Taylor Living
A New Original Recipe…or Two.

So today I was feeling extra crafty and creative and wanted to try my hand at a new recipe—an original recipe.  :)  The results were pretty dang good, if I say so myself.  I made grilled cheeses with provolone and blackberry jam as well as stuffed green bell peppers.

Gourmet Fruity Grilled Cheeses


Ingredients:

2 slices of bread (any kind you like)

2 thin slices of provolone (I used Sargento Light)

1.5 T of blackberry jam (or any flavor you want—Casey had grape)

2 T butter

Directions:

Spread butter on both side of the bread (evenly).  Put one slice of cheese down, spread the jam on top, then top with remaining cheese and last piece of bread.  Cook in your sandwich maker (I love my Cuisinart but if you don’t have one, a skillet may work too)..

I accidentally put too much jam on this one, but it was still very good!

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

1 large green bell pepper

3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 T butter

Seasoned salt

Directions:

Cut the green bell pepper into sixths and hollow, maintaining a semi-bowlish shape for each slice.

Divide butter evenly among the peppers and put in the center of each.  Top with mozarella cheese and seasoned salt (I am liberal with seasoned salt but use less if you don’t want too much).  Bake at 460 for 6 minutes.  Enjoy!

Busyness

Y’all life gets SO busy sometimes!  I have been wanting to blog SO badly but well…things happen.  


For example—I GOT PROMOTED AT WORK!!!  I got hired on out of the internship.  So, needless to say, training keeps me totally occupied and once I get home, I run, cook dinner, and crash.  My brain is done.

I did want to share a few things.

1) If you aren’t in a Bible study, join one.  I am in one with a great girl friend and my mother-in-law.  We meet for breakfast SUPER early Wednesdays (try 6 am—aka 4:30 am wake up call) and it is a fantastic start to the day.  I am so blessed to know such godly women.

2)  If you don’t exercise—start.  I know how tempting it is to skip a workout but girls (and boys) the feeling you get even working out 4 days/week like me is fantastic.  You feel stronger, more confident, powerful, etc.  It not only takes care of you physically but also emotionally.  Plus, if you are a runner like me, you have 35-60 minutes of prayer time. :)

3)  Recipes!!!!! I have a couple of recipes to share with you.

Camille’s Sweet Sweet Potato Fries:

1 large sweet potato, cut into 2 inch long, 1/2 inch thick slices.  (Cut the potato in half, put the flat side down, and then slice top to bottom in 1/2 inch increments to get them thin).

1.5 to 2 T of cinnamon/sugar mixture (google how to make this—I always have a small container of it premade in my cabinet)

1.5 T EVOO

Put the potato slices in a medium mixing bowl.  Add oil and toss to coat.  Add cinnamon sugar mixture and toss to coat some more.  Bake at 450 for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

Mama’s Favorite Meat Loaf

If you like comfort foods but would rather enjoy them in a slightly healthier way, then you will love this recipe.  It tastes AMAZING.  But be careful when chopping those onions.  That’s how C ended up with three stitches on his finger!

Yields 6 servings/slices (THICK ONES TOO!!!)

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread, torn into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground round
Vegetable cooking spray
1/3 cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to moisten bread. Crumble meat over onion mixture, and stir just until blended. Pack mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Spread ketchup over top of loaf. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until meat loaf registers 160°. Let loaf stand in pan 10 minutes.

Remove meat loaf from pan; cut loaf into 6 slices.
TIP:  We had a few slices leftover so I made C a sandwich for lunch today with a slice.  Toast some bread til it’s golden brown and slightly crunchy.  Top with a slice of provolone cheese (or some other cheese if you prefer), light mayo, mustard, and the slice of meatloaf. DONE!  C loved it and agreed that meatloaf sandwiches are mighty tasty! :)
Tonight I decided to make Honey Beer Bread from scratch for sandwiches.  It is super good!  Recipe to come at a later date :)

Tonight I decided to make Honey Beer Bread from scratch for sandwiches.  It is super good!  Recipe to come at a later date :)

Easy Chicken Stir Fry with Peanut Soy Sauce

So this recipe is one of Casey’s absolute favorites.  I make it once a month or so and we NEVER have leftovers.  :)  This is also one of the few recipes I use that is one of my own original creations.  That being said, I am quite proud of it.

ENJOY!!!

Camille’s Easy Chicken Stir Fry

2 chicken breasts, chopped and sauteed.

2 bags of frozen mixed veggies/stir fry veggies

1/2 tsp garlic powder (sometimes I use more)

2 cusp brown rice (Minute Brown Rice in individual cups is super fast and easy)

1/4 tsp salt

4 T peanut butter

2/3 c soy sauce

1)  Sautee chicken (cut up) in LARGE skillet with 1/2 T to 1 T oil.  Remove and place to the sie.

2) Place PB in a microwavable container and microwave until runny, stirring frequently.

3) Once you have microwaved/thawed the veggies, put them in the large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add PB, soy sauce, salt, rice, and garlic powder.  Cook, stirring constantly, until hot and sauce is mixed throughout the ingredients very well (you want it creamy, not runny).

