Friday, February 25, 2011

Mexican Mac 'n Cheese



How could I resist this recipe!  A Mexican twist on any recipe should be excellent.

This was super easy to make and had a great flavor.  It makes a ton so get ready for leftovers too.  I think I might actually have to freeze some since we have so much.

I served it with a simple salad.

My allergies have really kicked in this week with the warm weather.  That means I haven't been exercising like I should because I just feel drained.  Hopefully my body will adjust and I can get back out there this weekend.  Any tips of what you do when your feeling a little sluggish and do not want to exercise?

Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Taco Mac
Source:  Adapted from annies-eats.net



Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 8 oz. dry pasta (gluten free)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Scoop out a 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.  Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet cook ground beef over medium high heat.  When beef is almost cooked through add chopped onions.  Cook until translucent and beef is done.  Next, add minced garlic.  Cook ~30 sec. or until fragrant.  Mix in tomatoes and taco seasoning.  Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.    Stir in cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream, and reserved pasta water.  Stir until cream cheese is melted and sauce is well mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce sauce.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and cilantro (I forgot this part:).  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leek and Potato Dill Soup



This is my lunch meal of the week.  Something I knew my husband wouldn't love, but I wanted to try.  Alex was a trooper.  He took one bite and was pleasantly surprised that he liked the flavor.

This was my first time cooking with leeks.  I had no clue how they were going to taste!  I bought 3-1lb. frozen bags from Trader Joe's.  On the way home I kept smelling something like garlic in the car, but knew I didn't buy garlic.  When I got home and cut open the bag I thought the leeks smelt kind of like onion.  Alex looked them up and sure enough they are in the onion and garlic family.  My nose was right on!

The recipe called for 6.5 cups of vegetable broth.  I only used one carton.  You can use the recommended amount if you like it a little thinner.

I think, with the addition of the cheese, this soup tastes like a healthy french onion soup without the bread.  It made about 5 servings so I froze three for another week because I thought I might get sick of it if I ate it every single day this week for lunch.

I think this soup would taste great served with some toasted french bread.  I enjoyed it with some tortilla chips.

On a side note, my best friend from high school, Molly, is super talented in a the sewing and monogramming department.  You should check out her blog.  Here is a sample of a blanket she crocheted for me when I got married (almost 5 years ago).



Leek Soup with Dill Oil
Source: 101cookbooks.com



Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch of fresh dill ~ .5 oz (the container I bought from Publix was 1 oz so I used half)
  • 9 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3.5 lbs. of leeks (or 3-1b. bags of frozen leeks)
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter (or if you use salted like I did just skip the addition of salt)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large, potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6.5 cups of vegetable broth, heated
  • Toppings: toasted almonds (I skipped this) and grated Gruyère cheese (I used a mixed cheese of grated Gruyère and swiss)
Directions:

In a blender or food processor, puree the dill and olive oil into a creamy green emulsion.  Set aside.

Cut the dark, tough green leaves from the leeks, trim off the roots, and wash/rinse well if you are using fresh leeks.  Slice the leeks and chop roughly.  If you are using frozen skip this step.



In a large soup pot, heat the butter and 5 tbsp. of dill oil over medium high heat.  When the butter is melted and bubbling, stir in the leeks (frozen or fresh) and a few pinches of salt.  Stir until the leeks are well coated.  Cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks soften up and collapse, 6-8 minutes (a little longer if you used frozen).



 Now, stir in the potatoes and garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring regularly, for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft (they should be soft enough to mash with a potato masher).  Turn the heat down if the leeks start to brown at the bottom of the pot.  Make sure to stir the bottom so they do not over cook.  At this point mash everything in pot with a potato masher or large fork.  Mash as much or as little as you like depending on your preference for chunky or smooth soup.  Stir in the hot broth until the thickness reaches your liking.  Bring back to a simmer and serve hot topped with almonds, cheese, and a drizzle of remaining dill oil.

Spinach Feta Dip

I had to sample it to make sure it was edible:)

We went to Alex's parent's house on Monday for dinner.  We were celebrating Dakin's birthday!  Susan made yummy potatoes, cesar salad, and steaks.  It was awesome.  Oh, and how could I forget the apple pie.  I didn't get to eat the crust, but the filling was delicious.

I love the time spent at family dinner gatherings.  It is relaxing and always full of good conversation.

I brought an appetizer to share.  It was super easy to throw together.  I served it with tortilla chips and cucumber slices.   I think pita chips would have been a better pick for those who do eat gluten.

My picky husband does not like feta or cucumbers so he opted out of eating this one!

