Our Travels, Our Food, Our Mission

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen prepping, cooking, and baking. This ensures that my family is being well-fed AND that we are saving money. My reward for all this work is knowing that when we go out to eat, we can do it well. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be fresh and real. So, on our 2 day excursion to Asheville, we took advantage of our time there. We love to eat, and the following pictures show it.Our favorite spot to visit is Sunny Point Cafe. They specialize in breakfast, but have some great main dishes too. They also grow a number of their veggies in the garden that sits alongside of the cafe (that’s where my “bee on the flower” photo was shot). Scott loves their carrot pancakes (that I did a “remake” of at home), and I love their Ahi tuna burger and their bean and veggie burger. And their local grits with local goat cheese also tops my list.
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Ahi Tuna Burger from Sunny Point Cafe
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Shrimp Ceviche from Tupelo Honey Cafe
We also headed to Tupelo Honey Cafe where I ordered shrimp ceviche – excellent flavor and very filling. On our last night there, we tried a new spot for us – Carmel’s. The salad I ordered was loaded with fresh berries, almonds, and goat cheese (there are a lot of goat farms around which is fine with me!). We all know how easy it is to overcook a chicken breast, but this one was super moist. I ate every bite of the entire salad :) After our 6 mile hike, we went to Neo Burrito and I ordered the Spinach Cotija Burrito – rice, black beans, mushrooms, spinach, pesto, cotija cheese, and salsa. Did I mention a salsa bar for all your salsa needs? 20140918-184842.jpg
The Berry Salad with Blackened Chicken from Carmel’s – blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries galore!
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Spinach Cotija Burrito from Neo Burrito
Our final destination was Spartanburg for the RecSpo Conference. This event took place in the new Star Center which hosts Upwards Sports. What an awesome facility! The purpose of Upwards is to teach students the skills and sportsmanship of various sports while teaching them about the love of Jesus. And that is in part why we were there. While this began as a trip to earn credit for Scott’s seminary degree, it soon became an event we looked forward to attending since fitness and sports are highly valued by us. And even more importantly, we knew we would be learning how to reach people for Jesus through sports. Our hearts were blessed, contacts made, and prayers begun as we seek to see what God is calling us to do through the recreational activities we are involved in. While I know God has something specific He is calling me to do, and I am seeking Him on this, the one thing He did reveal to me while I was there is that I must be intentional about sharing Jesus with others where He currently has me – schools, ballet, football, grocery stores, and with friends and family. Please pray for me as I head forward with this truth and with whatever it is God is directly calling me to do. I am humbled and excited to see what’s in store for me (and my family)!20140918-184904.jpg
The BRAND NEW Star Center for Upwards Sports

 

The Best Things in Life Are Free Part 2 of 2

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From the veggie/flower garden of our favorite Asheville restaurant- Sunny Point Cafe

Yes, the best thing in life are free. My husband and I had the opportunity to get away for the week. We spent a couple of days in Asheville and then headed over to Spartanburg for the RecSpo Conference in the new Upwards Facility. This was part of his seminary degree, and I had the chance to attend as well. For two people that have a heart for fitness/sports and ministry, this was SWEET! Now to reflect and hear what God is leading us to do…

While on our trip we were able to take a hike through Graveyard Fields outside of Asheville. We were supposed to do a 3 mile hike, but we missed a turn and doubled it- oops! That’s okay because it made our post-hike burritos taste that much better. The sights, smells, cooler air, and heart-pumping walk were free…and wonderful!

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The beginning of our hike of Graveyard Fields

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From the top of Graveyard Fields

At our conference, legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden gave a great talk to all the attendees. I plopped myself outside the upper room where I knew he was and waited patiently for him to emerge. I asked for a photo because “I’m an FSU alumni” I told him, and he gave me a GREAT, BIG squeeze. (I think that’s a  smile on my face!) Yes that was free too – and a memory I will hold onto forever!20140918-184603.jpg

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The BRAND NEW Upwards fields where Scott was playing ultimate Frisbee

Then there is this photo of the soccer field. Scott was able to get out on a gorgeous afternoon and play some ultimate Frisbee while I was jiving with the ReFit Revolution ladies. There is something incredibly refreshing when you can move and feel alive! Yep. That’s free too.

The Best Thing in life is Jesus. He’s free. And the other best things in life – family, friends, creation, and simply enjoying life- are free too, so celebrate all things free this weekend!

The Best Things in Life Are Free Part 1 of 2

I’ve been a bit quiet here on my blog recently. This is because my time has been spent elsewhere- namely on my mom. My stepdad’s health has been poor, but about a month ago it began to deteriorate quite rapidly. And one and a half weeks ago, it plummeted to the point that even the doctor was surprised by his decent and hospice was called in. Then, just several days after hospice came on the scene, my stepdad peacefully left this earth. My mom has been amazing through it all. And she would be the first to tell you that it isn’t through her strength, but only because God’s strength is being made perfect through her weakness.

