Chimichurri


Anyone else feel like October is flying by or is that just me?  I still don’t have any of my fall decor out yet and I meant to do it a month ago.  How is it already October 14th?!  Sheesh!  Ok, onto the good stuff!  Chimichurri!

Chimichurri is quite possibly one of my favorite foods ever.  It has so much flavor and is so versatile!  You can use it in a variety of ways and other recipes.


For instance, you can mix with mayonnaise and use it to make chicken salad, tuna salad or just a spread for a sandwich!  (Trust me, it’s delicious like that!)


Heap it on a salad and drizzle a little more olive oil on there to use it as a salad dressing.


Cover your eggs with it.



Spoon it on steak or chicken.


Put a spoonful in some Chicken Noodle Soup.


Mix some into mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower!  Or plop onto some roast potatoes.


Marinate chicken/pork/beef with it, then grill.


Drizzle some on your tacos or nachos.

Mix it with some veggies like asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, or brussels sprouts and roast in the oven.

The possibilities are endless with this sauce.  I especially love that it’s not only quick and easy to make, it’s cheap too!  AND doesn’t require any hard to find ingredients.  Quick tip: if you’re not a huge garlic lover, reduce the number of cloves by half.  Or don’t eat if you’re going out on a first date (dragon breath beware!).

Chimichurri

  • Servings: About 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tb dried oregano or 3 Tb fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • 2 Tb red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add all the ingredients except the olive oil.
  2. Pulse the ingredients just until it starts to come together.  Do not over-process, you don’t want a smoothie!
  3. Stream in the olive oil with it running on low.
  4. Store in a  glass container in the fridge for up to two weeks.  Can be frozen in silicone ice cube trays and used for cooking purposes later.

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The World We Create For Our Family


I’m really putting myself out there to be judged with this post.  Airing out the dirty laundry for all to see, but I believe that in order for us to live authentically we have to be real.  We have to be open, raw, and able to admit our wrongs AND able to tell others YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  Because I know that I am not the only one who has battled this issue and I want to give those moms out there who might be in that spot hope that they can change.  

Yesterday I read a reflection on Blessed Is She that really got me thinking.  The writer said that gossip is often mistaken for community because it gives us something to talk about.  Gossip ends when we learn to focus on building real authentic relationships that are based on talking about the good of others and chatting about our OWN difficulties, achievements, and musings on life. YES, YES, YES!!  A million times yes!  

So, in an effort to not only preach a message but to also be one, I give you all this blog post.  Judge if you must, or maybe, just maybe, let it be an invitation to build authentic relationships with those around you.   

(Excuse the spelling, we all have learning to do, plus I kind of love it 💗.)

Finding this homework paper of my daughter’s made my heart soar!  Her world is “peaceful, fun and relaxing”.  She “loves her world”. (excuse me while I go wipe the tears from my eyes…ok, I’m back. *sniff, sniff*)  Her life wasn’t always that way.

See, I used to be one of those yelling moms.  The type that spazzed out over everything and would yell at the drop of a hat. I HATED myself for it. Yes, I hated myself, not the action.

I would yell even when my girls didn’t deserve it (which was pretty much every single time).  Then I was too proud to ask forgiveness from them for MY mistakes.  It wasn’t their fault I yelled, but I was quick to say, “Why do you do that and make me yell?” *cringe*.  So yeah, I hated myself, because afterwards I’d cry and feel awful for it.  But apparently not enough at that time to change it (palm to face-hard).

I was so prideful back then, even though I didn’t actually like who I was.  Pride can lead a person to be too stubborn to change, even when they know they should!  The devil is really good at telling people they are ok to keep going down the path they’re on.  He was really crafty at filling my head with lies that it wasn’t a big deal and I would look weak to my kids if I apologized!   I mean why would they take me seriously if they thought I was weak?!  Those thoughts are LIES.  Friends, asking forgiveness for our wrongs is the furthest thing from being weak.  It actually takes incredible strength to go to someone and freely admit we wronged them and ask forgiveness.  Humility is the fastest route to happiness and love.

As the years went on, I continuously told my husband that was not the mom I wanted to be.  He’s pretty awesome so he’d try to help me.  I did find myself yelling much less frequently, which I honestly take no credit for!  I can’t for the life of me pinpoint what changed but it did and I’m thankful.  But, the humbling part of asking forgiveness?…yeah, that was very slow to follow.

My job as a mom is to teach my children how to become amazing adults (not amazing kids) and what sort of behavior was I teaching them?! My gosh that is painful to think back on!  Great adults, great christians, know how to ask for forgiveness and truly mean it.  How can they learn that sort of behavior if the one person they look to most for an example of how to be an adult was failing so miserably?