Speaking of my picky husband, I just finished a great book that was recommended by my friend Lauren.  It is a good read for any wife, but especially ones that struggle with balancing attention from her husband and his attention with his job.  Here is a link to read a preview of Her Husband is Known in the Gates.



Spinach Feta Dip
Source:  Annie's Eats



Ingredients:
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • Ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
In a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic until finely chopped.  Add in the mayonnaise, sour cream, feta and lemon zest.  Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the spinach and season with black pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Breakfast Smoothie



I realized the other morning that I have never blogged on my breakfast smoothie.  I drink this EVERY morning except Sunday's when Alex and I cook breakfast.

It is super quick and easy + very healthy.  Alex is now drinking it too!

You can play around and make it your own depending on what fruits and veggies (yes, spinach and kale can be added without changing the taste).

I buy my protein powder from Progressive Medical Center.  It is the perfect flavor.  It doesn't taste like nasty, chalky powder.  Alex uses RAW protein which I think tastes disgusting.  Maybe I am becoming the picky one in the relationship:)  Regardless of what you use just be very conscious of the ingredients.  Some are packed full of things your body doesn't need.  Both of our choices are vegan.  I limit my dairy intake where I can (protein powder, almond milk, and coconut creamer) so this was an easy choice for me.  Let me know if you have any other questions on protein powder.

Breakfast Smoothie (or anytime of day meal)

I have been using regular frozen blueberries, but after reading an article on pesticides I figured this might be an area to step up and buy organic since I consume it daily.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
Put it all in the blender and turn it on.  We have a vitamix which gets everything nice and smooth, but when I used a regular blender I often had some blueberry chunks that would not blend up.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Smoked Chicken Sausage and Roasted Kale


I love this dinner.  If you have been following my blog you know that I don't often pick recipes that only have a few ingredients.  I like the challenge of cooking.  There are weeks though that I wish I would make a simple menu that is quick and easy.

I adapted this dinner idea from one of my new favorite blogs, Peanut Butter Fingers.  We have very similar view points on health and fitness!  I really enjoyed kale, for the first time, while in Athens eating at Last Resort Grill.  One of my favorite restaurants.  Definitely check it out next time you visit the city that bleeds Red and Black!  Go DAWGS!

I love the chicken sausage from Trader Joe's because I can actually read all the ingredients.  It wasn't packed full of junk!

One link was perfect for me since I was eating solo on Thursday night.  Alex went down to SafeHouse to volunteer with the high school students at North Point's InsideOut and two other guys from our marriage small group.

I liked it so much that I plan on making it again for lunch today.  First on the list though is a short run in this amazing Atlanta weather.

Hope you enjoy!

Smoked Chicken Sausage and Roasted Kale

Fresh kale ready to be roasted (my new favorite way to eat veggies)!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 package of Smoked Andouille Chicken Sausage 
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Salt
Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

After rinsing kale under cold water, pull off leaves from rough stem.  Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Next sprinkle a little garlic salt and toss to coat.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  Our oven cooks super fast so mine took only about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it and stir frequently to allow it to get crispy all over.

While the kale is roasting, cut up the sausage links and cook over medium heat in a pan until browned.  



Serve sausage over yummy kale.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tomato Soup


My Mom was recently diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on her face.  She had surgery on Tuesday to have the spot removed.  We are so thankful that it was not a huge spot, although fairly deep.

I wanted to cook her something light and healthy that she could eat this week, instead of worrying about being in the kitchen.  She has been on Weight Watchers for a while and really enjoys their program.  Recently they announced that fruits and veggies no longer count towards your points.  When I read this recipe and saw that most of the ingredients were going to be point free I figured it was a big winner.

Plus, my picky husband does not like tomatoes so this gave me a chance to try it without being stuck with the whole batch by myself!

I bought two different kinds of tomatoes at Sam's to make up my 5 lbs.  I found the smaller ones were easier to peel.  Instead of being all technical when they came out of the boiling water, I just peeled the skin, squeezed them over a pot, and took the hard remaining part and put it in the trash can!

Everyone has given this soup two thumbs up!

I hope you enjoy!

Not-So-Basic Tomato Soup
Source:  The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook



Ingredients:
  • 5 lbs. fresh tomatoes (any combination of types will do)
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp organic honey (or whatever you have at home)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
Directions:

Wash tomatoes under cold running water.  Remove green crowns.



Bring several cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan or soup pan.  Place whole tomatoes in boilding water just long enough to split and loosen their outer skin.  You may have to do this in batches.  Once the skins are loose remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and drop them in a bowl of ice water.  This will stop the cooking process and accelerates the cooloing of the tomatoes.  When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, loosen the skins with your hands.  (This is where I just squeezed them and removed the hard part.)  Or the directions say quarter the tomatoes and remove the hard inner core.  

