Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday (Week 3)

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It's Friday eve! Being crazy and attempting some more of this consistency with weekly thankfuls recap again (week 1 here, week 2 here). What has you feeling warm fuzzy thankfulness?

November 13th: 

61. cold weather (I really love it!)

62. leggings

63. warm tortillas

64. a swanky new coffee tumbler

65. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS (and the warm fuzzies they give me)

November 14th: 

66. a solo three hour road trip for maximum car singing time

67. Total Woman U (our meeting tonight, our mission, the team aka my family, our goals and dreams, etc)

68. hugs 

69. the Holy Spirit

70. that my phone didn't die when I dropped I in my soup at dinner.

November 15th: 

71. chapstick

72. joggers (trendy name for baggy but somehow cute-ish sweat pants)

73. meeting people who really live for the gospel by doing things like uprooting their comfortable lives to live on mission in an area most people would be fearful of

74. blueberry scones

75. being with non-pretentious amazing friends while encountering pretentious hipsters.

November 16th: 

76. hearing Myles Manuel pray for his future adopted sister and brother at children's church this morning

77. Hazel cuddles

78. help from my roommate in the kitchen for the Thanksgiving dinner for our college girls (as well as company from her and her sister while I did my least favorite chore - hanging clothes)

79. hosting a house full of people (14!)

80. that so many of the college girls we get to hang out with came to Arise this morning and to our Thanksgiving dinner tonight

November 17th: 

81. my red coat

82. She Reads Truth

83. an understanding boss

84. therapeutic tears

85. heated car seats

November 18th: 

(Note: November 18th was the anniversary of my dad's death. I wanted to attempt to be extra thankful on a hard day.)

86. the texts, facebook messages, and prayers of so many friends

87. an amazing department who understands that grief is worthy of a sick day too

88. hot cocoa with peppermint marshmallows (PINK HOT COCOA)

89. a cozy sweatshirt

90. friends who make me plan a dinner to celebrate my dad at the place he always wanted to go when he came to visit me in Clinton, MargaritERs (yep, that's how he said it)

91. how my dad selflessly took care of so many people

92. that my dad gave his life to Jesus and prayed for me and my brother everyday

93. that my dad taught me to save money (even though I just recently put it into practice) and avoid credit cards (I'd be terrible at them)

94. that my dad never gave up on people

95. that I never stop missing my dad regardless of the years that pass by without him

November 19th: 

96. pumpkin donut muffins

97. blogging mojo

98. the warm fuzzies writing provides

99. my new tiny bow necklace, Wednesday nights (Missional community AND friend Nashville watching)

100. unexpected happy mail

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creamy Kale Dip

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A few "fun" facts: 

1. It's been so long since I've posted a recipe, I had to go in search of the last recipe I posted to remember how I format recipe posts.  

2. (insert dramatic pause with gasps and lots of  exaggerated dot dot dots)...

This is the first recipe I've posted in 2014... 

... (we needed some dramatic extra dot dot dots here)

... IT'S NOVEMBER! And not just November, but November 19th. What the heck?! I AM SORRY!  

3. The last time I even kind of posted a recipe was on September 20th, 2013. Even then, it was just linking to one of my recipes posted somewhere else. 

4. The last real recipe I posted was on July 13th, 2013.

5. That was 1 year and 4 months ago. That was 495 days ago. That was 70 weeks ago. (Who knew the internet had a date calculator to insert dramatic unnecessary facts.) That was several job interviews, another job, another house, hundreds of cupcakes, over a thousand cookies, way too many pictures of food, unimaginable pounds of butter and cartons of eggs, and a feature article in a food magazine ago. 

6. This is a food blog. Apparently food blog is a loose term and doesn't always include food. Or anything. Oops. 

I AM SO SORRY! I know I don't have to apologize to you, but I'm apologizing to me too! I have 16 posts saved in my drafts that I never finished and 500 pictures saved on my phone and on clouds that I never used. Let's call 2014 the year of transition and the year that I got lost. It was a GREAT year, I hope to write more about just how great it was. But it was busy year. A busy busy busy year. A year where I prided myself on not following other people's rules, loved myself more than I ever have, and loved my life more than I ever have. But it was also a year where I felt like blogging had too many rules I thought I had to follow and therefore not enough time to make perfect posts to fit into perfect rules. Not the right backgrounds, not the right lighting, not healthy enough, not decadent enough, not unique enough, too wordy, not enough words, too shallow, too deep, too broad, not broad enough, and so on. 

