Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It.

It's not that often that I see something on Pinterest and am absolutely in need of buying it.

But in my hopes for weight loss through low carb living I've been uninspired. I've been bored with meat and cheese. I don't like vegetables that much, so its a huge chore to find a recipe that is all veggie that I will enjoy. 

Enter the GEFU Spiral Slicer.

Weird name, I know. It's German. It's like fully german, the box and directions and everything. 

As soon as I saw the picture of it on Pinterest I knew I had to have it. For a girl that grew up on pasta every night, I miss the crap out of pasta. I miss how easy it is and how versatile the recipes are. I don't miss how much weight it kept on me though, and in comes the Gefu.

Heres how it works: Cut off the end of your cylindrical veggie, and turn counter clock-wise against the blades inside the Gefu. I like zucchini and squash best. You can also try carrots, cucumber, radish...there's a lot of options. 

Next: Be amazed at how much 1 squash and 1 zucchini can produce when they are cut in this way. 

Yes people, that is 1 of each. Granted, they do shrink when they are cooked..but I was still surprised at how much they produced!

Next: sauté to your liking. Or leave raw if you can stand to eat veggies that way. I added some left over ground beef and vodka sauce. It was my favorite low carb lunch ever. 

The texture definitely mimics spaghetti. I am so happy that I found this contraption on Pinterest. It was definitely worth the $29.95 price tag. I will be enjoying low carb "pasta" for a very long time thanks to it!

I got mine on Amazon but there are plenty of other online retails to buy from. 
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. My blog is not that cool yet, and I really just wanted to tell you how much this has changed my life. 

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Miscellany Monday

I like miscellaneous posts, because I don't much else to say these things other than jumbled up thoughts that somehow make up the story of my life right now.

How was your weekend? We went home to see my family, it was my brother's 25th birthday. It would also have been my Grandpa's 92nd birthday the same day. I've been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately. I think about their love for me as their youngest grandchild and how blessed I was to have them in my life. I get sad for 2.5 seconds until I remember where they are. Oh, for that day!

I bought this little gadget a couple weeks ago.

And I haven't used it yet. I think today I will try it out! I was kind of bummed when it arrived because its from germany, and therefore there are no directions in English, no special recipes....I think I'll have to search the blogs of people that already own one.

That being said, Seth and I have gotten back on a low-carb diet. I feel less gross already. I also stopped craving sugar already! This diet is my favorite of all diets. Despite it's controversial history I totally believe that you can make low-carb a life-style and not just a few month long diet.

Eating on a low calorie diet however, makes me want to rip my hair out.

Our church had a guest preacher yesterday, a man named Justin Anderson who is soon launching a church in San Francisco called Redemption Church. His message blew me away. Going back through it in my mind makes me realize how though a sermon can have a similar message of one you've heard before, its all about the delivery. I was broken by the end of it, in the very best way possible. Broken over how I have tried to fit Jesus into all of the broken areas of my life and that simply doesn't work because He offers us a NEW life. He also illustrated the danger of preaching a reduced Gospel, when we reduce the Gospel to solely being about the cross, we miss the beginning half of THE story. The story that God has been writing throughout human history and why we needed Jesus to come and redeem it. We miss the beauty of the grand story of Jesus coming to rescue the world, Jesus didn't just come for me, He came to be the answer to the WORLD.

It made me realize that my struggle with dissatisfaction lately might be linked to the endless focus on MY sin. I'm now going to refocus on the larger picture of God coming to redeem the world. That is such an easier message to preach to friends and family who don't know the Lord. I'm beyond excited about what God is doing in me, in us.

Last monday I decided to go out on a proverbial limb, a big limb for me to even consider. I bought some soil, some pots, and some seeds and decided that I was going to grow some vegetables.


In a couple months we will (hopefully) have homegrown zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and onions. I could have done garlic too, but our town produces enough of that already *snort*.

This is my last week of working full time at my current job. I am thankful to have had this experience, and grateful that they are letting me stay on part time, but beyond thrilled to finally start substitute teaching.
The last few months have been draining, frustrating, and tough -- but full of growth.  I felt stuck in my job because of our financial situation, because of our health insurance situation, because of my experience ( or lack their of). God has opened the door and allowed it all to work out perfectly, isn't it awesome when He does that?!

Last week I stressed about health care after I learned that part time at my job means 32 hours a week -- I mean, come on. That meant that Seth and I would be dropped on March 31st. That also means that we would have to get private health care for both of us -- which they say is easy when you're "young and healthy"....not exactly true. We found out last week though, that my mom will be able to put me back on her health insurance, and for me being the more risky and injury prone spouse we couldn't have been more excited!! Now all I have to do is get insurance for my husband who goes to the doctor once every 5 years. Easy peasy. 