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Place all the tomatoes in the pot.  Add 1/2 cup of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately reduce the heat.  Add fresh basil, cover the pot and allow the tomatoes to simmer for about 30 minutes or until they are soft.  Stir the mixture occasionally.  Remove from heat.

The next step I modified, I put the mixture into the blender and pureed.  (The original had you put it through a food mill to remove seeds.  A seed never killed anybody!).  Return to pot and allow to simmer.  Stir in the honey and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

NOTE:  You can add some fresh spinach to the bottom of your soup bowl and ladle soup on top.  By the time you get towards the bottom they will be nice and wilted.  Adds a little more nutrition.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Asian Grilled Chicken with Broccoli Slaw



Apparently I am over eating left-overs from dinner this week.  I decided to make a meal on Monday just for my lunches this week.  While I was on my detox diet back in April, I had to get creative with my meals.  I couldn't have dairy or gluten in my detox.  I found this yummy recipe in my Southern Living Quick and Easy cookbook.

The first time we made it, we grilled the chicken.  This time I just baked it because it was more convenient.  I also halved the recipe since Alex isn't a big fan.  The sauce is too sweet for his taste.  Since I would be eating it all week, I did not premix the marinade with the slaw.  I put it into individual salad dressing containers and just warmed it in the microwave with the chicken.  I then topped the cut up chicken and slaw with it like salad dressing.


Time saving tip:  go ahead and make your lunch for the week.  I put out four containers and filled them with the broccoli slaw, a few green onion slices, and sesame seeds.  Next I filled four salad dressing containers with remaining marinade.  Lastly, I placed a chicken breast into a separate zip-lock bag.  I put these each into an individual Kroger bag with a fork and knife and there you have it, lunch for the week!

Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken With Sweet Soy Slaw and Dipping Sauce
Source:  Southern Living Quick and Easy Cookbook



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 8 pieces of crystallized ginger (I believe I found this in a bag in the natural food section of Kroger by their mixed nut selection)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 2-12oz. packages broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted (oops I forgot to toast mine)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat.  (Mixture will thicken.)  Reserve 1 1/2 cups soy mixture, and set aside.



Brush both sides of chicken evenly with remaining soy mixture; cover and let stand 10 minutes.  

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium hight heat (350-400 degrees) 6-8 minutes on each side or until done.  (Or bake at 350 degrees until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees).

Toss together broccoli slaw, green onions, sesame seeds, and 1/2 cup reserved soy mixture; top with grilled chicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with remaining 1 cup reserved soy mixture.  



Note:  This can also be used with grilled salmon.  Just substitute 6-4oz. salmon fillets for chicken, and grill 4-6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes with a fork.  (I think this would be awesome, but my picky husband does  not care for Salmon).  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lobster Tails


Happy belated Valentine's day!  Alex has never been a big fan of this day because of all the publicity.  We have always had a tradition, in our 9 years of being together, of eating good food for V-Day.  We used to splurge and go out to eat at a fancy place, but realized we could get way more bang for the buck by cooking something fabulous at home.


This year in my search for something fun and different I found out how to make lobster tails from one of my favorite blogs, Annie's Eats.  She always makes the best stuff.

I was a little nervous because Lobster Tails are not cheap and I didn't want to mess them up, so I put Alex in charge of them:)  He did all the cutting and prying of the meat.  (It really isn't hard, but just a new challenge).

They came out great and tasted delicious.  I served them with a sweet potato for myself and a baked potato for my picky husband who refuses to eat sweet potatoes.  We also made roasted brussel sprouts for the first time.  I didn't hate them, but I wouldn't call them my new favorite veggie either.  Our oven cooks super fast so I think they got a little crispier than they should have.  Maybe I will get brave and try them again.  Only time will tell.


Ingredients:
(get ready this is a hard one)

  • Lobster tails (one for each person)
  • Salted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice
Directions:

*Spend a little extra to get a good quality lobster tail.  We got ours at Whole Foods.  They were still a little frozen so we put them in a bowl of hot water while they were still in their bag for a few minutes to defrost.  

Lay the lobster tails flat on a foil lined baking sheet.  Cut the shell straight down the middle with kitchen shears.  Use your fingers to pull the meat apart from the shell (be careful, the shell can be sharp).  Once the meat is loose pull it out so it can rest on the shell like the picture below.


My Valentine with his handy work.  Notice his finger is still not 100%:(  He did a good job of getting the lobster meat loose even with a gimpy hand.

