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
- cooking spray
- 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.
- Taste for salt and pepper, and enjoy!
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.