Easter is a week away, and I’m thinking spring is here to stay, thank the good Lord! Speaking of, do you know what you are making for Easter dinner?! If you haven’t gotten there yet, I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes to help get you started. In addition to these, I have a couple of new recipes for your menu coming this week, so stay tuned for those as well.
Also be sure to tune in THIS FRIDAY to Talk of the Town on Channel 5 at 11am for one of my exclusive cookbook recipes that is one of my go-to main dishes for grilling season!
Below you’ll find the links and pictures to some of my fave Spring/Easter dishes…Happy Menu Planning!
You know those people on Facebook who just seem to “do it all?” They are up early, like really early, starting their day with a workout, devotional, and positive thinking quote. They are successful in their work, whatever that may be, and they seem to still have time for their family and a social life. Pretty obnoxious, right?! Ha, just kidding…sort of.
Well, since having a baby, Zach and I have often wondered how in the world can we do all of the things we really want/need to do? It just doesn’t seem like there is enough time for all of it, but then we see these people who seem to have way more on their plate than we do, and they are still doing it all. I am not saying these people have perfect lives, and I know we can’t see behind the scenes. However, they do seem to know something or be doing something different to be able to juggle daily time with God, a workout regimen, quality time with their family, quality time with friends, and successful careers on top of all of that.
Unfortunately, the one thing we have noticed that these people have in common is that they all get up early, like in fives, like it’s still dark outside early. Yikes. We are not morning people…at all. The thought of waking up at 5am, is frankly a little terrifying. It means going to bed earlier, and the problem is, we are night people. We like to stay up and watch TV, talk, laugh…stare at our phones. But the people we feel like God is calling us to be are early risers. We need that extra two hours in the day to do all of things that will honestly just make us better, more productive people. We want to be the kind of people who get the most out of life.
We have big dreams, and we really see God doing something new, stirring out hearts, and we just want to be a part of it in whatever way He wants to use us. But to be a part of it, we need more time, which means, we have to get up in the dark.
So today was Day 1. And I have to say it’s 8am, and I have already made a new recipe (this super delicious Tropical Green Smoothie I’m sharing) spent time in the word, had some unrushed time with Zach, and worked out. I’m pretty amazed at all I could do in the 2 hours before Maverick woke up for the day at 7am. I know in a few days, the excitement will wear off and 5:30 will get really tough. The good news is we are in it together, and I’m hoping we can push each other and stick to this. I think it could be a game changer, pray for us!
As far as the smoothie recipe, I wanted to change up my typical morning smoothie. So, I made this tropical themed green smoothie today, and it was really yummy! I am such a cheerleader for smoothies in the morning. For over 2 years, we have had a smoothie almost every morning, and it has really changed my diet and helped me maintain and even lose weight. There is something about putting fruits and greens in my body first thing in the morning, it just sets me up for success in how I eat for the whole day.
So enjoy this tasty blend, and if you are an early riser, any tips on how to stick to this routine?!
Tropical Green Smoothie
Makes 2 smoothies
- 1 banana
- 1 cup baby spinach, loosely packed
- 2 cups frozen pineapple
- 1 half of an avocado
- 1/2 of a can of coconut milk (keep the other half in the fridge for the next day’s smoothie)
- 1/4 cup unsalted cashews or almonds
- 1/4 cup almond milk
Place everything in your blender and blend until smooth!
I kept meaning to write a post last week, but, well, I just never got to it. I had a pretty busy week after an emotional but really wonderful women’s retreat with our church at Evin’s Mill in Smithville, TN. It’s funny, while we were on the retreat, most of us slipped and fell on our butts at some point from the ice still on the ground, and yesterday it was 70 degrees and sunny here in Tennessee! Needless to say, this sun and warmer air has got us all walking with a little pep in our step this Monday morning. It’s so refreshing. God is good. I won’t go into too much detail about the retreat, but I do want to share a little of how God spoke to me while I was there and since I have been back.
God truly makes all things NEW, just like the clean, spring air. He turns cold, dreary days days of winter into bright, fresh days of spring. It’s not always easy to come to terms with our own sin, especially the ugly stuff that settles deep down in our being. It’s not the stuff we want to think about, much less have a discussion about. However, I know from experience that every time I have walked in obedience and confessed my sin to others, God begins renewal and healing in that area of my life. The enemy wants us to think that our sins our too big, that we will be rejected if we humble ourselves and speak them out. And we may be rejected by man in some way, BUT the Lord will never reject us. He will set us free, and that is how we can take hold of the life that is truly life. Living in freedom is not something that we get just by following the rules and appearing to have it all together. It’s a freedom in our souls that only can He gives us through our own confession and acknowledgement on a daily basis that we need Him. We need His forgiveness, His peace, His unfailing love, and last but definitely not least His GRACE.
If you are struggling in any area of your life, I would encourage you to confess it to someone you trust, whoever He is leading you to. Once you speak it out, it will automatically begin to lose some of its power over you. He will begin a new work in you and let me just tell you, again from experience, it’s totally worth the pain, the shame, and the discomfort. He turns our junk into something so beautiful, and when He has done this in my life, I experience His grace in such a real, raw way. There is truly nothing like it, this is what it’s all about. Whether it’s something big or small, I do believe the enemy will use whatever he can to keep us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our life to expand His kingdom in the world.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
So, I know, that was heavy, but I want to just share my heart here, along with recipes I love. So, in honor of Spring and new life, I’m sharing a light and fresh spring salad.
If you are a little unsure about the idea of fruit mixed with feta, just think about a cheese plate where you have lots of sweet and savory flavors combined. I just mixed it all together in this salad, and I’m telling you it is to die for! Serve it with crackers, over greens, or just eat it with a fork. It would be perfect for a picnic on one of these warm days we are having!
Fruity Feta Salad
2 cups purple grapes, halved
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Optional – fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish
- To toast the nuts, place them in a dry skillet over medium low heat. Stir them occasionally for 6-8 minutes until they become fragrant.
- In a large bowl, toss together the grapes, strawberries, toasted nuts, and feta.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the fruit mixture, and gently toss salad together until everything is coated in the dressing.
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.