We were out to dinner the other night, and our waiter was telling the tourists next to us that the best things are free. He was referring to taking advantage of the nature that the area has to offer as opposed to spending money on other activities. That phrase – “the best things are free”- struck a cord with me because The Best Thing in life is free! I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to tell you of “That Thing”. We all have a void in our hearts that we seek to fill with countless “things” – money, people, fanfare, prestige, etc. But that void was created by a God who wonderfully created us, and it can only be filled with Him. But our sin seals our hearts and keeps Him out. It is only by God’s sacrifice of His son, Jesus, that that sin can be melted away and our fellowship with our Creator can be restored. Jesus is our gift from God – free and without strings. Yes. Free. We simply extend our hands of surrender to God, and He gives us forgiveness through Jesus. Then we have an amazing well spring of life that allows an unimaginable love and joy to flow out of our hearts and into the lives of others, bringing glory to God. I pray that you know Jesus and, if you don’t, please ask me Him because I want you to be with me in Heaven for eternity!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

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Mason Jar Greek Salad – “A Salad For Each Week” #39

When it comes to food, presentation can make the difference between “giving it a try” or “pushing it aside”. Here is a prime example of an eye-pleasing salad. Last week, I packed Aleyah a layered Greek salad in a mason jar and sent it off in her ice pack laden-lunchbox. When she returned home, the salad was gone! (No, she didn’t throw it out :P ).

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Mason Jar Greek Salad

  • 1/3 cup hummus

  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped

  • 1/3 cup cucumber, chopped

  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped

  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced

  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped

  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt

Use an 8 oz jar. Salt the tomatoes and set aside. Place half the hummus on the bottom of the jar. Place half the spinach on top of the hummus, followed by half the black olives, all the peppers, and half the cucumbers. Layer with the remaining hummus, then spinach, black olives, cucumbers, and finally the salted tomatoes. (The salt draws out the moisture from the tomatoes making a “natural” dressing as it sits.) Seal and pack with ice packs or eat right away.

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

  37. Curried Cauliflower Sauté

  38. French Onion Green Beans

 

 

Tres Leches French Toast

What does one do with leftover milks from her husband’s Tres Leches birthday cake? Make Tres Leches French Toast of course! This was a total experiment which turned out to be a total success :) (And please excuse the darkness of the photo- it was early in the morning and not enough natural light. Had to take the picture before all the french toast vanished!)

20140906-063435.jpgTres Leches French Toast

  • 1 lb loaf whole grain bread, sliced into 1/2″ slices

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/3 cup almond milk

  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seeds (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • 1/2 cup sweet condensed milk

  • 8 oz organic whipping cream, divided

  • 2 teaspoons honey

Place sliced bread into an 8×8 pan. Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and flax together. Slowly pour over bread. Cover with lid. (I like to snap lid in place and flip to ensure all the bread is moist. I will leave it inverted for about 10 min.) Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 350. Remove french toast from fridge. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Combine evaporated milk, sweet condensed milk, and 1/4 cup cream. Pour milks over french toast after it has been out of the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Beat remaining cream into whipped cream, adding honey just as cream begins to reach the soft peak stage.  Slice french toast and place individual servings onto plates. Top with whipped cream. 

French Onion Green Beans – “A Salad For Each Week” #38

Before I left for my ballet class the other day, I sliced up some onions and began to cook them down in my cast iron skillet. I had the idea of french onion soup in my mind, but it was hovering around 90 outside so I stuck with traditional flavors and decided that the fresh green beans in my fridge would be the perfct vessel for my onions. As I headed out the door, I turned off the burner and covered them. When I walked back in after class, the house was filled with that wonderful smell of sauteed onions! I basically had forgotten about them and the aroma was a pleasant reminder that part of my well-earned lunch was already complete. I placed the sweet and soft onions over some fresh green beans, grabbed a fork and knife and enjoyed an easy and fresh side to my lunch!

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 French Onion Green Beans

  • 2 handfuls of fresh green beans

  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 3-4 fresh sprigs of thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 garlic glove, minced

  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet. Add onions and garlic. After about 5 minutes, turn heat to low. Add in vinegar and mustard and stir until coated. Toss in fresh sprigs of thyme. Stir occasionally, cooking for another 30 minutes or so. (Or turn off stove, cover, and go to ballet class :) ) Add salt and pepper before removing from stove. Place warm onions over fresh green beans. You can sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and toasted breadcrumbs to give it an even more “French Onion Soup” feel. Makes 2 servings.

