Fasting

For the last four weeks, I have been participating in a fast with two of my friends from our Sunday School class. Actually, we will be doing several fasts over the course of the first seven months of the year but this first one was food. And I think this one will be the hardest. Well, until we get to media. But we’ll cross that bridge later.

Food is 3 times a day. Every time I would finish eating, I would only be able to wait a few hours before I started thinking about it again. This wasn’t something that I chose once during the day and then I just phoned it in the rest of the day. Nope, 3 times a day, about every 5 hours.

Food is also so social. We love having people over to eat and hang out and extend hospitality. But how do you do that when you have such limited things you can offer? And you can’t really go out to eat very many places or order much.

My foods were chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, rice, beans, onion, potato, spinach, and oranges. And water. Truthfully, I didn’t do it perfectly. If we went out to eat, I wasn’t going to be that pain in the ass that ordered plain spinach and chicken, but I tried to keep with the spirit of the fast at least. The water was hard. My tea in the morning is such a ritual. And I did indulge in a glass of wine a few times. But overall, I felt better drinking so much water.

Ryan saved me, though. Although he wasn’t technically participating, he cooked and made it easy for me because I would have come home and eaten rice and beans every night and cried. But he made it exciting and happy and experimented with food. I’m so thankful he likes to cook.

I didn’t get all the books read that I wanted to this month. I specifically wanted to read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen, Year of No Sugar (I’m not 100% sure who wrote it and I’m being lazy and not looking it up), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m currently about half-way through Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I’m loving it. The first few chapters were super dense and I thought there was no way I’d be able to read it, but now I’m loving it. Kingsolver (who wrote The Poisonwood Bible) and her family set out to grow and provide their own food for a year and anything they couldn’t grow, they sourced locally. Yes, including meat. I’m currently very excited for the Farmer’s Market to come back and am thinking about reordering our Fresh Harvest basket. And I can’t wait for summer to eat a ripe tomato!

In the middle of this, Ryan decided to do a food challenge. But basically the opposite of my food challenge. For years, every time we’ve watched Man vs. Food, he has said, “Oh, I could totally do that.” So finally, I looked at him and said then do it. He found one and one Saturday, we headed to Cheeky’s so he could try to eat a 7 lb burrito. He wasn’t able to do it, but our waitress was very impressed with how much he ate. She said he ate more than she and 4 of her friends did. I pointed out to him on the way there how ironic it was that while I’m in the middle of this food fast, praying and thinking about how we eat and food insecurity around the country and world, that he is going and eating 7 lbs of food in one sitting. We’re so American. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

I’m still not sure what my final takeaway is from this month. I’m praying that God can help us see what a privilege it is that we have so much food and that we don’t take it for granted. That we use this privilege to help local farmers and eat more real food and that he opens doors for us to help those without access to real food. And that convenience isn’t my first priority anymore when it comes to food. And that God may be glorified by the choices I make.

But I’m especially praying that I don’t make this about me. This is about God and his kingdom.

“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58: 6-8


7 Things on Friday Because Why Not?

1. On Monday morning, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, passed away. He was 93. It’s hard to be too sad when someone has lived as long and as full of a life as he did and we know he is with Jesus, but I know he will be so missed by his family, friends, and those who worked with him. He left an amazing legacy with just a simple chicken sandwich. So on Wednesday, Ryan and I drove thru for an Ice Dream cone for him and a sundae for me. It was delicious. Thanks for everything, Truett.

2. Jolene had her temperament test at doggie daycare on Monday and passed with flying colors. She was so exhausted Monday night she could barely keep her head up. Of course, they have a webcam so I spent some of the day watching her. It was so cute. Monday was also my first full Monday to work. I used to go in some Mondays and come and go as I pleased. No more. It was weird, but good. She looked so little in this big bed. She knows where the comfy spot is.

3. The Dawgs play OBC and South Carolina tomorrow in Columbia. I’m nervous, even though S. Carolina hasn’t shown us too much so far. Several people are predicting Georgia in the final tournament, but give me a break. We’ve only played one game. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. I’ve been a Dawg fan too long to get my hopes up like that.

4. This has been one of the lowest key weeks for us in a while. Ryan and I have both been home every night and it’s been nice. Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and we watched the Smithsonian channel’s documentary on it. The people they get on those are amazing- Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick and Lynn Cheney, reporters that were on the plane with the President, his chief of staff. I love that they are doing so much to preserve our history, the good and the bad. Ryan even commented that there were two football games on and we were watching it, that’s how good it was.

5. We FINALLY got our living room and dining room painted yesterday, along with the kitchen ceiling and back door. As soon as I get everything put back on the walls and cleaned up, I’ll take some pictures and post them. But it looks SO much better! It’s just amazing what a coat of paint will do. This is what it looked like when I left for work yesterday morning.

