Eat This: Guac that Rocks

posted in: food, Uncategorized | 0


I’m watching The Chew right now and they are doing a Tex-Mex party show with a vignette revolving the avocado. I have not always been an avocado fan. There was a time when I wouldn’t eat it. I don’t know when that changed, but believe me, my husband knows there are three favorite foods in my brain:

Delicious baked gooey macaroni and cheese (blue box will do in a pinch, but I really want the gooey stuff).

A delicious steak. This means the freshest piece of meat, cooked medium, and preferably cooked either by my husband (in house) or my brother (on the grill).

And guacamole. Not fancy quac – 5 in gredient guac. That’s all you need to make the perfect guacamole.

Bring in one of the best food blogs around – Jenna at EatLiveRun and the Super Bowl. Husband and I chose to watch the game at home this year and then I forgot about the time change and it was a boring game. The best part of the whole evening was the guacamole.

What you need:
perfectly ripe avocados. These are hard to find. Wal-Mart always lets me down even though they are cheap. Mostly I find them at Kroger or Whole Foods. If you are going to use them ASAP – then you want them with a slight give to them. Just pushable. If you are going to use them tomorrow = then buy them firm. You do not want them mushy. They will be brown. Listen…do NOT buy them MUSHY!
Kosher or Sea Salt. Don’t use the table salt. How long has your table salt been on your table. Salt loses its flavor. Use kosher salt or sea salt. It brings out the amazing buttery goodness of the avocado.
Limes. Don’t buy the lime juice in a bottle. Just go buy little limes that have juice in them. You can have liven your finished product up with some of the lime zest. You don’t get that from a bottle.
Cilantro. Bright fresh green cilantro. A little goes a long way. You can always add more.
Red Onion.  Same with the cilantro – you don’t want a lot. You want the main star to be the avocado, not the red onion.

Eat This: Coconut Oil Banana Nut Mini Muffins

posted in: food | 2

banana muffins

Muffins are a danger on our home. They are so easy to pick up, slather a butter of some sort on, eat for a snack, or three snacks.
I whipped these up in no time flat. In fact, it was a crazy weekend. I was attending a women’s conference in town that weekend, and wanted to leave some thing for the men in our home to eat on while I was away. Isn’t that nice? Really, I wanted to eat them too.
So, what better thing to do than to whisk up some banana muffins. And to make them healthier and easier to eat these are actually small bites of healthy goodness.
I tweaked the recipe from Heather, my neighbor and blogger of delicious recipes. My husband and older boy loved these and they are perfect for young kids because of their healthy benefits.


Coconut Oil Banana Nut Mini Muffins
Recipe type: Muffins
Cuisine: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 mini muffins
Easy, healthy banana muffins
  • 3 bananas, mashed (I use the brown ones that I've frozen - thaw them, and mash them)
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ T baking powder
  • scant ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  1. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix together the wet ingredients.
  3. Combine together.
  4. Fill mini muffin pan (sprayed with cooking spray) ¾ full.
  5. Bake 11 minutes at 375.
  6. Enjoy with milk!

Buttercream Cookies and Ministering to Widows

posted in: food | 1

Buttercream cookies

Food is such a way to minister to people.  Especially the lonely.

The widows.  The lonely.  The Shut-ins.  How do we interact with these people on a regular basis?  I have to admit I fail at this miserably – but I desire to get better at it.  One way we did this as a family recently is by taking cookies to some widows on Valentine’s Day.  I wanted to make some cookies and then deliver them.  I knew the boys would bring a smile to their faces (I was right on that account) and cookies are always delicious!

I read some invaluable posts by my friend Brian Croft over at Practical Shepherding.  I won’t re-hash them here, but encourage you to go read these:

How to minister to widows when a holiday is approaching?

How do you minister to widows when a family holiday is coming up?

As a SAHM, how can we minister to widows?

During the Christmas season and winter, how do I shepherd widows?

There are more at his site – just go search widows and you will get many posts to read and implement.  Brian and his wife, Cara, have years of experience living this out – not just writing down ideas.

One way that I’m going to be doing this is by writing letters.  I’ve asked my husband to get a list of the widows in the church and each week I want to write to one widow, pray for her by name, and if the time allows, visit her with my children and husband.  Visiting widows is very out of my comfort zone.  Aging is something that is hard and makes us examine our own mortality and the end of our lives.  It is also hard to know how long to stay, what to say, how to sit there with them if they aren’t coherent, or if they are really sick.  But, Jesus said to go to the sick and minister to the widows.  And I also know from years of experience – ministry is not easy.  But, still needs to be done.