Today, I just want a recipe. And so I'm going to. 

If you're a post college grad (aka old enough to want to contribute) but still the younger generation in your family like me (aka still the niece/nephew, granddaughter/grandson, daughter/son, etc. and not one of the matriarchs/patriarchs of the family), it's likely all of the staple holiday dishes are claimed with white knuckles and when you ask what you can bring they tell you ice, cups, or canned cranberry sauce. I declare that instead of getting our own white knuckles in a passionate speech about how you're an adult now and want to contribute too (maybe I'm the only one who has such speeches prepared), just bring that ice or those cups, and some non-claimed dish to knock their socks off and do all the talking for you (no speeches required). 

If they assign you cranberry sauce, make your own dang homemade cranberry sauce (I've been using this recipe for years, and now it's MY claimed staple). Bring a seemingly fancy secretly easy fall side dish they've never thought of  (like pumpkin spiced roasted butternut squash or spicy roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries and toasted pecans). Bake a fall flavored dessert that's not pie (I'm bringing pumpkin cobbler this year and giving you a pumpkin spice trifle recipe soon). And my favorite idea, MAKE THE APPS! Appetizers, not to be confused with applications. Appetizers are frequently forgotten for holiday feasts, especially Thanksgiving. But what a great idea! Instead of everyone having to sneak bites of turkey behind Mr. Protector of the Turkey's back while waiting for the Mr. and Mrs. Always Late, be the Miss Thanksgiving Hero with your apps! 


  • 1 16 oz bag chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (the kind in a jar), divided
  • 1 cup fat free may (It exists! Kraft brand with a red cap. If you are a mayo snob, it's in a recipe mixed with other things and is not the main star, so just try it, or go for full fat if you must.)
  • 1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat parmesan cheese (the kind you shake on pizza)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce


Saute kale in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic, distribute around pan, then add half of the kale. Saute for about 3-5 minutes tossing it with tongs until all the leaves are turning a bright green color. Don't overcook! You just want to bring out the brightness of the kale and infuse it with the garlic and olive oil. Set first batch aside on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and repeat with remaining oil, 1 more teaspoon of garlic, and the rest of the kale. Put the second batch on another baking sheet lined with paper towels to dry.

Mix mayo, greek yogurt, sour cream, parmesan, last teaspoon of garlic, seasonings, and spices together in a large bowl. Set aside. With more paper towels, squeeze out any excess natural waters from the kale. Use a food processor (or a good knife and elbow grease) to chop the kale up finely. Mix finely chopped kale with creamy mixture. Add liquid hot sauce to taste, probably about 2 teaspoons to give it a good kick. Let chill for at least an hour. Hollow out a bread bowl to serve it in for extra fun flare. Serve with carrot chips, celery, bell pepper sticks, crackers, or bread cubes. 

Note: I made this for a friend gathering with girls and guys, and everyone loved it and didn't believe it was healthy!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday (Week 2)

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Happy almost Friday! Just attempting some consistency and my weekly thankfuls recap again (week 1 here). What has you feeling warm fuzzy thankfulness? 

November 6th: 

26. the big truck in front of me on the way to work this morning that stirred up a magical trail of leaves to flutter in front of me all the way to Hinds 

27. technology like myfitnesspal and pedometer apps that make making healthier choices seem less overwhelming

28. project starfish

29. 105.1's 24/7 Christmas music

30. realizing in my blogging absence somehow my page views crossed the 200,000 mark (WHAT?!).

