Aren’t these fruit skewers beautiful?! I can’t actually take the credit for them, I got the idea from Pinterest, of course! The fruit dip, however, is my little twist on the traditional marshmallow creme fruit dip that has been around for years. It’s sweet, slightly tangy, and highly addictive! I made this for a shower last weekend, and it was a hit.
Speaking of the shower, there is actually a little story behind this fruit dip. Do you ever have those moments where you really feel like you’ve got it going on? And about that time, you quickly realize that you don’t and you just need Jesus! I’ll be honest, lately I have had a little bit of a pride issue going on. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, but a few things have happened within the past week or two that have made it pretty obvious what or more appropriately “who” I’ve been all about – ME. You see, I went to this shower with my new dress, my fruit skewers, my homemade fruit dip, my homemade punch (from my upcoming cookbook no less), and my baby boy in tow. I was feeling pretty “put together,” if you know what I mean. Well, after a few things went wrong that weren’t in my plans for the day, my true colors began to show through. I let a few silly things stress me out and as the day unfolded, I hurt the feelings of someone close to me, because I was so consumed with me and mine.
You see, ever since becoming a mom, I have felt a pressure like I’ve never known. All of the sudden, keeping the house clean, keeping my appearance up, staying social, and just living up to the expectations set by myself and society has proven to be very difficult and exhausting. I have found myself wanting so badly to portray the image of what I think I “should” be. And the day of the shower I thought I was doing a pretty good job of that, but it had just of become all about me. As soon as a few little things went wrong, and my image wasn’t so picture perfect, I became stressed and honestly, a little rude. When I’m all about me, I become less about serving the Lord and serving others.
All of that to say, I’m hoping that this dip will serve as a reminder to me the next time I make it for a party or gathering that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to appear as if I have it all together, all of the time, because let’s face it, I don’t. Even if I do appear that way sometimes in the eyes of others, what have I really gained throughout that? Approval from my peers, lots of time and money spent trying to impress, resulting in more stress when something goes wrong or isn’t perfect? First of all, I don’t really think it’s possible to “be all of the things,” and at the end of the day it won’t bring me true joy. I would love to be the kind of person who looks for ways to serve others, who is attentive to their feelings and needs, and I can’t do that when I’m so focussed on myself that I don’t really see anyone else.
So, I hope you will try this fruit dip, because it really is delish. But if you make it for a party or gathering, don’t put so much pressure on yourself, because we aren’t perfect, and no one really expects us to be. We don’t have to do it all, all of the time, isn’t there some real freedom in that?!
Orange Scented Fruit Dip
8 ounces cream cheese (may use light), room temperature
13 ounce container marshmallow creme
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
Use an electric mixer to beat the cream chess until smooth.
Mix in the marshmallow creme, sour cream, and powdered sugar until smooth.
Lastly, stir in the orange zest.
Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the dip with fruit of your choice.
I don’t know about y’all, but all of this nasty cold weather we have had has really taken a toll on my “healthy eating.” Anything that is quick and comforting is what has sounded good. I am hoping we only have a couple more weeks of these below average temps, and Spring is right around the corner, for my health and my sanity! So anyway, this week Zach and I decided to just get back to our normal diet. Nothing fancy or mega strict just more fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and less sugar!
I truly believe that what I buy at the grocery directly affects the way I eat for the week. If I buy lots of fresh produce that needs to be cooked, then I will use it that week instead of getting take out or eating more processed food. So, that’s what I did this week, and now I have lots of sweet potatoes and spinach to use. And since I love making quesadillas (have you tried my BBQ Chicken Quesadillas yet?!) because they are just so quick, and that’s what I did with these ingredients plus a few others to make them extra tasty.
Let me know what you think of the recipe!
Sweet Potato, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas
makes 4 quesadillas
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and cumin
4 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup loosely packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Optional: sour cream and salsa
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, salt, pepper, and cumin, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake them for 10 minutes, toss, and bake for another 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
To make one quesadilla, spray a medium skillet with cooking spray, and place the tortilla in the skillet over medium heat. Allow the tortilla to heat up for about 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of the potatoes, 1/4 cup of the spinach, 1/4 cup of the beans, and 2 tablespoons of the feta to one half of the tortilla. Fold the empty half over the filling and gently press down with a spatula.
Allow the quesadilla to cook on each side for 1-2 minutes, or until the outsides are browned and crisp. Remove it from the skillet, and repeat the process with the next three quesadillas.
Use a sharp knife to cut each quesadilla in half and enjoy with a little salsa and/or sour cream
TIP: To keep the quesadillas that are done warm, preheat the oven to 250 degrees, and place the finished quesadillas on a sheet pan in the oven.
It’s official, I have on the most comfortable and ugliest combination of clothing that is possible. #Icepocalypse #fuzzysocks
It’s a funny thing being trapped in your own house for 6 days. You see, right before this ice storm we’ve had in Nashville, I had a bad cold. When you’re sick with a baby you pretty much don’t leave the house if possible, so it has been 6 straight days of being home. Don’t judge me. Obviously, if you have older kids, you can get out and sled and play in the ice/snow combo, but with a baby you really can’t do that. My days have been spent trying to catch up on sleep, laundry, and getting a few work related things done all in between taking care of Maverick, in the comfort of my own home, in my pjs, of course. It really doesn’t sound too bad, but once day 3 hits, you just need something, a change, some make up, a trip to Target, a break from the monotony. However, that hasn’t really been possible in this predicament we are in.
Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the TV and my phone. But on day 3 things just began to feel empty. Filling my time with little tasks, looking at everyone’s snow pictures, and catching up on my shows just started to get a little old. I was feeding Maverick that night, and I ran across the picture f the Christian men who were beheaded by ISIS. I looked at their faces. And I thought, what am I doing? Here I am just trying to distract myself from life with TV and social media. And men are being murdered for their faith. It’s not a movie or a show, it’s like real life. I just started to feel this emptiness creep in. That’s what happens when I don’t feel myself with Him. It’s so easy to distract and entertain myself even while stuck at home for so long. When social media and TV get old I can turn to online shopping, vacationing planning, or even recipe creating. Not that any of those things are bad, but I was leaving Him out.
I’m finishing up Annie Downs book “Let’s all be Brave,” and I just read about the rhythm of discipline. I usually read my “SheReadsTruth” study in the mornings, but lately I’ve let the other apps on my phone take precedence, I had gotten out of my rhythm. It’s a small thing, but just filling my mind with a little truth everyday, taking the time to pray and just be with God fills me up.
All of the things, the houses, the money, the cars, the status, the looks, the clothes. They are empty. They are never enough. The more I get the more I want. When we moved to our home now, I thought we really had something. You know, a really nice house to be proud of. Sure, I’m still proud of it, but it’s sort of lost it’s luster, you know? Like I find myself looking at the bathroom thinking it’s really outdated. The floors we put in the living room are already so scratched up. We need a bigger rug. And so on. Just 2 years ago, I was so proud of it. Now it just doesn’t quite cut it? Things. They lose their sparkle quickly. They never satisfy. I’m not saying they are bad or that I won’t redo our bathroom, but it won’t fulfill me. In a year or two the styles will change and it won’t seem so fresh and new anymore. He makes things new. He satisfies, oh how easily I forget.
Well, here I am with the rest of Middle Tennessee, sitting at home without much to do, other than eat and do laundry, ha! We are all stuck at home, and I have seen several people posting about trying out some new recipes. I did the same, of course, and I think I got a winner with this soup. It’s hearty, healthy and satisfying which is just what we need in this icy predicament we find ourselves in.
This is sure to get your nose a runnin’ and warm you up from the inside out. Just what I needed after a yucky cold all weekend. Enjoy!
Spicy Sausage and Kale Soup
makes 6 servings
1 pound Hot Italian Sausage (I like this soup spicy, but you can use mild if you prefer)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
3 sprigs fresh Thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
8 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 can white (Cannelloni beans), drained
4 cups loosely packed kale, roughly chopped
1 cup short pasta, whatever kind you like or have on hand
Optional – freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
Brown the sausage in a large soup pot, once it has cooked drain it onto a paper towel lined plate. Add the chopped veggies to the drippings, and add a little extra virgin olive oil if needed. Cook the veggies for about 8-10 minutes until they are softened.
Add the Italian seasoning, thyme, salt, pepper, chicken stock or broth, beans, and cooked sausage into the pot.
Allow this to come to a simmer, and then add the kale and the pasta.
Cover the soup, and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The pasta should be cooked and the kale should be wilted at this point.
I know, I know, it’s the cheesiest holiday of the year, but I can’t help but secretly love all of that pink and red that comes in the middle of the cold and otherwise uneventful month of February. Every year I try to come up with a recipe or two to celebrate this Hallmark holiday, last year I made these Chocolate Chip Strawberry Muffins and this S’more Martini, and this year I made it all about red hots! Whether you are looking for ideas for your kids’ school Valentine’s Day parties or you’re having a cozy night at home; these recipes are fun, colorful, and sure to please!
First up is my Cinnamon Candied Popcorn. Let me warn you, this stuff is extremely addictive! Microwavable popcorn gets coated in melted red hots and white chocolate. It’s a sweet and salty combination no one can resist, plus, it just looks so festive! It is the perfect snack to make in a snap and package up for your children’s classmates. It would also work for a movie date, at home. Fun treats like this make a night at home with your sweetheart just a little more special.
Cinnamon Candied Popcorn
makes 6-8 servings
2 bags microwavable “light” popcorn, popped
3/4 cup red hot candies
1/2 cup water
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Pop the popcorn according to the package directions, and then spread it onto two large baking sheets.
In a medium saucepan, bring the red hot candies and the water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Allow the candies to fully melt into the water; this will take about 15 minutes.
Immediately pour the melted candy mixture all over the popcorn. Toss the popcorn around until it is all well coated, and place it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile melt the white chocolate and shortening in a saucepan over medium low heat or in the microwave in 30 second intervals. If the chocolate gets thick or clumpy, add a little more shortening to smooth it out.
Pour the melted chocolate over the candied popcorn, and toss it around once again. Allow the popcorn to cool and the chocolate to harden on the baking sheets, and then place it in large zip top bags to store.
Now to wash it all down, you have got to try my Creamy Red Hot Chocolate. Talk about a sweet drink to warm to you up from the inside. The pink color is so fun, and I love the spice from the melted red hots. You can even double or triple this recipe and place it in a slow cooker on warm for a party. Kids will go crazy for the fun color and unique flavor.Creamy Red Hot Chocolate
Creamy Red Hot Chocolate
makes 6 servings
4 cups low fat milk
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup red hot candies
Optional red sugar sprinkles
Place the milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, and let it come to a low simmer.
Whisk in the white chocolate, vanilla, and red hot candies. Continuously stir until the candies and chocolate have melted.
Once everything has melted together, serve this warm in mugs, sprinkled with the red sugar if desired.
This recipe may be double or tripled and placed in a slow cooker on “warm” for a party/entertaining.
Hey Y'all! Well I'm a southern gal, raised in Tennessee, where I still live with my husband and baby boy! Creating fresh and simple recipes with a southern flare, while sharing bits of my life with y'all on camera is what this site is all about. Also, my very first cookbook with Thomas Nelson Publishers will be out Spring of 2015, and I just can't wait to share it with you all! Read more about April...