I have spent the better part of this year attempting to grow in holiness.  The recurring thing I kept coming up with (the Holy Spirit guiding me) to achieve said holiness was humility.  Since we’ve already discussed my lack of humility lets just say this was a struggle.  I fought with God tooth and nail to hold onto my pride.  Then I reached a point somewhere along the way that I was just sick and tired of myself.  I busted out the Litany of Humility (see below) and very painfully attempted to say that prayer.  Often I’d get a few lines in and stop and put it away.  No joke.  The next day I would maybe get a few lines further, until one day I cried my way through that beautiful prayer and begged God with all that I had to help me with this.  THANK GOD He is faithful, merciful and so abounding in grace!!  He poured it all over me and I learned (and am still learning) to ditch the pride and live more humbly.

One day I had a setback and went off on my precious daughters.  It was like a dagger to my heart to see their faces as I yelled.  I stopped, I took a deep breath, turned to them and just grabbed them and hugged them both.  I cried, tears just rolled down my face, and said “I am so sorry!  I do not want to be this way and I am so sorry.  You don’t deserve this.  I love you both so very much, please forgive me!”  Kids are pretty damn amazing.  Those little angels of mine hugged me so tight and they cried too and smiled the biggest smiles and said “we forgive you and we love you too mommy!”  Then they happily bounced away to play like it was no big deal.  Had I not apologized, their little wounded hearts wouldn’t have allowed that happen.

My daughter’s homework paper was a reminder I needed that despite knowing I have a long way to go to becoming a saint, I have also come pretty far.  Because her world is peaceful, happy and relaxing and by God’s grace, she loves her world.  I don’t know what I ever did to deserve these true blessings that I call my children, but I thank God daily for them.  They really are a gift and gifts are meant to be cherished.

 

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“But where do I start?” When Trying To Grow Closer To God…


I’ve been there, numerous times, that place where you aren’t really living for God.  You aren’t living a bad life, but you know you aren’t living for God.  Sometimes we think, “but I’m so busy today, I will get to that tomorrow…”  tomorrow  comes and goes and the day after and we have yet to kneel before our Lord and even tell Him a simple thank you for all He’s given you.

Friends, let me tell you, everything in your life that brings you peace, love, and joy comes from the Father.  Do not fool yourself into thinking that you alone are the cause for all that is good in your life.  The devil is quite crafty and good at telling people this lie.  I was really good at believing this!  Pride, ouch, that is one sin that I struggled with daily.  I still do at times.  I have come to realize though that all I have and all that I am is a gift from God.  Without Him I am nothing and I have nothing.

So if it’s been awhile since you’ve spent some time with God how do you find your way back to HIM?

Often we picture God as this mighty judge sitting on a throne waiting to condemn us or so far away that He’s just unreachable.  STOP.  RIGHT.  THERE.  First and foremost let me explain the most vital part of a relationship with God; it is a relationship. This part is vital so I’m repeating it, it is a RELATIONSHIP.  He loves you more than you could ever fathom and what He wants is to have a genuine relationship with you.  In order for that to happen you talk to God like you would your nearest and dearest friend, because He is!  He can handle all your moods, all your stubbornness, all your grief, all your joy, all your frustrations and everything in between.  If you’re angry with Him, tell Him!  If you’re lonely, tell Him!  If you’re so filled with happiness, PRAISE HIM!  He yearns for you to talk to Him, no matter what it’s about.

BUT HOW?!

I recently wrote an article for my church about how my spiritual life has grown so much over this last year and how I helped that happen.  I say helped, because God knocked, and I simply answered the door.  At first with a handshake, but now when He knocks, I rip that door open and lunge into His loving arms for the warmest embrace that envelopes every part of my being.

Here’s what I wrote.  I hope it helps someone, even in some small way.  Please know I am praying for you!  Leave me a note and let me know how I can pray for you or if you’d like me to talk more on this topic.

This past year I’ve been learning what it means to be inspired and transformed by God.  During Lent I had decided to not give things up but to instead take the very first part of my day to be with Our Lord.  It changed me.  St. John Vianney said “We must take great care never to do anything before having said our morning prayers…The devil once declared that if he could have the first moment of the day, he was sure of all the rest.”  

At first it was difficult to focus and keep my mind on things above instead of the tasks laid out before me for the day.  Slowly I started to find little things that would help me grow in my prayer life and holiness.  I journal my prayers to God each day.  This alone is such a blessing, because as the months go on I can go back, re-read it, and tears of joy flow as I see the ways God has answered some of those prayers.  Many times in ways I never could’ve imagined!  

I downloaded the YouVersion app on my phone and use it every morning.  It is a Bible app that also has thousands of devotions to pick from.  Another app I use is Laudate.  It is a wealth of goodness for Catholics.  Each day I read the daily readings from Mass, followed by the reflections and the saint of the day.  It also has hundreds of Catholic prayers and so much more!  