November 7th: 

31. gold glitter pointy toe flats that cost $9

32. crisp air

33. that I live in the real life version of Stars' Hollow

34. the ability to fight lies

35. a cozy bed

November 8th:

36. new dangly earrings


38. house groceries being finished until after thanksgiving

39. cutest picture with Hazel Taylor ever

40.  Harry Potter themed birthday parties

November 9th: 

41. how free I feel to weep on Sundays with my gospel family 

42.  that bath and body works makes candles that smell like hugging attractive men (mahogany teakwood, sparkling icicles, black tie, sweater weather, flannel, etc) AND that they are 2 for $22 right now

43. a roommate teamwork productive afternoon getting our house back together after renovations, 

44. crockpots (and the best/easiest potato soup recipe ever) 

45. God giving me a prayer inspired by the message today to pray through these not so easy grief days and holiday days of missing my dad. "I pray that I would stay in my pain and grief, standing in your glory, clinging to the faith and hope that you are better, instead of running to and back to temptations that entangle, numb, and hide the pain."

November 10th:

46. the cure for most ailments and aches being rest and the luxury of having a job that comes with sick time to partake of healing rest (made my back mad at me, no biggie, it's feeling better now)

47. clean sheets

48. dinner at the table

49. Tyler Florence (he is a beautiful man to watch cook)

50. planning holiday party/meal food offerings

November 11th: 

51. new mercies

52. friends I can reach out to about ugly temptations who never judge but rise up to pray and fight with me

53. positive responses to a cheesy work thanksgiving brunch idea/email

54. an accountability group that's so life giving that even when I think I don't want to go or talk because I'm too emotional and having a heavy grief day, I still go because we love each other in our messes so much that I can talk and cry and they love and give and ask the right questions that make me feel loved and never judged

55. for the patience of amazing roommates who handle my moods and ocd tendencies way more graciously than I deserve!

Side note: I'm quite thankful that so many of my thankfuls are about the amazing people in my life. Today was an unexpectedly emotionally hard day grief day (that I'm actually also thankful for) and precisely the reason why I needed to establish a pattern of focusing on giving thanks for big things, small things, deep things, and silly things.

November 12th: 

56. how beautiful Clinton Raymond road is on my drive to and from work

57. recipe creativity success

58. memories

59. that googling deskercise produced lots of ideas that have now left me a little sore

60. cvs clearance nail polish

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday (Week 1)

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Remember that time I used to post things on my blog? Oops.

Hey y'all, my long lost blog and the few people who didn't give up on me and still read my words. I could say a bunch of things about the lack of posting and make promises I probably can't keep, but I won't. I'm just gonna say...

Hey. I missed you. How are you? Let's be friends again.

Also, remember that time I posted this post about thankfulness last January and had big dreams of being intentionally thankful all year? For the most part that didn't happen guys. I will say that "project" helped me focus on positivity vs. negativity, which is a total victory to celebrate. BUT, as far as intentionally taking time to be consistently thoughtfully thankful for things big and small, it didn't happen.

It's November, so naturally people are on the thankful bandwagon again. At first, I resisted. But, I decided I don't want to miss an opportunity to be intentionally thankful for a month even if it's trendy, cliche, or cheesy. Who the heck cares?! Taking time to shift how we think about life and add positivity is good for us whether it's a bandwagon thing or not. My "make your own rules" mentality tries to skip bandwagons sometimes, but sometimes, it's also just called pride. November is a hard month for me, my hardest (anniversary of my Dad's death + holiday season without him). I started to post ALL of this, and my catching up for the days I resisted, on Facebook. But something about it felt more flashy than genuine and less like an accountability effort to actually do it and more about showing off my list making skills.

Therefore, today I'm sharing my catching up list and my goals with you guys. Somehow this feels more genuine and I'm okay with that. My goal is five thankfuls a day. I will be writing them in my journal and possibly posting them on Facebook most days. Why Facebook? Well, I like sharing and think social media if used correctly (not as a crutch, not as an isolation tool, not as false sense of community/community substitute, not as an addiction, and not to compare or be mean) can make our community richer and help spur one another one. I also might post them as a weekly round up here. Maybe I'll steal the clever and catchy Thankful Thursday. Maybe. Regardless of where I share, or if I share, or if I skip a few days or a week, my goal isn't to check it off my to do list, though I do love a good check mark. My goal is to preach positivity to myself in a month that comes with some pain and heartache. My goal is to be thankful for deep things and shallow things, big things and small things, fun things, silly things, growth things, hard things, ALL THE THINGS! Join me if you wish, but if anytime is a time to intentionally give thanks, November kind of easily sets itself up for that in America, but for me personally, my November needs this. And now, let's catch up! 