I'm excited for this new chapter. I'm overjoyed that I get to spend more time at home, cooking meals, getting chores done, having a normal sense of life again. Maybe I'll read a book, or do a puzzle, or craft! 

Happy Monday friends!

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Evolution of an Afghan

My journey with yarn & needles started a few years ago.
It was actually Kim who taught me to knit during our downtime from the Living Christmas tree performances at our church. 

It was super exciting to learn a new craft, but I never really went beyond the square. Knitting is hard, there is a lot of things involved to make it perfect, and the risk of dropping a stitch and making a giant hole is huge. 

I have picked up and put down knitting projects over the years, never quite growing the passion that I needed to be successful. I've been seeing neat crochet projects all over pinterest and the internet lately, and I remember growing up that my grandmother would make me some beautiful stuff with crochet. 

I decided that in 2013 I would learn to crochet. It looked easier and a lot more fun, and the projects looked like I wouldn't get bored with them!

First thing I did was buy a book, which wasn't really good for this visual learner. You laugh, visual learning is obviously through pictures, but these days with the evolution of videos I realize that I depend on videos to teach me things! The book was ok, but I turned to YouTube to help me with the basics. Once I learned the basics I yearned to start learning granny squares.

I started looking online at patterns for different granny squares and practicing them. The techniques for making granny squares varies, so I had to make a few of the same pattern before I got the hang of it. Even though my current project is a huge undertaking for a novice crocheter, I am LOVING how it is coming out. I love even more than you can see how much I have progressed in making the squares over the last couple months. 

The beginning: I started with a handful of squares with the same color pattern. It's easier to make multiples at a time working progressively. I make 6 small circles, then do the 2nd layer, then the third on all 6. You get the picture. 

After making a few with different patterns, using the same 3 colors, I decided to try and connect them. 

It's MUCH harder than it looks. Especially when you are not used to having a consistent needle tension. My first few connections were really tight and puckered in random places. Now that I have the hang of it is getting a lot easier to connect them. 

On superbowl Sunday instead of watching the game, I decided it was time to stitch together everything that I had so far to see how many more squares I would need to complete it. 

I saw that I would need A LOT of complete squares to make it as big as I want it.
But that's ok, I keep learning and growing and its fun!

I'm also learning how to hide my yarn ends and to make sure the connections are solid. This has been a frustrating process indeed, I would be checking my connections and pull something random, and 3 pieces would suddenly unravel. 

As of today...this is how big it is. 
ah! I just love it. I think I will put a dark blue border around the whole thing when it is finished to give it a polished look.
Next time I will up to connect them as I go instead of stitching them all together when I have a certain amount of squares done...that makes for less cutting yarn and hiding ends. 

Thanks for following me on this journey.
I am so excited to show you the finished product when the time comes!
Happy Saturday :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Raspberry Cream Tart...Or you can just call it "Heaven"

Happy Pinter-test kitchen!
I still haven't been doing a lot of pinning lately, but after pinning this recipe and glancing around at what I've been missing, I'm determined to get back on there and find some inspiration! Particularly dinner inspiration, we've been in a funk of taco night and grilled chicken because I'm too lazy to do anything fancier. 

Anyways, I'm really excited to share with you today the most amazing tarte I've ever made. I think it might be the only tarte I've ever made, but I promise it is the BEST.

Seth and I are part of a wonderful little Neighborhood Group at our church. We meet in our leaders coffee shop, we each bring a part of a meal, and we meet and talk about the sermon and what God is doing in our lives.

The food themes have been pretty basic over the past couple months: Southern, Breakfast for Dinner, Mexican...and I thought we needed some excitement. On Sunday afternoon after church, I saw one of the girls in our neighborhood group and grabbed her to ask what the food theme was because I hadn't heard yet. She told me that there wasn't one decided so I quickly thought..lets do "Food that starts with the letter....R!" We started dreaming up all of the random things we could make.

People were a little befuddled about my letter choice, my husband says "Why not Q?".
But we heard exciting things like ravioli, raddish, rotisserie chicken, rolls, and rice! It was surely going to be interesting. I decided on something "raspberry", and obviously that needed to be a dessert. So off to the internet I went to find something perfect.

I found this yummy tart on the first link I clicked: I was sold right away.
At first I was a little intimidated, I mean, that crust looks homemade, and what the heck is a tar pan? This wannabe housewife did not know that there was such thing as a tart pan.