4)  Add chicken and additional PB to taste if desired.  Once chicken is heated through/warm again, serve immediately.

Dinner in the Taylor home:  Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Cheesy Zucchini Boats

Dinner in the Taylor home:  Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Cheesy Zucchini Boats

Confession

I’ll confess.  I sat at my desk today at work, trying to think of something…anything to write about when I got home.  I hit a wall.  I had nothing.  Originally, the problem seemed to be that I wanted to post every single day (but I decided not to overwhelm you all with so many posts).  Plus, I didn’t want to run out of things to write about.  HA!  Irony.  And now the problem is I can’t think of what to write.  

Well, obviously I thought of something.  But before I take it on, I will touch on a lighter, happier subject.  Beach.  This past Saturday, C and I went to the beach with several of our friends.  I have been wanting to go pretty much since I moved here and we finally found time (and good weather) to go.  I baked four dozen chocolate chip cookies (which we ate—all 8 of us-that day), I made a pepperoni pizza and a cheese pizza, and I packed a snack bag and cooler FULL.  After a Chick-fil-a lunch, we headed out for Honeymoon Island…dun dun dun.

We got there and decided to park in the nearly empty lot a little ways down from the main beach parking lot.  We could JUST see the water through the trees and it looked gorgeous!  We loaded ourselves down with coolers, bags, chairs, and one 8-foot umbrella and trekked through the tree line to find…rocks.  Everywhere.  Not-so-gentle-on-bare-feet rocks.  The only place with less rocks was the main beach which was packed full.  C and our friend A went down that way to see if we could find a spot to set up, which we did thank the Lord.  Determined, we headed that way and set up our “camp” for the afternoon.  The girls reclined in chairs and on towels while the boys immediately took to the water.  While the boys battled cuts on their feet from the sharp barnacles on the rocks, the girls had another problem.  Bugs.  Biting bugs.  Everywhere.  Little brown bugs and big black bugs swarming around us, hovering, biting, annoying.

No matter where we moved, they followed.  Relief did come (however brief) when we took a walk down the beach.  But the moment we got back, they were back and worse than ever.  Finally, C spoke up.  Did everyone have clothes the could wear to a restaurant?  Yes.  Did everyone want to get the heck outta there!? YES!  We quickly changed and headed out for food.  We ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings which is probably on my top ten favorite places to eat, which meant I was SUPER happy.  We laughed, shot spit balls, and put up with an overly friendly waiter and it was fantastic.  This was by far the BEST beach trip I have ever taken.

Now, on to my blog post topic.  Bondage.  Not just any bondage though.  Bondage that hinders your walk with Christ and your ability to glorify God in all aspects of your day to day life.  Everyone has bondage of some sort.  Even Beth Moore has it.  Wanna know how I know this?  She wrote a whole book about it (Breaking Free).  While I am only a few chapters in, it is convicting stuff.  It got me thinking about all of the different kinds of bondage women struggle with.  Money, control, abuse (physical or emotion), eating disorders, beauty, pride, men, fear, worry…there are so many things out there that can bind us and hinder our ability to glorify and serve God.

I already know I am bound.  I am captive.  I know I do not live my life for God and His glory 100% of the time.  I am proud, I am insecure, I have low self esteem at times, I have a past, etc.  It is what I choose to do with these things that matters.  I also know I don’t spend enough time in God’s word or in prayer.  ”As we spend time in the presence of God, His glory both transforms us and radiates from us. (Moore, Breaking Free).  Isn’t that a blessing.  Getting to know our Savior not only begins to be reflected in us/radiated from us, but it also transforms us.  It makes us new, godly…it frees us from our bondage as we rely less on ourselves and what binds us and more on God. 

My challenge (for myself but also for whoever reads this) is to spend at least 30 minutes a day in God’s word and to pray at least 5-10 minutes on the hour, every hour from 8 am to 8 pm (or longer).  That would mean you would spend 60 minutes to 2 hours in prayer EVERY day.  Just start now.  Today.  Freedom is waiting.

Friends

Aren’t friends such a blessing?  I mean, really.  God didn’t HAVE to create friendships and relationships and socializing.  But he did.  Because He loves us so much, we get to fellowship with one another, grow together in Him, learn from each other, and just have fun.  Amazing.

One thing C ensured even with my first ever visit to Lakeland is that I had friends.  He talked me up (a little too much I think!) to his friends, he told them all about me, he told me all about them, and I even got to meet them on Skype.  By the time I visited Lakeland for the first time, I felt like I knew them all.  I was more comfortable around them, I was able to talk to them (usually it takes a few encounters before I will say much), and I was able to be myself.  

I think maybe this is why the transition from Memphis to here was so easy.  I already had a support system of friends (even though I only saw them every other month while C and I dated/were engaged).  I already had a coffee buddy, someone to go to breakfast with on mornings C has early flights, and someone to hang out with at work. What a blessing for friendships, laughter, and trust.  