November 1st: 

1. new tattoos/tattoo viewing crew 

2. the Babalu burger 

3. the coolest temperatures of fall so far 

4. Mallory and how pleasant and fun she makes getting new tattoos 

5. a working heater 

November 2nd: 

6. a church family that serves together 

7. being in dirty "work clothes" at McAlisters amongst lots of "church clothes" 

8. cast iron skillets 

9. cheap apple season 

10. our growing group of college girls 

November 3rd: 

11. caramel brulee lattes 

12. red cups at Starbucks 

13. meal planning 

14. days of the week notepads 

15. a fun night with my roommates 

November 4th: 

16. colorful fountain pens 

17. my new lunch box 

18. Dollar General lunch breaks (it's the only store I'm not scared to go in in Raymond and I actually love it) 

19. texts from my best friend 

20. my amazing DNA group 

November 5th: 

21. breakfast meetings at Chick-Fil-A 

22. work encouragement/purpose 

23. #fireworkpeople 

24. seeing Arise Church traditions form (2nd Halloween party and 2nd Rake it to the Streets just happened and super pumped about our 2nd Thanksgiving dinner for people in our community) 

25. looking temptation in the face and saying no, you don't win today! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meal Planning 101: Week 53 and Fresh at Five Week 2

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Decided to put my meal plan and Farmers' Market update in one! I use things I buy from the market in my meal planning, so it made sense. :) I'll note what things I bought at the market or what things you can buy at the market.


Leftover crockpot roast, veggies (take advantage of local fresh veggies from the market), rice, and gravy


French dip sandwiches (using leftover pot roast) with roasted squash and zucchini (can be purchased at the market)


I'm hosting Missional Community this week! We'll be having a taco bar with several ingredients from the market! 


Grilled salmon, grilled corn on the cob, and grilled stuffed peppers (peppers can be purchased at the market)


Salmon mango salsa tacos, spicy black beans, mango salsa avocado salad, and baked tortilla chips 




Buffalo chicken wrap and roasted sweet potato wedges 


Lunches - tuna salad
Baking - summer bread puddings

Every Tuesday (weather permitting) on Jefferson Street in Clinton, MS!

This week's vendors are: 

Love's Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Snacks - shaved ice
Chuck Jones - blueberries
Smoothie King - smoothie samples
Eat Cities - sauces and rubs
Kazery Farm -
T & R Dairy Farm - hormone free beef, milk, artisan cheeses, cheese spreads
Lee Lee's Garden - plants and seedlings
Dad's Disappearing Salsa - salsa and dip mixes
Amber Farms - tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant
Mississippi Cold Drip - Iced coffee, iced chai, coffee and chai concentrate
Simple Woods and Produce
Kasia's Kitchen - sweet tea and lemonade
Benet Luchion - botanicals
Boyd Farms - squash, zucchini, peppers, eggs, tomatoes
Grumpy Dave's Kettle Corn - kettle corn, caramel corn, local honey
Lilee's Gourmet Bakery - baked goods
LaRose Freshest Produce - kale, squash, zucchini
Pickled Pickin's - pickled things, salsa
The High Heeled Hippie - cherry tomatoes, red, white, and gold potatoes, baby squash, mint and other herbs, beets and carrots

This week's fun extras are: 

Live music by violinist Redin Spann
Canning demonstration by the MSU Extension Service
Cooking demonstration using market ingredients by Marsha Barham, former Viking Cooking School Director
Tote giveaway to Friends of the Market
Best of Sweet Tea with a Flavorful Twist competition

Follow the Mainstreet Clinton Facebook page for more info! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meal Planning 101: Week 52

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Okay so I'm officially really late posting this, but I had to post it anyway because I actually did it and it's week 52! I've officially given you a years worth of meal plans. It took me more than a year to get there, but I'll call that a mile stone. I had a fight with some freakish sickness that the doctor never figured out Thursday-Friday and was still weak through Monday. As a result, everything was a bit hectic, and this was late!