I began listening to podcasts (on iTunes) from Catholic priests to learn more about our beautiful faith.  The beauty of podcasts is I can listen while driving, folding laundry, making dinner, and especially while working in my garden.  Being surrounded by nature, God’s creation, and learning about Him at the same time has brought an abundance of peace to my life in a myriad of ways.  My mind was opened to see how our Church is so rich with history and of Saints that we can learn so much from!  

Learning about the Saints has lead me to pray Novenas (there are apps for this), and I am constantly in awe after seeing my prayers get answered.  The amazing thing about praying to Saints is the reminder that many of them started as very broken sinners, only to be transformed by God and become incredible Saints!  There is hope for us all.  

It is said that pride is what turned Angels into demons and humility that turns men into Saints.  So, I printed off the Litany of Humility but my pride got in the way at first.  I struggled to say this prayer and really mean it.  Thankfully He is patient and merciful, because eventually I surrendered and through this powerful prayer I have grown closer to God.   

A few short weeks ago, after communion, I reached the point of surrender.  I uttered the words “Lord, I give my life to You to do with me as You wish”.  I let go of the fear of the unknown to let God take control of my life.  I pray to Mary for help with this, because it’s a constant, daily, surrendering of myself.  She is the perfect example to all of us what surrender looks like.  “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38  Complete surrender and lack of fear for God’s plans in our life-not our own plans-offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to Him.  Allowing Him to use the resources and gifts He has given us to glorify Him.  

My life has changed and though I am thankful for my past because it has taught me so much, and it is a living testimony to others, I look intently into the future to see what God has in store for me, to serve Him.  

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread


Last week I posted on Instagram a pic of the mounds of zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers from my garden.  I joked how my husband is sick of me making zucchini for dinner after dinner (side note: this bread is loaded with zucchini and he devoured it last night, asking for more because he enjoyed it so much!).  In the post I asked for ideas on how to use up all this abundance and got some incredible ideas!  Below are some of the ideas people wrote.


Here are a few other ways I’ve been cooking them up/preserving them:

  • Zucchini chips in my dehydrator: slice with a medium blade on a mandolin, spritz with lemon juice, spray lightly olive oil, and sprinkle with seasoning of choice (I used Everything Bagel Blend). Dehydrate for about 5 hours at 135°.
  • Chorizo and zucchini frittata! This was incredible!  I made it for dinner one night and ate the rest for breakfast the next few days.
  • Zucchini lasagna! Mine was sans dairy but the family had one loaded with grass-fed cheese.
  • Frozen for smoothies!  Yes, smoothies!  The flavor is so mild you can’t taste it but your smoothie gets a major boost of nutrition without the sugar crash from loads of fruit.  Simply cut into slices, steam, freeze, and stick in a blender when ready to use.
  • Dehydrated for soups, stews, chilis come wintertime when prices for them are though the roof!  I cut into bite size pieces, blanched with citric acid and dehydrated until dried to a crisp. Stuck in a baggie and in the freezer until I need them!
  • Zoodle pasta (spiralized zucchini), sautéed, roasted, and stuffed with meat and cheese.

If you noticed one of my amazing followers suggested chocolate zucchini bread!  I had recently made a loaf of cinnamon zucchini bread so I thought hmm thats a great idea to change it up!  Thus was born this recipe.  I have to rat myself out that the pic I am using isn’t my photo!  I sent the recipe to my bff and she sent me the pics after she made it.  There was no possible way I could make it look more beautiful than she did! So, I am totally stealing her pic and using it.  Because I’m a good friend like that! 


Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: 2 regular loaves or 1 large loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chocolatey, rich, perfectly moist, not too dense, with a touch of sweetness…this chocolate zucchini bread is also gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugar free!  Whips up quickly and can be frozen for later devouring.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (do NOT drain the water out)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or other mild tasting oil
  • 3 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Namaste flour blend from Costco. I would assume that Cassava flour would sub well! As well as all purpose regular flour if you don’t have to be gluten free)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (different brands have different absorption rates mine tends to be less absorptive so you may only need 3TB if yours is very absorptive)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs (I like the crunch and nutritional benefits but feel free to use any type of chocolate chips)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line two loaf pans with parchment paper so the paper drapes over the sides for ease of removing from the pans and cleanup!  You could also use one loaf pan and make a giant loaf but it will take much longer to bake and doesn’t bake as evenly.  
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together both flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cacao nibs.  Set aside.
  3. Shred the zucchini using the large holes on a grater.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut sugar, zucchini, and avocado oil.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined.  The batter will seem very thick!  Fear not, the water from the zucchini will release as it cooks and create a bread that has just the right amount of moisture and density.
  6. Bake the large loaf for 1 and a half hours or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Bake two regular loaves for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes then lift the bread out and cool completely.