Quinoa Bowls

If you live in Palm Beach County and haven’t tried out the fast casual restaurant Anzo, make it a point to do so soon! Their ingredients are fresh and tasty and their falafel is the BEST I’ve tasted! This recipe is inspired by Anzo, which reopens today, May 25! My kids and I have been counting down the days and encourage you to check them out and support this local business!

Ingredients

For the Quinoa base

1 cup of quinoa uncooked

1-1 1/2 cups of lentils uncooked

For the roasted veggies

1 head is broccoli

1 head of cauliflower

2 sweet potatoes

1 package of Brussels sprouts

Olive oil for pan

Garlic salt for seasoning

For the Tomato Salsa

1 package of grape tomatoes

Cilantro

Purple onion

Lemon

Salt

Toppings (optional)

Store-bought hummus (we use the organic Costco brand)

Sliced avocado

Sunflower seeds

Directions:

1. Put one cup of quinoa and two cups of water into a pot and cover on medium high. Bring to a boil and lower immediately after so it doesn’t boil over. Reducing heat to low, allow to cook until all liquid has been absorbed.

2. In a separate pot, put in lentils and fill pot halfway with water. Cook on medium high for about 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.

3. Drain lentils and combine with quinoa, mixing and adding a little garlic salt.

4. While the lentils and quinoa are cooking, prep your veggies. Preheat oven to 375. Spray two cookie sheets with olive oil.

5. Chop sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts after rinsing thoroughly. For Brussels sprouts, cut off tips and half or quarter them. Toss all Brussels sprout leaves onto pan also as these are crunch yummy. Sprinkle with garlic salt.

6. Roast the veggies for about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through and moving veggies around with a spatula. I like my veggies a little charred, so sometimes leave them in a few minutes longer.

7. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the tomato salsa. Rinse and slice grape tomatoes in half. Dice onion and finely chop cilantro. Mix all together into a bowl with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil. And dash of salt. Taste and season according to your preference.

To assemble the bowls, put the quinoa lentil base at the bottom. Pile on the veggies and tomato salsa. Add avocado, hummus, and sunflower seeds if desired. Enjoy!

This is a great meal to prepare in advance and make in bulk to have for lunches for a few days.

What local businesses are you most looking forward to reopening, Mama?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Stay With Me

Happy Monday, Mamas! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, reading is one of my favorite forms of self-care.

In recent years I’ve discovered that authors have “launch teams” where they select applicants to read their new releases in advance. The responsibilities of the launch team members include writing reviews, and promoting the books on social media prior to release day.

I have the privilege of being on Becky Wade’s launch team for her newest release, Stay With Me. This beauty releases tomorrow, May 5, 2020. You can check out my brief review below.

Gen awakens in a cottage on Sam’s property, with no recollection of how she arrived there. Sam discovers Gen’s secret and from the get-go convinces himself to remain as he has, isolated and alone.

The two characters must work through their past, and attraction to each other causes sparks to fly. Their experiences have shaped them, but can they trust the Lord to guide their future?

This is a must read! Every year, I mark my calendar for Becky Wade’s newest release. And every year, I am so sad when I’ve finished reading her newest book, because they are SO GOOD! Stay With Me is a beautiful story that has the reader searching their heart and staying up past their bedtime!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

You can purchase Stay With Me on amazon, bookbub, Barnes & Noble, christianbooks.com, Books-A-Million, and a few other places I might have forgotten! 😉

This particular book is one of my favorites by Becky. If you haven’t checked out this author, I highly encourage you to!

What books are you reading, Mama?

Bonus: Check out some of my favorite quotes from Stay With Me!

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My Thankful Song: Stirring up Gratitude

In May 2013, my Babes and I returned to the U.S. after an eleven month journey called the World Race.

August 2013, we packed our bags once again and moved from Florida to Georgia where I landed a second grade teaching position and my Babes an internship with Adventures in Missions.

Shortly after moving, we discovered I was pregnant. After having no income for one year. After moving away from our family once again. After moving to a city where traffic was horrendous on my daily drive to and from work.

I struggled daily to find contentment, to find something to be thankful for. The Georgia gray skies were depressing. As my belly grew daily, I found it hard to fit behind the wheel of Whitey Tighty, my afternoon 1997 Corolla on the cool winter mornings. My classroom was the trailer that was farthest away from the school, and more importantly the bathroom. And the day we went to move into our apartment, we discovered they gave it away to someone else.