Buttercream Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Delicious cake like cookie with buttercream frosting
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ stick of unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup whole milk with 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ⅓ tsp kosher salt
  • Frosting;
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • milk or heavy cream to your consistency likeness
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  1. Combine dry ingredients
  2. Cream wet ingredients.
  3. Spoon onto greased baking sheet to make BIG cookies (should get 8)
  4. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until done.
  5. Let cool
  6. Make buttercream. Pipe unto cookies.
Here is a simple cookie recipe that you can use as you minister to widows in your church.  A plate of cookies is always good.  If for some reason they can’t eat them, they most likely have caretakers and they will enjoy them!

How do you care for the widows in your church or community?  Enjoy the cookies!

Cold Soba Salad with Red Chili Salmon

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Asian Soba Salad

I absolutely love trying new foods.  I had never had soba noodles before so this was a new experience for both my husband and me.  It was a delicious recipe that I tweaked over from Laura at Blogging Over Thyme and she had sweet comments to say about the photos too!

So, be adventurous in this new year – eat this salad!

And, this is not a sponsored post from Gourmet Gardens, but I absolutely love their bottles spices.  So easy to use and tasty.  And as a cooking mom, who doesn’t need convenience!

Cold Soba Salad with Red Chili Salmon
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Delightful noodle salad with salmon
  • 1 pkg soba noodles (Japanese Buckwheat Noodles)
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 8 green onions, sliced thin
  • ½ cup chopped, dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 4 oz frozen wild caught salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp gourmet gardens chunky garlic
  • 1 tsp gourmet gardens ginger
  • 1 tsp gourmet gardens red chili
  • 1 T coconut oil
  1. Heat water to boil for noodles and cook according to pkg instructions.
  2. Rinse under cold water.
  3. Combine sauce and whisk together.
  4. Pour over noodles.
  5. Add onions and cilantro.
  6. Let chill for at least 30 minutes
  7. Heat coconut oil in separate pan.
  8. Add spices and heat for a few seconds.
  9. Cook salmon in pan until done.
  10. Plate and top with more onions, cilantro, and peanuts.
Next time I will add snow peas or carrots.  Something to give the noodles more oomph!

Spiced White Chicken Chowder

posted in: food | 2

spiced white chicken chowder

What a day for a soup recipe.  The sun is gone here in Little Rock.  It is overcast and very cool – ok, cold!  Bowls of soup I do believe were created for days like today.

I have a trusted White Chicken Chili recipe that I’ve used for about about 15 years now.  But, I wanted to try something new.  This turned out very yummy and completely different, so now I have two great recipes.  And I can never have too many soup recipes!

Spiced White Chicken Chowder
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Easy, warm, chowder perfect for cold days
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp all spice
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can rotel (mild)
  • 2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • ¾ cup cooked black beans
  • 2.5 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Chives
  • Cheddar Cheese
  1. Heat oil in large dutch oven.
  2. Saute onion and garlic until soft.
  3. Add everything else except chicken and cheese and toppings.
  4. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Add chicken and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  7. Add cheese at the end.
  8. Serve in a huge bowl with a spoon and top with your favorite toppings

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

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Creamy Wild Rice Soup

All most people want when it is cold outside and when they are sick is something warm, served in a bowl, eaten with a spoon.  Preferably with some type of broth involved.

Well, it is both cold outside and we are sick inside.  So, all I wanted was a soup.  Since I couldn’t get out to go the store – I had to use what I had.  So, when my husband said, “that’s a keeper!” I was excited!  So, no matter if you are sick, or if it is cold outside, make this soup to warm your hands as you hold a mug or bowl of it (I had mine in one of my husband’s grandmother’s mugs that we have).

Creamy Wild Rice Soup


1 T unsalted butter

3 carrots, pennied (cut into rounds)

2 celery stalks, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 box beef broth (or chicken, or vegetable)

1 1/2 cups wild rice blend

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 tsp each of sage, rosemary, and oregano

pepper to taste

Heat old and butter in a pan – sauté vegetables.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil.  Add rice and cook according to directions.  (I used slightly less rice to broth ratio that the directions called for because I wanted more liquid in my soup.)  When rice is done, whisk in creamed soup and spices.

