Thursday, January 31, 2013

multiplied meals: balsamic roast beef

I don't know about you but to get two meals out of one is a glorious thing.  On Sunday evenings I do my meal planning for the week and I do my best to include a "multiplied meal."  These save time AND money!

Check back every couple of weeks and I'll be posting one of my multiplied meals.  This week's recipes are a Balsamic Roast & Balsamic Roast Beef French Dip Sandwiches, both recipes and pictures from Add a Pinch are below.  Not only did this meat serve as the main for two meals, but it was also cooked in the crockpot...extra brownie points.  The meat was super tender and had a great taste, it has the husband approval in this house.  Bon appetit!

Round 1: Balsamic Roast Beef (served with roasted root vegetables seasoned with balsamic and rosemary)

Round 2: Balsamic Roast Beef French Dip Sandwiches (served with steak fries using potatoes from round 1 & a salad)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

this not that: another wunderful option.

Truth be told I swoon over Lululemon Wunder Under Leggings.  Unfortunately, my pocketbook doesn't quite align with my taste...

...happy for me, Old Navy's Compression Leggings are a comparable fit BUT at a much better price.  For a mere $26.94 these beauties will do for me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

eight months.

Time definitely moves faster when you start having kids.
I can't hardly believe that my little man turned eight months on Friday.
What a JOY it has been.

Top 5 with Gunnar this month:
1. He's been trying to "sing" along with me and makes funny noises when I sing to him.
2. Seeing him walk around the living room with his walker [we think it looks like he's pushing a shopping cart because he stops to touch, taste and hit things].
3. Watching him belly laugh with his dad.
4. He started squealing, ok screaming, with delight.
5. He started sleeping through the night.  I am a new woman.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

keepin' house.

Those that know me are well aware, but for those of you who don't...
I like to keep a CLEAN house.
I don't think I'm obsessive, I just really value it as a homeowner, homemaker and hostess.

With the most recent addition to our home and life [that being Gunnar - almost 8 months ago now] I'm just getting a handle on a realistic plan to keeping a clean house.  My expectations of the outcome haven't changed but I definitely had to change my approach!

Thanks to Jenny's Little Green Notebook I was able start with a great template.  Here is her cleaning process that I've made a few changes to.

The great thing about this approach is that I spend about 30 minutes a day cleaning while Gunnar is sleeping and I never have to set aside hours at a time on the weekend like I was doing, because I could rely on my husband to watch him.

I have my "Reminders" app set up with my daily, weekly and monthly cleaning tasks; and I get the daily satisfaction off checking those boxes...yes I really do enjoy this.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am NOT perfect.  I don't check off every single task every single day, but I  can say that haven't felt overwhelmed or like I'm living in a pig stye since I started following this schedule as best I can.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Make beds.
Wipe off bathroom counters.
Unload dishwasher.
Weekly task [see below].

Load dishwasher.
Wipe off kitchen counter.
De-clutter living room.
Spot clean floors.

Monday: Laundry
Tuesday: Full house vacuum/sweep
Wednesday: Mop
Thursday: Windows & mirrors
Friday: Toilets & tubs
Saturday: Swing day [see below]
Sunday: Sabbath

monthly swing day
1st week: Scrub oven, microwave, fridge & toaster
2nd week: Wipe down walls, moldings & doors
3rd week: Spot clean upholstery & rugs
4th week: Wipe down furniture, cabinets & fans

Thursday, January 10, 2013

farmhouse table.

My husband and I love re-doing old furniture.  In fact there are only 2 new pieces of furniture in our entire house.

We just finish my favorite project so far...building a farmhouse table.  This was definitely a step further than repainting an old dresser, but my husband did awesome.

Not only is it special because we built it, but to make it even better the wood for the tabletop is salvaged barn wood from the family ranch where we got married.  How cool is that?

The legs are salvaged columns that we purchased and cut from one of my favorite places in San Diego, Architectural Salvage.  Here are some pictures of the project and the finished product...

Architectural Salvage, Little Italy

Joel cutting the wood then building the table top
We filled the large cracks with wood filler to avoid food collection; the legs we cut and lacquered
We stained the table and then coated it three times with a polyurethane
The e-a-t letters were also purchased at Architectural Salvage, the cast iron utensils from ebay

Sunday, January 6, 2013

beef tagine with butternut squash & couscous.

I LOVE to cook [and eat].  I love trying new recipes and actually have very few that I repeat.  This is one of those few that I occasionally repeat.  It makes the house feel warm and smell like a middle-eastern market.  Great for a cold winter day.  I also love eating a meal that can all be held in a single big bowl and eaten in front of a good football game [we're enjoying the playoffs].  I'm not a mixer.  I keep dishes separate on my plate and eat them in different bites, SO this kind of meal is a refreshing change up.

Recipe credit to Cooking Light magazine.

Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper [I use cayenne pepper]
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 [1-pound] beef shoulder roast or petite tender roast trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes [I use stew meat]
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped or minced [your preference]
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 [14.5-ounce] can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups [1-inch] cubed peeled butternut squash [about 1-pound]
Chopped cilantro

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add beef; toss well to coat.
2. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add beef and shallots; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
3. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
4. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes.
5. Add squash; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender.  While this step is happening make the couscous [recipe below].
6. Sprinkle with cilantro [I do this when I serve it up].

Scallion Couscous
1. Bring 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
2. Gradually stir in 1 cup uncooked couscous.
3. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes.
4. Fluff couscous and stir in 1/3 cup chopped green onions

Friday, January 4, 2013


Something I've learned to be super helpful for me emotionally, physically and spiritually is to know what season I'm in.  Now this use to entail a whole lot more.  A day retreat to pray through and document the upcoming season, BUT that was before the little man.

A wise man once said "where there is no vision, the people perish" or another version says the people are "unrestrained".  With the ins and outs of being wife, mom, friend, mentor, sister, daughter, occasionally worship leader, on and on; it can feel like I'm perishing...

BUT if I hold onto the purpose or "vision" for the season I can thrive and grow!

The word for 2013 is PRESENT.
1.  Be present.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
When I read this verse I can't help but sing it to that oh so familiar tune from childhood and with that I can't help but smile.  That child-like lightness and joy that comes from not carrying the worries and fears of tomorrow is a gift that I think my sweet Father wants to give me.  The Proverbs 31 woman "laughs at the days to come" because they don't hold any power over her.  She is fruitful and beautiful TODAY.

I don't want to miss out on the sweet moments and lessons of today as a mom and wife.  I don't want to long for the next stage with Gunnar and in turn rob him of what he needs in this one.
I want everything there is out of this day.

I want to be a woman that...
 seeks and loves God TODAY.
loves and serves my husband TODAY.
nurtures and trains my son TODAY.
repents, changes and grows TODAY.
keeps a safe and peaceful home TODAY
is dressed in strength and dignity TODAY.
is humble and teachable  TODAY.
hungers and thirsts for more TODAY.
looks more like Jesus TODAY.

2.  Know that God is present.

Life looks different now.  I can't sleep in and then spend as much uninterrupted time as I want worshipping, reading scripture and meeting with God in the ways I use to.  But it's a lie that this means I can't experience and grow with God in this season.  A lie I easily believed and stepped under.  A lie that I am now calling out and giving the boot.  

If anything I have a new platform to meet God in a different and powerful way!  I understand the heart of a parent now.  I understand that you can love someone so much it hearts and you want to do anything and everything for their well-being and success.  I understand my imperfections and brokenness again and [for the good of those in my life] want to God to meet me in these places.

God is near.  God is working on me and loving me.
He is here to help me be the woman above and love me when I'm not.
He is here with JOY and GOOD THINGS for me.
He is here to give me energy and peace.
And He is here just to be with me.
I'm honored.

Here's to living in the PRESENT and PRESENCE in 2013!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

still falling in love.

I'm reading a great book by Angela Thomas called A Beautiful Offering.  I didn't use to love books that are geared towards women, but neither did I ever think I would be going to mommy groups.  My heart's needs have changed with marriage and now a baby.  I think I've become more aware of my woman's heart and soul, and in turn needs and desires.

In this book Angela talks about her personal revelation of God's heart when the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 shifted from a list of "Gotta Be's" to "When You Are's".

In the chapter "Falling in Love," Angela talks about a couple married 52 years more in love than ever, each others best friend and biggest fan.

The story reminded me of my Opa and Oma [pictured below].  Opa went to be with Jesus almost 3 years ago now, just shy of their 60th wedding anniversary.  Towards the end of his life physically he was in bad shape.  Confined to a hospital bed in their bedroom at home he spent most of the time asleep and when he was awake he was usually confused or distant.  There were however moments I remember vividly when he would wake up and see his precious wife sitting next to him and a light would fill his face as he smiled at her, love written all over his face.

Their marriage was so sweet.  I remember Oma laughing at his repeated jokes and them holding hands and stealing kisses.  Until Opa was unable to drive, my Oma had never filled up the gas tank in her car.
How is that possible you ask?
Opa would drive her car to the gas station before it ever ran too low and fill it up for her.
Duty? No.
A necessity?  Obviously not.
An act of his love and commitment to her? YES.
One of many choices to continue to serve, to prefer and ultimately fall in love with one another over and over.  "There continued falling is the product of choosing, over and over, to return to love."

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
I love the comparison Angela makes to a hunger and thirst for Jesus and the process of falling in love over and over.
To have Him on my mind throughout my day.
To desire and pursue every sweet second I can with Him.
To invite Him into every area of my life.
To choose humility and repent quickly to be restored fully.
To dream with Him.

And in turn be filled with His sweet presence, fulfilled by His deep love.

I'm so inspired and renewed in my vision and desire to love both Jesus and my husband well.
Excited to fall more in love with Jesus and Joel in 2013!