6. Well, I was only going to do 5 things, but then I remembered a sixth! And I can’t believe I forgot this one! Yes, William and Kate announced baby #2 is on the way! So excited and I hope this one will be a girl. I read this week that Diana once mentioned that Charles always wanted a daughter. I’m sure he thinks of Kate as a daughter and Camilla has granddaughters, but how precious would William be with a little girl? And I’m quite sure she would be dressed impeccably.

7. And then I remembered another. I feel like I was in a reading slump most of summer, but I finally abandoned the book I was stuck on and am back at it in full force. It’s amazing the difference a good book makes. I flew threw Insurgent and now I’m reading The Nesting Place and Rebecca loaned me The Language of Flowers and so many people told me they loved it, so I’m excited to see what it’s about. Not much beats a good book.

Happy weekend!


Pinterest Wins (And One Semi-Fail)

I’ve had a few Pinterest wins lately, so I thought I’d be nice and share what worked for me (and what didn’t). Anytime I do something, I try to move it to my “Completed” board with a review of it. It’s my own way of crossing things off my “to do” list.

This weekend, we went to Pease and Ross’s for dinner and I volunteered to bring dessert. I wanted something easy and relatively customizable and that I wouldn’t have tons of leftovers. There a lots of crescent roll desserts, so I decided to do a crescent roll “bar.” I just grabbed peanut butter, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar, and an apple and wrapped up whatever anyone wanted. Ryan and I had the apple/cinnamon sugar and it was good, but the apple didn’t get soft enough. I didn’t try the other ones, but honestly, I can’t image they wouldn’t be good.

At the risk of this being TMI, our towels lately have been smelling like mildew. Um, disgusting. So I have seen several of these types of pins about washing in vinegar and baking soda and decided just to go for it. And it worked! Hallelujah! Pillows, you are up next!

I’ve heard about Skinny Taste recipes for years, but had never actually tried one. I pinned this turkey meatball recipe and immediately got a comment from someone that they had made them and they were delicious. So I didn’t waste any time. And they were so good! Ryan loved them and I definitely need to make them again.

I’m always looking for easy salad/slaw recipes for when we have people over. And I’ve made this Asian Slaw several times since the first time. The Ramen noodles give it the perfect crunch. I love it.

Budget Bytes has almost never lead me wrong. And I love this Italian Wonderpot. So easy and delicious. I’m craving it right now, actually. I love the large slices of onion and spinach in it.

 

So that’s what I’ve got for today. Mostly food, but we do eat every day, multiples times a day. I’m hoping to wash our pillows soon so I’ll be sure to check back in on how that works. I know you’re on the edge of your seat. It’s a glamorous life around here.


Healthy Go-To Meals

Out of the two of us, Ryan is the healthy eater. I’m all about poppy seed chicken casserole and loaded baked potatoes and ice cream. However, if that is what I fixed every night for dinner, we’d have some issues. These are two of my healthy go-to meals when it comes to feeding us.

The first one is these feta spinach turkey burgers and roasted carrots. For years, I tried to find a turkey burger recipe that isn’t dry and this one from Eat, Live, Run succeeds! I love it and could eat it all the time.

(Not my pictures, btw. I just grabbed them from the sites. I didn’t have any pictures of these.)

I’m not the hugest fan of raw carrots, but I could eat these roasted carrots from The Frugal Girl all day every day. The only change I make is I coat them in olive oil instead of butter. However, I’m sure the butter makes them even more delicious.

One of our other favorite recipes is from Budget Bytes. I have made A LOT of her recipes and they have all turned out great! (Well, except for the kale and sausage cassoulet. But I think either I didn’t do it right or I just wasn’t a fan in general. I don’t think anything was wrong with the recipe.) But this recipe for her Oven Roasted Autumn Medley is a winner all the way. Normally I’m not a sweet potato fan, but I love them roasted like this and I usually buy turkey sausage to make it just a touch healthier. Just all around delicious.

 

 


The Super Bowl of Party Rolls

I love having people over. I love cooking providing a meal for them, hanging out and having fun. When you are with someone in their own environment- where they cook dinner, watch TV, refuge from the world- it’s like you know them on a more intimate level.

That is why this was one of my New Year’s Resolutions for the year- to invite people over more. (Sarah was supposed to come for dinner in January, but got the flu. So it counts.) For the Super Bowl, Ryan and I decided to invite Pease, Kathleen, Iz, and their SO’s over. We knew it would be crammed, but we also knew it would be fun. The game was so boring and I just felt sorry for Peyton. Ever since we watched the Book of Manning, I have loved their family. I didn’t take a single picture, but we talked and ate and laughed and ate some more. The girls decided to do apps (remember when apps was appetizers, not phone applications? wasn’t that long ago!) so Pease brought cheese dip, salsa and guac, Kathleen brought wings, and I made my mom’s Party Rolls and Texas Caviar.