If you want – add in diced, cooked chicken as well.


Pumpkin French Toast

posted in: food, Uncategorized | 0

When the husband is gone, its a good idea to tantalize him to come back home if you send him delicious pictures of pumpkin French toast. Really – I did send him a picture and he said I was mean. I’ll make these again for him.
But, these are perfect with a topping of real maple syrup and whipped cream.

Pumpkin French Toast
Pumpkin French Toast

Serves 2-3 (depending on how hungry you are)

6 slices of day old bread (I used Panera’s Honey Wheat)
3 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T light brown sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
cinnamon and allspice to taste
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
butter to cook with (gives it much more flavor than Pam or others sprays)
syrup, butter, whipped cream for topping

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte

posted in: Uncategorized | 1


No more need to go to Starbucks! 🙂

You can make this very easily with items you already have on hand and enjoy this lovely drink (iced or hot) – all year long.  I tried it first yesterday and it was 98 degrees here in Little Rock, so – I had it both hot and cold!

I found a recipe online that was adapted from many other recipes, so I adapted it myself, and even would make changes to what I did this first time. (The following recipe indicates changes).  I’ve shared the Pumpkin Syrup and have also enjoyed this recipe iced or hot and frothy!  Another great use for our Ninja – which we love!


Recipe: (serves 2-4 adults, depending on the size of your mugs)


2 cups whole milk

4 Stash Chai Tea bags

1 T vanilla bean paste

3 T pumpkin syrup (recipe below)

Fresh grated cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

1 T sugar


Heat milk, sugar, syrup and tea bags on stove until not quite boiling (over medium heat so you don’t scorch your milk) – because who wants burnt milk?

Take off heat and add in vanilla bean paste and spices.  Then remove the tea bags.

Pour into a blender of some sort and turn it on until frothy!

Pour in mug or over ice in a glass and enjoy!  I didn’t have any whipped cream or I would have added it – but I did sprinkle some spices on top!



1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 cinnamon sticks and whole cloves

nutmeg and ginger to taste

3 T pumpkin puree


Heat sugar and water until sugar is dissolved, add in flavorings and puree. Heat until almost boiling for about 5 minutes.  Take off heat and let sit 10-15 minutes.  Pour through a mesh sieve and then store in container in fridge.  Use as much as you want!

Creatives: Jayme of Holly and Flora (Garden, Beauties, Recipe)

posted in: creatives, food, Vegetables, vegetarian, Women | 1

I love sweet friends.  This girl has been a friend since high school – our cheerleading days – and we got reconnected on FB (that is the blessing of Facebook), then when I went to Denver a few years back we got to hang out and take some beautiful photos, now she is loving her garden and seeing all the beautiful things she can create from it.

What I learned this week about being Creative: I’m not a gardener.  It takes a lot of time.  There are many other interests in my life that take up that time.  But, I can and do enjoy goodies from other people’s gardens.  I talked with Jayme last week and she agreed to come up with a new recipe, show us some of her garden, answer some questions – and hopefully inspire you to live a fresh, local life!  Another way I love this story – is because it started when J was growing up.  Moms/Dads – you have a huge influence on your children in many way.  Don’t neglect the non-spiritual ways you influence your children!

