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A Few Thoughts on Gratefulness

Thursday, October 8, 2015


One of the things I want to do more of  is to pay more attention. To slow down and take in my life. I get so busy with 3 kids, a husband, a blog, a home based business, that I tend to lose sight of what it is all about. I want to spend more quality time with my family. To be intentional with my time.  I want my children to see that life is meant to be lived. To be seen, and heard . There are so many things that I want to teach them, and I want to start with gratefulness. To be thankful for what they have been given in life. To be present in the day to day. To see people and to love them unconditionally. To accept things as they are and to deal with what life throws at all of us.

The past few years have been hard  for me personally. I lost both of my grandmothers in a matter of weeks. My heart was full of grief. It still is, and will forever be longing for one more day with them. I said goodbye to many friendships. Some by my choice, many by theirs. I was forced to take a hard look at myself and to admit that  most of the people that I had surrounded myself with were toxic to me. I had to  admit to myself that I was a "Debbie Downer" and that my outlook on most everything was negative. I had to admit that I had issues with trust and that those unresolved issues led me to some very unwise decisions in who I chose to surround myself with. But guess what? Those realizations, those people that walked away from me without the blink of an eye, and those deep seeded hurts changed me. For the better. I found peace. I learned how to love myself. I learned how to let go of people . I learned how to be me without worry of judgement. I learned that I am a people pleaser, to a fault.I now understand that my willingness to wear my heart on my sleeve makes me vulnerable to people that have their best interests at heart, not mine. I now know that that character trait can make me or break me. I now know to select wisely and prayerfully who I connect with . And who my children connect with. I now know to extend grace to everyone. I now know how to forgive. And to move on.

One thing in particular I want to focus more on is gratefulness. I want to be able to find at least one thing every single day to be grateful for. Some days are harder than others, obviously, but there should always be something that I can be thankful for. I intend to be more intentional . To hear every word , spoken and unspoken. To see people, not just glaze over them in  a hurry. I strive for relationships that have depth. That have sustainability. That can and will stand the test of time.

A few things I am grateful for:

1. My husband and my children.
2. Steady work, which comes with a steady paycheck.
3. Being a stay at home mom. I do write and blog and have a growing home styling company, but I am here, at home. I get to see my children off in the morning and I am here when they get home. I am present for them and I am grateful for my husband, who is such a wonderful provider, that I have this choice.
4.My friends. The ones who love me, despite my flaws .
5. An extended family that is there for each other, no matter what happens that may steer us away from each other.

So here is to being your best!

Be Blessed,
Liz

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Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Chicken




I wish I could say that I like the slow cooker to make meals. But the truth is, there are very few meals that I prepare in the slow cooker. I find that the majority of the meals end up over cooked and the flavors just meld together in a very unsatisfactory way. Not to mention, no matter what it is that cooks in there, it always comes out a weird brown color . Not appealing to me. Now don't get me wrong. There are a few tried and true recipes that I will use a slow cooker for. But on any given day, I would prefer baking a dish in the oven. Which brings me to this recipe. I have had it bookmarked on Allrecipes for years. Yes, years. The majority of reviews love the recipe. And I love anything with black beans, sweet potatoes and cumin. I was so hesitant about trying out this recipe in the slow cooker. Somehow the thought of such beautiful ingredients cooking down to mush was not appealing. I finally decided to just do it. (after converting the recipe to an oven bake time, I decided to make it as written ) Well, folks. Let me say that this is one of the best slow cooker meals I have ever eaten. It is that good. So good that I would make it once a week if I could. I did change it up a bit from the original  based on my husbands disdain for black beans and cilantro . He will eat both, but I am very aware they are not on his short list of favorite foods. So I decreased the amounts of both, and added another half cup of salsa,just because. Next time I will add one more diced sweet potato. The original recipe called for a red bell pepper, but I did not have one and was not about to load up three ornery children in the car  and trek to the grocery store for it. Not a chance, my friends. So I left it out. I didn't miss it, but next time  if I have one on hand I will   put it in with everything else. I served this chicken with steamed brown rice and a  romaine salad. And my 17 year old thanked me for dinner when he was done. Which is a small miracle in itself. That he talked to me. Not that he liked the food ;) .

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Chicken
Ingredients
3 lbs skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup salsa ( use a med or hot.mild will get lost in the other ingredients)
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1.Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2.Place the sweet potatoes and black beans on top of the chicken.
3.In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken broth, cilantro , salsa, cumin , allspice and garlic.
4.Pour salsa mixture on top of the sweet potatoes and black beans.
5. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 3-4 hours , until the chicken is cooked through.

Rainy Day Chili

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This weekend was a cool, rainy one. We stayed close to home. We watched movies, baked bread and read books and magazines. Perfect weather for chili ! Easy, no frills , stick to your ribs chili ! I make this in the fall and winter and it is always welcomed, especially with squares of homemade cornbread.

Rainy Day Chili

Ingredients

    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 (29 ounce) cans tomato sauce
    • 1 (29 ounce) cans kidney beans ( with liquid)
    • 1 (29 ounce) cans pinto beans ( with liquid)
    • 1 cup diced onion ( , 1 medium onion)
    • 1/2 cup diced green chili pepper ( , 2 chilies)
    • 1/4 cup diced celery ( , 1 stalk)
    • 3 medium Tomatoes, chopped
    • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
    • 3 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 cups water

Directions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Drain off the fat.
  3. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  4. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.