I felt strongly that I needed to do something to help stir up gratefulness in my own heart. One morning on my drive to work, I created a thankful song. It’s so simple, but any time I would feel the gray skies pressing in, I would sing this silly song. It helped change my focus to the blessings in my life.

After all, the Lord provided a beautiful home for us to live in. After being sad about the distance between my family and I, God provided family and community in a unique way. After all, the Lord had provided the job and a new scenic route to school that didn’t include as much traffic. After all, the Lord provided the blessing of a firstborn son.

A friend of mine who lives in Georgia texted me a few days ago and reminded me of my thankful song. I have sung it through many seasons over the years, and the tune is a little quirky and silly.

I was reminded of the importance of stirring up gratitude in this very unusual season of quarantine. I am sure that this is not what many of us hoped for or anticipated for 2020. Mamas, it’s ok to be honest with God about our disappointments. Surrender them to him and then take a moment to be thankful for your blessings.

Thank you God for a place to live.

Thank you God for the food that you provide.

Thank you God for my job at VIPKID.

Thank you God for my healthy familyyyyyyyyy.

(The last line I usually stretch out quite a bit.)

How are you stirring up gratitude in this season, Mamas?

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4

 

Chlene’s Italian Salad

Happy Thursday, Mamas! This is day ? of quarantine due to COVID-19. Anybody counting the days? I’ve lost track. I am, however, trying hard to stay on track with keeping myself and my family healthy!

One of my favorite ways to do that is through plant based foods. Today I want to share with you my most favorite salad. It’s my mom’s Italian salad that she’s made for numerous gatherings over my childhood and growing up. You can make it vegan, or can add meat and some feta on top. Your choice!

I’ve been making this once a week for dinner lately, and since I’m in chopping mode, I always prep a salad for the Babes and me the next day for lunch. I hope you enjoy it!

Chlene’s Balsamic dressing

Ingredients 

6 Garlic cloves

1 part balsamic, 2 parts olive oil

Spicy Golden mustard

Fresh lemon

Parm Cheese (optional)

Garlic Salt

Italian Seasoning

Pepper

Large Mason Jar

Directions

Finely chop the garlic cloves and add to the bottom of the jar. Fill the jar about 1/4 of the way with balsamic. Then pour to almost 3/4 of the way with olive oil. Add a few long squeezes of mustard. Squeeze in juice from a 1/4 of a lemon. Add 4-5 big shakes of Parm cheese, 4 big shakes of garlic salt, 3 shakes of Italian seasoning and 3 shakes of pepper. Stir, shake, whatev’s. Pour on salad and enjoy! We use a large mason jar that contains …ounces.

Chlene’s Salad

A large bag or container of spinach (we use the one from Costco).

1 can of white navy beans

1 can of pitted black olives

Purple onion

1 large Tomato 🍅

1 cucumber 🥒

1 container of  mushrooms 🍄

2 Hard boiled eggs 🥚

Avocado 🥑

Feta Cheese 🧀

In a large bowl, full with spinach.

Drain and rinse the beans and olives. Pour on top of spinach.

Chop the remainder of the toppings, and add into salad.

Add some feta cheese (optional), salad dressing, toss, and serve!

Enjoy!

Whats your favorite salad, Mama?

 

 

 

 

 

Good Friday, SATURDAY, Easter Sunday

My sister sent me a photo via text message last night. Jesus was having a Zoom meeting at the Last Supper with His disciples and was looking for Judas. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

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Why do people call Good Friday “good?” I’m sure the disciples didn’t think it was a good day. Their best friend, their mentor, their roommate, their fish and bread winner was dead. Even though Jesus warned them multiple times, they didn’t quite get it until the cross was right in front of their faces.

That Friday wasn’t good for them, but it is good news for you and me. Typically a day where services are more somber and a time for reflection. I would venture to say that before we can celebrate Easter, we have to understand what it is and Who it is we are celebrating.

I read an excerpt from “Who Is This Man?” by John Ortberg this morning. He proposes that “Silent Saturday is the time in between despair and joy, this strange in between day.”