I have lots of memories from these Party Rolls. I took them to every high school class party we had at the request of Zeke. They are delicious. And high school was probably the last time I had them, so it was time to reintroduce an old favorite.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, except from Granny’s Good Cookin’, which was our school’s cookbook. (It also includes the recipe for Conrad’s Bacon and Ketchup sandwiches. I think it came out when I was in elementary school, so we all submitted recipes.)

Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Pepperidge Farm party rolls
Ham, sliced very, very thin (probably about 1/4# for every pan of rolls)
Swiss cheese

For the spread:
1/2 cup butter, softened (I learned from BooMama if you grate the butter, it’ll soften it.)
1/4 cup mustard
1/4 cup onion, grated (I just diced mine super small and then sauteed it. Grating onion is not that easy.)
1 Tbsp poppy seed

Slice the rolls and spread on each 1/2 of the mixture. Add a layer of ham and cheese. Put top on sandwich and bake at 350* for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

These are so dang good. I need to have another party so we can make them again. Look at that. I’m becoming a cooking blog. :)


Three

This week is kind of a big week for Ryan and my (my’s? mine?) relationship. Sunday the 4th was our 6 month-versary and Wednesday (yesterday) the 6th was the 3 year anniversary of our first date. (Sidenote- we both forgot about the 6 month thing until Monica posted it on Instagram. Oops.)

So, just like we’ve done for the past 3 years, on November 6, we had dinner at Tananka. The food is amazing, but the company is even better.

Too busy eating to smile. We each get two rolls and then one to share. Ryan always gets the same thing, but I change it up.

One of the hardest parts is deciding which to eat last.

After dinner, Ryan took a different way home, which I thought was a little weird but whatever. I was on my phone (yes, I know. Shame on me.) and looked up and we were way out of the way. I asked him if we were going to trivia (we had talked about going during dinner) and he said no and then I realized we were meeting Pease and Ross! Which was kinda funny because I had called her earlier that night and she hadn’t answered. So we had a drink and talked for a long time, including the story of Ross getting in a fight in middle school.

And we took a picture because we don’t have many pictures of the four of us. Love these peeps.

So thankful this guy took me out those three years ago. I can’t imagine life without him.


Housekeeping (Literally)

Before we get started, can we just have a moment of silence for our recently departed Rachel Zoe Project? Even Ryan was sad because he did not have a chance to decide if he really likes her or not. And also a congratulations because she officially announced she is pregnant. Not that we haven’t known for the past 3 months anyway.

Anyway, back to the usual stuff. Actually, that is pretty usual.

This is one of those stupid life updates that no one will care about, me included.

Before the boy moved in, I did laundry about once a month. I don’t wash my clothes every time I wear them and I have enough underwear for months. However, Ryan tends to go through his clothes much faster than I do. He does this little thing called exercise and would look at me and tell me he was out of underwear. Um, that doesn’t work. So I have a new system. Monday is my day off, so I do two loads of laundry- whites and sheets one week and darks and towels the next week. It’s not perfect and it doesn’t happen every week, but Ryan hasn’t run out of underwear yet which is the goal.

The second housekeeping item that I’m trying to employ is meal planning. Ryan does most of the cooking around here, but when I cook, I want it to last for more than one meal and I want it to be pretty healthy. Also, Ryan wants it to be relatively healthy. We’ve only been doing it for a week and there are still some kinks to work out, but so far, so good. Just a small list of what we’ve had so far because I’m always looking for meal ideas:
BBQ Sloppy Joes and Roasted Carrots (Make sure you watch the carrots because they will burn quickly.)Turkey Burgers and Roasted Green Beans (I’m totally on a roasted veggie kick because they are delicious. They also take a long time, unfortunately. Also, if anyone has a trick to make turkey burgers not dry, I would appreciate it.)
Annette’s Enchiladas from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequiest (Just amazing. Also, I don’t fry the tortillas before putting them in. It might make them better, but they’re pretty damn good anyway.
Taco Chicken Bowls (This is actually what we’re having tonight. But they’re awesome and a crockpot meal. Score.)
I also have more stuff on my “Completed” board on Pinterest, along with my review- if you could even call it that. But I’ve also found that going to the grocery store is much more enjoyable when I have a comprehensive list and know that it’s the only time I’m going all week and I’m good. Plus, it helps me stay within our budget.

Props to you if you actually read this. I know that neither one of these ideas are revolutionary, but they are making my life just a little bit easier, which is probably why the rest of the world does them also. Does anyone else have any ideas for dinner plans? Or ways that you’ve simplified your life? I’m always looking for ideas.