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

  37. Curried Cauliflower Sauté

 

 

Curried Cauliflower Sauté – “A Salad For Each Week” #37

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After a morning of cleaning the other day, I surveyed my fridge and decided that Indian fare was what I wanted for lunch. With the already chopped cauliflower I had on hand, I quickly cut the other veggies and heated up my cast iron skillet for this warm and savory dish. You can also serve this chilled over a bed of spinach or baby greens which soak up the juices and spices. Warm or cold – I love the flavors in this!

  • 2 cups cauliflower, chopped

  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped

  • 1/4 cup onion, diced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tablespoon Indian spice mix (recipe below)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • Hot sauce, optional

  • Fresh cilantro

Heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add cauliflower, tomatoes, celery, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add in water, Indian spice mix, and hot sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve warm and garnished with cilantro. Makes 2-4 servings.

Indian Spice Mix
4 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons curry

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together and save remainder for future use.

 

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

  36. Antipasto Pasta Salad

 

Pan Seared Tuna (or Salmon) Burgers

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I love to make a large batch of these burgers and freeze the leftovers for quick lunches at the house or to go into a lunchbox. You can substitute whatever veggies you have on hand, but I love the flavor of the celery and carrot. We don’t eat many buns around my house, so my favorite way to serve a patty is over some greens and a large dollop of stone ground mustard.

Pan Seared Tuna Burgers
-4 cans tuna or salmon (in water)
-1 egg
-1/4 cup ground flax or coarsely chopped oats
-1 tablespoon stone ground or Dijon mustard
-2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
-1/3 cup finely chopped celery and carrot
-1/4 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped

Beat egg in a large bowl. Drain fish and add to bowl along with all other ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined. Make into 3-4 inch patties. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and allow to get hot. Sear each patty for about 4-5 minutes a side. Serve warm with desired garnishes. Makes about 6 burgers.

Antipasto Pasta Salad – “A Salad For Each Week” #36

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Wednesday mornings are a busy time in the kitchen for me. I make 5 lunches, 6 dinners, and the minimum of 6 snacks. To make the “dinner” portion of food prep easier and faster, I’ve decided to make a large pasta salad on this night that I can divide up between the gang. This past Wednesday, I put together an antipasto version of a pasta salad. There isn’t really a recipe- Perhaps a guideline is more of an appropriate term. You can vary this up in so many ways, but here is what I used:

  • Brown rice pasta, 3 cups cooked (Tinkyada is my favorite brand)

  • Applegate pepperoni, 3 slices

  • Applegate ham, 4 slices

  • 1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese, small cubes

  • 1/4 cup Sweet peppers, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup Tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup Lettuce, shredded finely

  • 1/4 cup Kale, shredded finely

  • Garlic, 1 clove minced

  • Handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place pasta in a large bowl. Add meats and cheese, veggies, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir until mixed evenly. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss until coated. Taste and add oil, vinegar, or salt and pepper if you prefer.

Other recipes you will enjoy:

“A Salad For Each Week” Recipes:

  1. Broccoli and White Bean Salad

  2. Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw

  3. Fresh and Minty Cantaloupe and Tomato Salad

  4. Tangy Kale and Sweet Potato Bit Salad

  5. Key Lime Corn and Black Bean Salad

  6. Green Bean, Tomato, and Mozzarella Pesto Salad

  7. “So Long Summer” Salad

  8. Pickle Salsa

  9. Gingery Broccoli and Carrot Salad

  10. Mediterranean Farro Salad

  11. Home Grown Kale and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chutney Dressing

  13. Cranberry and Orange Quinoa Salad

  14. Southwest Ranch Dressing

  15. Marinated Mushrooms

  16. Fajita Quinoa

  17. Caesared Brussel Sprouts

  18. Fresh Argentinian Salad

  19. The “New Green” Salad

  20. Shrimp, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Balsamic Chia Dressing

  21. Garden Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

  22. Cool Zucchini, Carrot, and Radish Salad

  23. Layered Greek Salad

  24. Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad

  25. Ginger Dressed Slaw

  26. Creamy Balsamic, Blueberry and Basil Spinach Salad

  27. Tangy Green Bean Salad

  28. Florida Summer Salad

  29. Avocado and Crab Salad

  30. Bella Salad

  31. Sweet Potato Home Fries

  32. Tomato and Carrot Balsamic Salad

  33. “The Southeast” Summer Salad

  34. Homemade Caesar Salad

  35. Creamy Caesar Salad

 

Summer Snap Shots

My girls started school last week, and my son AND husband (who graduates with his MDIV in May!!!!) start tomorrow. Here are some of my favorite memories of our summer…

 

RunDaytone
Sunrise run on Daytona Beach
RUnIndialantic
Sunrise run on Indialantic
RUnHiltonHEad
Sunrise run on Hilton Head
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Hiking the falls at Dupont State Park, NC

 

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Rafting the Pigeon Forge

 

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Eating fresh and delicious food with…
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my favorite little food connoisseurs!
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