April 21, 2012

Carnitas Ensalda

Sometimes we'll have leftover pork from making this recipe.  And, if we do, Charlie and I really enjoy eating this for lunch.

Shredded Lettuce (this happened to be iceberg, but we'll use whatever we have on hand)
Red Onion
Sour Cream (optional)

Mix it all together and squeeze some lime juice over the top.

April 20, 2012

Artichoke Pesto Salad

Another salad variation to try:

Mixed Greens
Red Onion
Bell Pepper
Lemon & Cilantro Artichoke Pesto

Maple Dressing:

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon italian seasonings
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup olive oil

Lemon & Cilantro Artichoke Pesto

This may not photograph the best but it is a great addition to salads, lunchmeat wraps or makes a great "dip" for veggies.  

It's all done in the food processor:

1 can of whole artichoke hearts, drained (14oz) 
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbs fresh cilantro (just pinch a little off...a little goes a long way)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

 Pulse it just a bit...I like mine still a little chunky.

April 19, 2012

Apple Walnut Salad

This is a super simple salad packed with flavor and great when you're low on ingredients:

Apple Pecan Salad
Mixed greens
1/2 red onion, chopped (or 3 green onions)
Feta Cheese
1 Granny Smith Apple, chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. spicy mustard
½ tsp. garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

April 18, 2012

Sweet Italian Salad

This is served great next to an "Italian-ish" dish...or not.

Sweet Italian Salad:
Romaine lettuce
Cherry Tomatoes
Sliced almonds
Parmesan Cheese

In a large bowl toss it all together.

¼ cup coconut palm sugar or maple dressing
1 tsp. dried minced onion (or onion powder)
1 tsp. poppy seed
A  few dashes of paprika
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

…Then shake it all about!!

April 17, 2012

Cobb Salad

Trust me, okay? This, again, tastes better than the photo looks. I think I've eaten this salad for a week straight for lunch, it's that good.

Cobb Salad:
Mixed Greens
Hard Boiled Egg
Feta Cheese
Red Onion
(sometimes I'll add chicken, steak or ham if this is our main course for dinner)

Green Sauce dressing done in a food processor:

Green Sauce:
1 lb. tomatillos 
1 avocado
1 jalapeno pepper 
1/3 bunch cilantro
1/4 of onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. salt

This green sauce is SO good that I have just eaten with a spoon before. Also a great addition to lunchmeat wraps or a great dip for carrots. Asher also loves it on his eggs in the morning.

April 16, 2012

Greek Salad

Greek Salad:
Mixed Greens or Romaine
Red Onion
Black or Kalamata Olives (or this makes it even better http://www.formerchef.com/2010/10/18/three-olive-tapenade-plus-how-to-roast-a-pepper/)
Cherry Tomatoes
Green Pepper or Banana Peppers

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar

April 15, 2012

Cashew Cherry Salad

Spinach or Mixed Greens
Dried Tart Cherries (or cranberries, I just can't find any without sugar)
Red Onion 
Feta or Parmesan

(This will make a jar full but it will keep well in the fridge for a while.)

Maple Dressing:

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon italian seasonings
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar,
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
3/4 cup olive oil

April 12, 2012

Resurrection Celebration

We were forced to stay home this year on Easter, instead of getting to spend it with Mimi and the cousins, on account of the chickenpox. It was surprisingly restful and especially worshipful and we finally got to have our Resurrection Celebration that I'd only dreamed about the last few years.

Charlie and I stayed up WAY too late getting everything set up in the backyard so that it would be all ready when we'd wake the kids at sunrise. But, this day! Oh, this day is worth celebrating!! It's the day we'll be celebrating forever.

We kept it pretty simple using decor I already had from throwing showers, my fancy dishes, and flowers. While I worked on a table arrangement the evening before, Charlie did most of the food prep for our Resurrection Celebration: Green Eggs & HamYWF link-sausage, sweet potato hash, and fruit salad.

As we were getting ready to celebrate on Easter morning, things just needed to either be popped in the oven or cooked on the stovetop. (We forgot ALL about our Resurrection Cookies that we'd made the night before, though, when we were pre-heating the oven. Oops!!) We woke up the kids as we busted into their rooms telling them, "He is Risen! Jesus is alive!! The women saw an angel instead of Jesus who told them that Jesus would meet them in Galilee, just as He had promised." (Mark 16)

While breakfast was warming, the kids searched for their Easter baskets hidden in the house. This was the first time we'd hidden them and they loved the thrill of the hunt.

We were not surprised at all that McKlayne adored all the flowers and the "fancy" table. She and Asher both loved the chocolate crosses. (I searched all over town and finally found them at Walgreens...well worth the search.)

Since it was so early, we let the babies continue to sleep while we celebrated the resurrection over breakfast.  Asher and McKlayne enjoyed the "double date" and Charlie and I really enjoyed getting to focus and really be engaged in conversation with them without any distractions.

After breakfast and signing a few hymns, Charlie retold the Easter story as the kids ate their chocolate crosses. They listened intently and asked insightful questions as they tried to process the story of salvation.

Then Charlie explained how early Christians adopted an ancient tradition from the Persians that we now know as "Easter eggs".  The Persians celebrated with eggs in their Spring Festival. They used the hard shell of the egg, as it is broken open so that new life can emerge, to symbolize the rebirth of nature through Spring.  In the same way, Christians adapted this symbol a bit and began to use eggs to symbolize the rock-hewn tomb of Jesus, which was broken open when he rose from the dead on the third day, to symbolize the rebirth of mankind through Jesus.  

And with that, they were off to hunt Easter Eggs.

As they emptied their coin-filled eggs, Charlie told them about how we'd decided to put money in them to remind them of  Jesus as valuable "treasure". He went on to tell them a story that Jesus told about the kingdom being like Hidden Treasure (Matthew13). I pray that these symbols of truth are planted deep in their hearts and that the Spirit would grow them in understanding and faith, and one day soon, they'd take all that they have and trade it for that treasure, Jesus.

And, because I'm from South Texas, confetti eggs will always be a part of our celebration:

After a long nap, we went on an Easter Story Treasure Hunt, as a family.  The kids enjoyed this, too.(Maybe, I'll share that with you next year.)

As much as we were bummed to not get to spend the weekend with family, I was reminded of, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul."

A whole day to celebrate....really celebrate new life we've been given through the resurrection power of Jesus. It was activity-packed, yet full of meaning and rest as we were able to really reflect on the freedom and newness that Jesus freely extends to all who believe...even those "religious ones" who think they'd "always believed"-like me. Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of new, rich life that you extended to me, nine years ago.