Turn your oven on broil.  Spread melted butter on each tail.  Broil the lobster tails for 6-9 minutes.  I like it well done so we put it in for the full time.  If you cut into it and it isn't done, just pop it back in.

While it is cooking heat some butter on the stove.  When a layer of butter fat has formed on top skim it off.  Use the remaining drawn butter for dipping your lobster meat.  Once the lobster tail comes out squeeze lemon on top and serve.


Delicious!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tutterrow Breakfast Scramble



I love cooking our Sunday morning breakfast together!  I get to enjoy more than one cup of coffee, listen to music, and hang out with my favorite person first thing in the morning.  I like it because we can clean out the refrigerator and use the left over veggies from the week in an egg scramble.

The weather was awesome so we followed up this breakfast with a fun walk at the park, with all three dogs.  That is always an adventure!

Feel free to throw in whatever you have in your fridge.  We served this with some hash browns.

Egg scramble
Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
You have to splurge with a little bacon every once in a while!

Chop the spinach first, if you put it in like this then it will take forever for it to break up.

Cook onion, garlic, and spinach over medium heat until spinach is defrosted and onion is transparent.  Add egg, bacon, and cheese and cook until done.  Serve with yummy fruit or side of your choice.

I sautee some onions first in olive oil, add a little more olive oil, add hash browns.  Serve with Trader Joe's organic ketchup.  Yum!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blood Oranges



I just discovered blood oranges last week while I was shopping at Trader Joe's.  I grabbed a bag so I could take one to work each day for a mid-morning snack.  I was a little nervous when I cut my first one open and saw how they got their name (the insides are indeed the color of blood).

After smelling them (yes, I needed to make sure they weren't too odd) I decided to give it a try.  Delicious!  They were a little tangier than your average sweet orange, but still sweet enough.  It was a nice break from traditional oranges.  These guys are also packed with 110% of your daily vitamin C.  You can't beat that!

The only con to these guys...they are a little bit more messy to eat then a traditional orange because of the color.

Oh, and my picky husband won't touch them because of the color.  One day!

Here is a website if you want even more information.

What is your favorite healthy snack at work?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


This soup was amazing and super healthy.  It did take a little while to make, which most soups do, but it was well worth the wait!

I realized last night, in the almost 5 years that we have been married, I have never used my roasting pan.  I broke it in last night.

This is a great soup to make for someone who is vegetarian, vegan, or dairy free.  I loved the flavor and the guiltless feeling of knowing it was super good for you too!

I had no idea if Alex was going to like it, but he did!  He was pleasantly surprised at the sweet and rich flavor the soup had.

I got this recipe from Tosca Reno'cook book that goes along with The Eat Clean Diet.  I highly recommend both the book, The Eat Clean Diet Recharged, and the cook book.  I like her approach to good nutrition vs. being so focused on cutting foods out or just losing weight.


Let me know what you think!



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Source:  The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large butternut squash
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp.  rice bran oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2 cups low-sodium, low fat chicken or vegetable stock (I used one can of what I had in the pantry)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • ground nutmeg
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Prepare a large roasting pan by pouring the 1/3 cup of olive oil into it, letting it coat the bottom.  Cut the squash in half and remove seeds and string.  Place squash in roasting pan, cut side down.  Prick the skins with a sharp knife.  Place onion around the squash.  Using a sharp knife cut the top of the garlic bulb off and drizzle with rice bran oil or olive oil. (NOTE:  before cutting off the top of the garlic, hold over the sink and rub all the excess coating off the garlic so it doesn't come off in the pan.)  Place in the roasting pan with the other vegetables.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.  Remove and let stand.  

The roasted garlic makes this dish!

Scrape the baked squash into a large stock pot.  (I held the squash with an oven mitt because it was still warm)  Add the roasted onion and squeeze roasted garlic flesh in as well.  (some of the onion was a little over cooked, don't add this because it will give it a burnt flavor:)).  Add chicken stock and lime juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Using a hand blender (or other food processor) to puree the soup until it is evenly smooth.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with nutmeg, salt and pepper (since I used regular chicken broth I did not need to add any salt).  


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sour Cream Enchiladas

I love candles with dinner, even if we are in our PJ's!

You should have expected a Mexican dish to be coming soon.  It has been way too long.  Don't worry, we have had Mexican out the past two nights:)  I can't get enough of it.

We tried a new Mexican place called Pico Autentico that just opened in Roswell.  It was previously called Relish.  The owners closed Relish and decided to take on a Mexican flare.  I was nervous about trying it because the two reviews on Yelp were not good.  I was expecting the worst.  Alex and I thought it was great.  Good guacamole, cheese dip, and carne asada tacos.  Yum!