As I read on, I couldn’t help but think that this is what we are facing right now in this in between space moment of history. With COVID-19 effecting peoples’ health, economy, and changing our daily lives dramatically, many of us are in this “strange in between” space. In between jobs, in between what used to be and what we hope for, in between a paycheck and wondering how we will provide for our families…

Mamas, Papas, families, you are not alone. The disciples also experienced this Saturday 2,000 years ago. Ortberg questions, “What do you do with Saturday? You can wait. Work with God even when He feels far away. Rest. Ask. Whine. Complain. Trust.” 

It’s ok to be real with God. Abraham was. He questioned how could he possibly become the Father of Nations when he had no children and was old enough to be a great grandfather. Moses was. He questioned God’s choice of a spokesperson for His people, after all, he had a stutter. Mary was. She questioned Gabriel, “How can this be?” when she was told she would give birth to the Messiah when she had never been with a man.

On this Saturday, God is waiting for you to be real with the in between spaces of your heart. Don’t rush from Friday, skip Saturday, and get to Sunday. Press into this moment, this day, and this in between space.

What are you and your family “in between” right now, Mama? I’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments below.

 

*Quotes referenced from “Who Is This Man?” by John Ortberg

Wanting and Choosing Peace

Yesterday morning, around 3:30 am, my husband slid into bed. He’s a night owl, and I usually stir awake when he comes to join me in the wee hours of the morning. He proceeded to tell me how there was a rumor that our nation would be on complete lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We discussed running to the grocery store first thing when the sun rose to grab some items and stock up.

Yesterday morning was filled with me texting multiple Mama friends to warn them of the possibility. I wanted to share the news with them because would want to know! I have little mouths to feed, and so do they!

Last night as I reflected on my day, I realized that the rumor was just a rumor. But also, I was reminded how some cities have shut down completely. I don’t regret going to the grocery store, but I was saddened by the order in which I chose to set about my day.

Last night as I reflected on my day, I realized…

I want to run to the Lord first thing in the morning, not the grocery store. He is my Source and my Provider. I chose today, to spend time in His Word, reflecting on His promises, and journaling.

I want to bring peace to my Mama friends, not chaos. I chose to apologize to those Mama friends and shared an encouraging devotional I read instead today.

I and my children, along with everyone else, are processing a new normal. I want to adapt well and help my kids adapt well. In order for this to happen, I chose to acknowledge the emotions of disappointment and surrender any anxious thoughts to the Lord.

This is a time unlike any other that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. When the doubts and worries of finances, jobs, food, toilet paper, and the economy creep in, how do you want to respond, Mamas? What do you chose to do?

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

 

What I’m Listening To

Hey Mamas! Have you read any good books lately? I love, love, LOVE reading! Reading fiction at the end of my day (or during nap time) is my favorite way to unwind and give me some self care.

My preference to read is fiction, but this year I really wanted to challenge myself to grow more as a mom, wife, and in my walk with Jesus. I’ve rediscovered the beauty of audiobooks. I love that I can be washing dishes, doing laundry, or driving around and be soaking in some goodness.

Do you have the Hoopla app, Mama? I just have to share the good news, it’s free and with your library card you have access to so many good reads, or listens. 🙂

I just finished listening to “Becoming Mom Strong,” by Heidi St. John. Wow! First of all, Heidi is a mom of 7, so pretty much a rockstar. I love how she weaves in humorous stories of her children and herself to keep it real. Heidi has scripture to sharpen and challenge the Mamas to be strong and courageous as we are in the battle of our lives, fighting for our kids spiritually. Each chapter ends with “prayer points,” recapping what was talked about and guiding Mamas how to pray for themselves and their kiddos. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

I am currently listening to, “Parenting Scripts,” co-authored by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. These ladies also wrote, “Triggers,” which I have not yet read or listened to. I’d recommend going with “Triggers,” first, as it seems like this book lays the foundation, but they can both be read separately. “Parenting Scripts,” is rocking my world a bit. Each chapter contains different potential scenarios that occur in most homes. The authors encourage parents to take time away from these repetitive situations and ask the Holy Spirit to guide them in rewriting a new, positive, scripture based script for the future. What I love about this book is the women recognize and say repeatedly that each individual family is unique and will have different scripts for the same scenarios. And that’s how it’s supposed to be! God is a Creative God and made each family special with their own personalities. I am not done with this book yet, but give it 5 out of 5 stars already!

What have you been reading or listening to lately, Mama? Do you prefer to read a physical book or listen? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!