I did have a pie pan though, a really cute red pie pan that I hadn't used yet. It wasn't quite 11 inches like the recipe called for, I believe mine is about 9 inches, it turned out delicious anyways.

Here is what you'll need:

1 16.5 oz roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 3-ounce package cream cheese -- I don't know what country they make packages of cream cheese that small, I grabbed an 8 ounce package and did just fined.
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh red raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries
2 teaspoons sugar
powdered sugar

1. Press cookie dough slices into bottom and fluted sides of a greased 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Do not prick. (Or, press onto bottom of greased 12-inch pizza pan.) Bake in a 350 degrees F oven 20 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven; set aside. 

Notice how I bolded the word greased? Yea, I forgot to do that, and we were scraping the pieces out of the pan all night because they were stuck. I will make sure I do that next time so we have clean cut pieces!

 1.5 Eat extra cookie dough because your pan might be too small. 

1.8 Marvel at the giant cookie you now have in front of you, and try not to eat it. 

2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup sugar, egg, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour cheese mixture over warm crust and spread evenly.

I finally had the chance to use my zester that my MIL bought me. It worked really well! I'm not sure if this counts as "finely shredded" but there weren't any large pieces of lemon zest in the final product so I consider it a success!

This was also my first time using my kitchen-aid  I don't think I can ever go back to stirring something with a fork (my usual method)!

2.5 Try really hard not to eat the filling before you put it inside the giant cookie, I mean crust. 

3. Place the 2 cups raspberries in a single layer on top of cheese mixture. Sprinkle raspberries with 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes more or until or until cheese mixture is set. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 30 minutes before serving. 


4. Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with additional fresh berries, if you like. Makes 8 servings.

You guys......
I normally don't have a lot of faith in what I cook, but holy smokes, this tarte is to die for.
The texture of the cream cheese filling mixed with the cookie dough..it is M-O-I-S-T perfection. 
It was completely gone before we left neighborhood group.
I licked the knife.
I licked my fingers which scraped the knife.
It is embarrassingly good. 

Now its your turn to make this delicious treat!
Thanks, Jess for this fun opportunity! I wouldn't have love handles without it :)

Oh, PS -- Seth and I have been married for 6 months today. Wahoo! It's gone by so fast :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Five Things For Today

Who doesn't love a little random post on a Tuesday?
Linking up with The Style Hatch today

1. God is doing big things in our lives right now. It's exciting, and scary. Scary because I'm suddenly not in control and I'm afraid I'm going to sabotage things. But excited because when God is in control, he tends to NOT sabotage things. It's crazy and wonderful, and makes me flutter with excitement of what's coming.

I just finished Genesis for the first time, and I loved it. I was so excited to start Exodus that I found myself reading on my lunch break. What? Praise Jesus for what He's doing, clearly that is not a desire that I planted in myself.

2. Most of my friends know that I like to change furniture around...more than the average person. My bed in my parents house has probably been situated on every wall and faced every direction possible over the years. We currently don't have a lot of options for furniture spacing in our place, so to feed my need to rearrange, I moved my coffee maker to a new spot and created a new coffee corner. Obviously having a new coffee corner means you need a new mug, enter cutest ampersand mug in the world.

3. My husband is a rock star. Seth is going to be an intern in April for a major airplane...thing. I clearly don't know the technical stuff, but I do know that he is rocking it in school and I couldn't be more proud of him. 
The internship does kind of mess up our plans to go to Seattle though, which is a bummer, but I know there will be other opportunities coming..especially with a potential job change for me with substitute teaching. 

4. I'm kinda ready for winter to be over. I'm sure I will regret saying that when June comes and it is 100* outside and we are melting in our little attic of a home..but right now I'm kind of frozen in the morning. And I have to stand in front of the fireplace to warm up. 

5. We are taking the plunge and becoming members at our church. That is something I thought we wouldn't do for a long time, but we both feel God's call to commit and serve in this body. This is yet another place we are seeing God move. God is moving us out of our comfort zones and into a place where we are mold-able and movable and active. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous. 
Here is me and a couple girls in our neighborhood group doing dishes after group. Both of them have been such blessings in our new life in the South Bay. 

 I guess this is kind of how our conversation would go if we sat down for coffee. I'd be all over the place, spewing out random factoids at life to anyone who will listen, cause let's be real, I barely have time to talk to my husband about anything these days! I'll be back on Thursday to tell you about the amazing tarte I brought to said Neighborhood group.

Happy Tuesday, friends!