That’s all for today.  I’m off to the beach with a wonderful core group of friends! :)

Recipe Time!

Every now and then, I will post recipes I think are worth sharing.  I hope you get a chance to try some out and ENJOY!

Laura’s Sauteed Asparagus—A Family Recipe

1 lb asparagus with the thick part at the bottom cut off (per C’s request)

1/2 stick of butter

Cavendar’s Greek seasoning (I use a LOT)

Directions:

Heat skillet to mediu heat.  Cut butter into smaller pieces and spread along the bottom of the skillet.  Liberally (and I mean liberally) sprinkle Cavendar’s on the butter.  Add asparagus and top with even more Cavendar’s.  Cook 15 minutes, moving the asparagus around frequently (to coat it with butter and the seasoning).  I even sprinkle the asparagus 1-2 more times with the Cavendar’s.  (Trust me…it’s THAT good).

Beginnings

Whoever said married life is incredibly busy wasn’t kidding.  It’s astounding how little free time/me time you really have.  However, part of the beauty of marriage is you don’t mind the so called “lack” of free time.  At all.  The average American spends one quarter of his or her life single…unmarried.  While this may not seem like a big deal, once you hit a certain age (this is especially true for women), you begin to long for your mate…that one person God has in mind for YOU.  Once you find that person, it isn’t a moment of “ok, great.  I found you. ”  Rather, it is a moment of, “I FINALLY found you!  Praise God for loving me enough to reveal you to me and to put you in my life!”  Is it really any wonder you don’t resent the lack of me time?

Don’t get me wrong.  There will be times you won’t even want to look at your spouse.  You’ll want to scream at them.  Storm off.  Slam the door.  Throw your hands up.  There may even be times you want out (Thank the Lord C and I haven’t felt this way).  There will be little fights, there will be explosive fights.  There will be nothing fights, there will be important fights.  There will be newlywed fights, there will be “been married for thirty years” fights.

The point of my pointless listing of fights is that you WILL fight.  It is inevitable.  You should not go into marriage expecting to never fight.  It is unrealistic and, after tying the knot, the first big fight may shake your confidence in your marriage and could cause second guessing.  Rest assured, though, that everyone fights.  Our parents fight still.  My married-50-years grandparents fought.  It will always happen.  What matters is that you make up and, at the end of the day, you still love each other and want to be with one another.  What was I saying?  Oh yes!  While there will be times you don’t want to be near your spouse, 99.99% of the time you will rejoice in every moment God gives you with that person.  What a blessing!

C truly is a blessing…a gift…in my life.  I don’t know if any of you know our whole story, but God brought us together in a miraculous and amazing way.  He revealed things to us in ways that were unmistakably from Him.  I’ll share our “story” in a later post, but for now, here is one example.  When C and I were dating, we came to that point where we begin thinking the “L” word might be applicable.  I didn’t tell him that, but instead, I turned to scripture and prayer.  He didn’t tell me either and he did the same thing I did.  Well, both of us desired God’s timing, not ours, in all aspects of our relationship.  Even this one.  I opened my Bible to 1 Corinthians 13 and begin asking myself if each trait of love was applicable to how I felt.  ”Is my love patient?  Is my love for C kind?” etc.  After answering “yes” to each one, and praying about it, I came to the realization that I did love C.

Later on, C and I were on the phone and he told me he wanted to share something with me,  He began telling me about his recent quiet time in which he read 1 Corinthians 13.  He said he began asking himself if what he felt was __________ (listing each characteristic of love).  By this point, I was totally silent and amazed.  I hadn’t even mentioned to him that I recently read 1 Corinthians 13!  When he was finished, C told me he loved me.  I laughed and told him how I had come to the exact same realization in the exact same way.  We both were overwhelmed with God’s hand in even this part of our relationship.  Neither of us had even hinted of studying 1 Corinthians 13 or thinking of love—how can you deny God’s hand!?  Isn’t He amazing!?

Throughout our entire relationship, friendship, dating, timing/pacing, etc., I have never doubted God’s hand in us.  He has made His presence abundantly known and has blessed us beyond what we deserve.  Thank God for bringing us both to that small farm in Nebraska two years ago! :)

———————-

Now, at the end of my blogs, I will post a small update on our weekly lives (mostly for my family so they know what goes on from day to day).  Feel free to tune out at this point :)

Friday nights are date nights in our house.  This past Friday, C took me to a place called Mister Fish for the Mister Fish combo (fried fish sandwich, french fries, and slaw) and it was incredible!  Best fish anything I have ever had.  We took our food to go and ate it on a park bench at Lake Morton.  After, he took me to Lake Mirror and we sat in the same place we did when my flight got in the first time I ever visited Lakeland.  It was a perfect date with a sweet, thoughtful husband.

Sunday was our one year anniversary (from when we made the decision to pursue a relationship with the possibility of marriage).  So, after deep cleaning the entire house (how’s that for romantic? Ha!), we feasted on corn dogs, tots, wings, and brownie sundaes.  Can you tell which part was my idea? :)

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." Nelson Mandela