I actually made that crockpot meal last night, but ended up having friends come in town. I was scared I didn't have enough to feed all 5 of us! So we went out to eat. Therefore everything is getting bumped down so you'll see that grilled things meal on next weeks too. The meal plan with adjustments is as follows: 


Leftover Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad, and Garlic Bread


Out with friends (we had Hot Bowl Mongolian Grill)


Missional Community Meal (it's the other team's food week)


Crockpot Roast, Carrots, and Green Beans with Rice and Gravy


Leftover Roast and Veggies


French Dip Sandwiches (using leftover roast and au jus) and Roasted Squash and Zucchini 


Leftover French Dip Sandwiches and Veggies


Lunches: veggie heavy chicken salad, avocado halves, crackers, and blueberries
Breakfast: Better Oats oatmeal with a cup of frozen fruit mixed in and a tablespoon of chia seeds
Savory Snacks: fat free cilantro jalapeno ranch dip and assorted veggies
Sweet Snacks: fruit with fat free sweet condensed milk or cool whip

Also, I've been adding frozen fruit to my water and I'm able to drink so much more! I'm up to 96 ounces a day easily! 

I also must confess my meal planning has taken a turn for the... well, I think better, but some non-planners may say worse. I now have a spreadsheet! The new job is once a month pay vs my previouw every other week pay. I wanted to plan monthly, but buy every other week since I share a fridge with two other people. In order to do that and not overspend, planning a month out in the beginning seemed like a good idea to me. And I'll have roommates moving in soon who want to eat meals together. Thus the spreadsheet came about! Helps me plan for dinners, lunches, and be sure I write down all the groceries that correspond. Downside... Google spreadsheets apparently doesn't do spell check yet... Don't judge any major typos. Who can spell zucchini or pancetta without spell check?? If you have Google docs I can share a copy with you, just let me know! :) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fresh at Five Week 1

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You've surely heard me talk about my love for my Stars' Hollow-esque town, Clinton, MS. The whole town is great, but by far, the Olde Towne area is the best! In Olde Towne the streets are made of brick, the shops are local and adorable, there is a perfect outdoor courtyard with string lights, the locals are the friendliest, and it truly looks like it could have come from a movie or tv show! Our Main Street Clinton promotions committee plans events to add to the magical feeling of the town. We have outdoor movie nights on the brickstreets in the spring and fall. On Saturdays in spring and fall there are huge outdoor markets with handmade things. I love it all! Buy by far, my favorite thing my lovely little down does is the summer farmers' market, Fresh at Five. It's every Tuesday in June, July, and August from 5:00 - 7:00. As a huge advocate for the market, I volunteered to use my blog to post to promote before the markets! I will very likely be doing a Fresh at Five Finds follow up post. AND, I'm actually a vendor this year, providing sweet tea and lemonade for $1 for the thirsty shoppers! If you live in Clinton or the Jackson-Metro area, join us! 

This week's fun extras are: 
The Fire v. Police Grill-off
Live music by Jason Smith
Dinner options from Garden to Fire Pizza and 303 Jefferson

This week's vendors are: 

*NEW* T&R Dairy Farm: hormone free beef, milk, artisan cheeses, cheese spreads
*NEW* Lee Lee's Garden: strawberry plants, jade plants, purple heart plants, vegetable plant seedlings
*NEW* Kasia's Kitchen: sweet tea, lemonade
*NEW* Love's Hawaiian Ice: shaved ice
*NEW* Amber Farms: tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant
Garden to Fire: brick oven pizzas
Boyd Farms: squash, zucchini, peppers, eggs, tomatoes
The High Heeled Hippie: heirloom tomato plants, beets, baby carrots, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, mint, parsley, oregano, rosemary, dill
Pickled Pickin's: pickles, salsa
Mississippi Cold Drip: cold brew ice coffee concentrate, flavored sweeteners
Little Leaf Farm: green and red lettuce, beets, chard, pak choi Asian greens, basil, mint, dill, cilantro, cherry tomatoes
Dave Bufkin: kettle korn
Footprint Farms: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onions, herbs, beets, turnips
Dad's Disappearing Salsa: salsa mix
Lilee's Gourmet Bakery: zucchini bread (gluten free and low calorie available)
LaRose Freshest Produce: kale, squash, zucchini
Benet Luchion: botanicals
Make Mine Fabulous: baked goods

Summer 2014 Market Dates:

June 3, 10, 17, 24
July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26