.

2. Popovers

These golden beauties hale from New England, and mostly North of Boston - Popovers.  Then are similar to a muffin, but not as dense.  They are light and delicate and are generally served with honey butter or jam/jelly of your flavor preference.  However, they are also hollow in the middle and can be cut open carefully and stuffed with different items to make like a hollowed out sandwich.

They are incredible delicious when fresh out of the oven and just seeing this picture makes me want to head to Maine to scoop up one of these beauties with a cup of tea while I sit and read looking out at a beautiful view.  What a fun treat they are!  Oh, and don't try to make these in a regular muffin tin, they are about twice as tall and need their own special popover pan :)

3. Italian Coffee

Italian coffee... It's like a dream.  What I like most is that you cannot get coffee "to-go" in Italy, you have to sit and enjoy.  Imagine that, being in a community that is not so much in a rush that they invent drive throughs to get coffee.  Come on America, really?!?!  What's the rush?

Italy knows what's up.  They enjoy and savor every sip of coffee and the smell - Oh my!  It is like heaven has come and rested in a tiny little room.  The culture is incredible to keep such a simple thing sacred - a good cup of coffee and a relaxing moment go hand in hand there, and I miss it so much lately.  The sensory memory is so strong, just smelling a cup of good coffee brings me back to Italy time and time again.

4. Bangkok Street Food

Somehow, while the aforementioned foods are near and dear to my heart, Thailand captured me hook line and sinker with the street food we ate there.  Bill and I ate everything we could get our hands on, and no matter what it was (and whether we could figure out what it was or not), it was absolutely delicious.  

We loved getting breakfast at a food cart and eating fried rice with fried eggs and watching them cook it, then sitting two feet away while we ate it.   We loved getting food handed to us in baggies that we would normally eat off a plate and having to spear it to eat it off a stick.  We loved all the intense flavors and soaked it up so much that just looking at this picture makes me heart happy and sink at the same time.  I wish I was there now eating curry and papaya salad and amazing soups and just diving head first into the Thai flavors that their culture is so famous for.

Who knew food memories could have these effects on me!

I wish I could be in each of these places right now, but I am learning to enjoy what I have around me because there is someone out there craving what my current culture offers :)  So, if you are missing amazing Mexican food or Rogers family pizza (a little something thrown in for my fantastic family - and believe me you would miss it if you had it!) consider yourself lucky for what you do have, and share it all with me on here so I know that I am not alone!

I'm guessing I made you all crave something :)  

Happy eating!