Apparently I have not had enough because my mouth was watering on the way home to make these super easy enchiladas.  I altered the recipe by adding the remaining enchilada sauce before cooking.  After I put it in the oven I realized I had a can of black beans that would have been good to add into the sour cream mixture. I did top these yummy enchiladas with green onions and avocado.  The avocado is a must!

Alex enjoyed coming home late from work to this easy meal.  I hope you enjoy!



Sour Cream Enchiladas
Source:  Adapted from Pioneer Woman's Blog

Ingredients:
  • 12 whole corn tortillas
  • canola oil, for frying
  • 1 can (20 oz) enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Optional: can of black beans (drained and rinsed), avocado, salsa, additional green onions for topping
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together sour cream, green onions, 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, cumin, and cayenne pepper (plus black beans if you like them).



Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Heat enchilada sauce in a separate skillet or saucepan.  Using tongs, fry tortillas one at a time, for only about 5-10 seconds per side (don't allow to crisp).  Remove from the oil, then dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce.  Lay tortilla on a plate, then spoon a good two or three tablespoons of the sour cream mixture in the middle.  Roll tortilla, then place face down in a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture.
(if any of the mixture is left over use it as a dip for tortilla chips)
Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas and cover the dish with the remaining cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly.
Serve immediately.  Place a dollop of sour cream, avocado, salsa, and green onions on top of each serving as you desire.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Shrimp de Gallo

What a weekend!  Alex and I were gone from Friday night through Sunday morning at a weekend event called myLIFE.  We both lead a small group, mine 9th grade girls and his 9th grade boys.  With InsideOut there are three main events outside of our typical Sunday routine.  The first is The Walk held at the beach for 5 days during the summer.  Next, is Vertical Reality weekend held up in Jasper at Sharptop Cove in the fall.  Last, myLIFE held locally for a weekend.  All four campuses came together.  This meant 1,300 high school students in one place!  AHHH!

I am blessed to have about 22 girls that I lead.  Only 12 were able to make it for this amazing weekend.  They are great girls who really have a desire to grow in their relationship with Christ.  The theme of the weekend was to help them spend time deciding who they want to be and to realize who do they currently model their life after. Is it the pretty girl in math who seems to have it all, the sporty girl who plays volleyball and looks like a pro, is it the girl who can sing and might be the next American Idol?  By the end of the weekend they realized they have the most perfect model ever right at their finger tips, Jesus.  They discovered ways to learn more about Him and how to change their lives to live like He did.

This was the perfect weekend for these girls.  I am sure you remember what it was like to be in 9th grade and feel so lost and confused.  To find who you are at this age is a blessing.  I know some adults who are still struggling with this concept.

I was running late on Friday because I had to finish up at work.  My girls were told to hang out in the room we do small group time in at the church.  When I got there I found them being about as mischievous as 9th grade girls get...playing in an abandoned Target grocery cart.  We still have no idea why it was in our room or where it came from!  (Well, it obviously came from Target, but how did it get to North Point!).


What else would 9th grade girls do while waiting for the first session but play with each other's hair?  Get in line and let's start braiding!


The entire group!  What a beautiful group of girls!

Alex and I were more than a little exhausted when we got home Sunday morning, so when Susan (my mother-in-law) invited us over to watch the Super Bowl and eat chili we jumped at the offer.  I ran out to the grocery store after we got home to grab the ingredients for an appetizer to bring.  I knew once I hit the couch I wouldn't be able to move until it was time for dinner.

This dip was easy to throw together and healthy too.  I figured there would be enough of your typical super bowl food.  I was disappointed that Trader Joe's didn't have any ripe avocados.  I think it would have been a great addition.  The taste was good without.  



Shrimpo de Gallo
Source:  Pioneer Woman's Blog
Ingredients:
  • 1 pound of cooked shrimp (tails removed), chopped
  • 1/2 whole red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup green or black olives, chopped (I used green because I don't really care for black)
  • 2 whole tomatoes, diced
  • 2 whole fresh jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 2 whole avocados, chopped
  • 2 whole limes, juiced
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 2 cups cilantro, chopped (I don't think I used quite this much, just eyeball it)
Directions:
Combine shrimp, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and jalapeños in a large bowl.  Add lime juice and salt to taste. Add cilantro.  Stir gently with a spoon, taste to determine if you need more lime or salt.  (I also added about 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder to taste).  Chill before serving.  Add avocado right before you serve so it does not turn brown.    Serve with tortilla chips.