Holly and Flora

1.  How did you begin your creatives lifestyle?
Growing up, every Tuesday night, my mom would conduct “Home Together Nights.”  We would select recipes to reproduce, as a family, and we would laugh, create, and bond together.  My sister and I still make recipes from those memorable evenings, and we are much more adventurous and creative in the kitchen, and in other areas, as a result.  A creative upbringing definitely made it easier to embrace a similar lifestyle as an adult, but having a garden, working within the hospitality and restaurant industries, training as a sommelier, and traveling to different parts of the world have greatly shaped the way that I view my place in the world, as well.
2.  What drives you to continue (especially in a time of convenience)?
As I answer this question, I am up late, tending some stock.  It would be so easy to simply throw away the day’s carrot greens, chicken bones, and onion skins and conveniently purchase stock at the grocery for my next batch of soup.  However, I feel a strong sense of responsibility with the bounty we have been given and the talents we possess; I feel a deep pull to squeeze every gift to the very last drop, reuse it, repurpose it, and share it.  It is intensely rewarding.  Almost always, I save money by doing and making things, myself, and the more adept I become, the more beneficial and far-reaching my deeds become.  I take immense pride knowing that I am capable and knowledgeable to provide for myself and my family.  Creativity applies not only to the artistic realm, but it also applies to the practical realm.
3.  What is the thing you’ve learned most about yourself in this creative journey?
The mess-ups and mistakes are usually the most memorable, educational, and exciting.  I do not always operate on this precept, but I really try to learn from my perceived mishaps.  For example, I try to sketch or write about something I am creating each day.  A lot of times, those messy sketches or scribbled words become foundations for a future project.  If I were to discard them because of their imperfections, I would limit my creative potential.  I tend to be very good at limiting myself and comparing myself and my progress to others.  That aspect of my personality is challenging.  I am trying to let go, unleash what holds me back, and get my blank canvas absolutely messy, both literally and figuratively.
4.  What is your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe to make is zucchini cake.  You can find my recipe here (link:  However, this gardening season, I have had an abundance of eggplant, herbs, and tomatoes, which prompted me to create this recipe for my version of an eggplant tapenade/caponata.  Being in the midst of a kitchen remodel, I have not had access to a stove, dishwasher, proper storage options, or even a sink, which is why I have had to create new recipes, using either a grill or crockpot.
5.  What has been your greatest joy in this creatives process?
I am very much inspired by my garden.  I feel that it feeds almost every area of my life right now.  I am inspired by its color, its movement, its inconsistencies, its demands, its continual state of flux.  I find inspiration from its parallels to our daily lives.  So many of life’s lessons can be likened to a garden.  The seasonal change of a garden mirrors the growth of an individual, but gardening is not just about an individual effort.  I have found deep satisfaction involving myself with the gardening community here in Denver.
Grilled Eggplant “Caponade”
  Eggplants from the Garden
20 small fairytale eggplants, halved, stems removed (or substitute 2 medium regular eggplants, quartered)
8 medium to large heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 head of garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped, whites and greens together
1/2 cup olives, chopped (mostly Kalamatas, with some mixed green olives)
1/8 cup capers
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/8 cup freshly chopped basil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
dried chili flakes, to taste
1. In a deep saucepan, simmer the tomatoes in 1/2 cup olive oil, over low to medium heat, for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone, and it starts to thicken.  The longer you can draw this process out, the better and more concentrated the taste will be.
2. In another pan, add the peeled and separated garlic cloves to 1/4 cup olive oil.  Simmer over low heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and caramelized.  Remove from heat, set aside to cool, and then chop coarsely.  Do not discard the oil!
3. Pre-heat the grill on high heat, and then turn down to low heat.  Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and lightly salt.  Grill the fairytale eggplants for two minutes on each side.  If you are using regular eggplants, grill four to five minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill, set aside to cool, and then dice into 1/4 inch pieces.
Grilling Eggplants
4. Once each component has cooled, mix the tomatoes, garlic, and eggplant in a large bowl.  Add the last quarter cup of olive oil, as well as the oil that you reserved from simmering the garlic.
5. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, onions, olives, capers, and herbs to the mixture.  Stir to integrate.
6. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes).
This recipe tastes great the first day, but even better the next, so feel free to prepare in advance.  This recipe yields about four cups and keeps, refrigerated, for a week.  Serve with crostini or grilled bread.  What are some other uses for this recipe?  Serve alongside hummus or crumble in feta or serve on top of baked or grilled salmon and pork tenderloin.
Grilled Eggplant Tapenade
Be on the lookout for spice rubs, spice blends, and notecards all inspired by Jayme’s garden!  And Be Creative!
Eggplants for Everyone

Summer Corn and Chipotle Chicken Soup

posted in: food | 0

I love trying new recipes, especially with in-season ingredients, and having them be winners.  I started with a recipe off of BrownEyedBaker – you guys need to go check her out if you already don’t get her blogs!

I made a few changes, and hubs said he wouldn’t change a thing!

1/2 vidalia onion, chopped

1 EACH red and green pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 chipotle in adobe sauce, chopped (just one pepper)


1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp EACH oregano and french thyme

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

1 cup half and half

6 red potatoes, diced finely

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups diced chooked chicken

3 ears of corn (just kernels)

1 can cream corn

1/2 tsp adobe sauce (from chili)


Saute first ingredients and spices in evoo.  Then add up through cheese and let simmer until potatoes are done (about 15 minutes).  Then add the rest.  Serve until warmed through.

Serve with tortilla chips and a squeeze of lime!