Feeds:
Posts
Comments

So sorry that I didn’t post a recipe on Monday.  I’m slow at getting back into blogging here.  I’m making up for it with sharing not one but two of my new favorite recipes!  They are so new that they just became a favorites last night!

I love Italian food!  LOVE IT!  I wish that carbs weren’t so bad for you because I think I could be completely happy with carb loaded pastas and breads making up 90% of my diet.  My favorite Italian cuisine includes white sauces and cheesy goodness!  Which brought me to last nights meal…

I found both these recipes on, where else but Pinterest!  The Confetti Chicken Pasta is courtesy of  Bake Cakery and the Breaded Cheese Sticks are courtesy of the Food Network.  You can link to theses recipes by clicking on the sites names aforementioned.  However I did make modifications to each recipe, what can I see it’s just who I am and I wanted to make these not so healthy recipes a bit healthier.

Confetti Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:

16 oz. of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (always cook al dente in salt water according to pkg directions)
tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1″ cubes
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ c. Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, long thin slices (mom uses red, yellow and orange…)
c. Broccoli florets
c. Grape tomatoes

Directions:

Cook your pasta and let it drain.  While pasta is cooking heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chicken.  Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and freshly grated pepper.  When halfway through the cooking stage add the diced onion.  (Be sure to keep an eye on your pasta during this.)  When chicken is almost done cooking add broccoli florets and bell pepper, continue cooking until chicken is done and golden on all sides. Vegetables should be warmed and soft but not soggy or mushy.  Remove and let rest in a large bowl.

Now its time for the sauce!

Ingredients:

tbsp. butter
tbsp. flour
c. skim milk (may need to add more depending on the consistency you desire)
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes
c. Feta or parmesan cheese

Directions:

In the same pan you cooked the chicken and veggies in, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the flour and stir, cooking 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in the milk, while stirring to prevent any clumps from forming.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and allow to simmer until you see boiling action.  Stir periodically.  When your sauce begins to thicken and bubble, turn off the heat and add in your cheese. Stir until melted.

To assemble everything add the pasta to your sauce first so it gets nice and coated with sauce and then pour the chicken and vegetable mixture in. Enjoy!  It’s soooooo delicious!

Mozzarella Sticks

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C breadcrumbs

1 1/3 C freshly grated parmesan

1 TBSP italian season

1 tsp garlic salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 C vegetable oil

6 string cheese sticks cut in halves

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan, italian seasoning and garlic salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the cheese in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely.  Repeat dipping in eggs and breadcrumbs one more time.
Place the cheese sticks in the now hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates covered in paper towels to help absorb grease.  Serve and enjoy!

My family told me these were the best cheese curds I have ever made and they truly were pretty yummy-licious!

White Chili

20140304-081707.jpg

I can never decide if I like traditional red chili or white chili best. They are both delicious and are the perfect comfort food for cold winter days!

Below is the white chili recipe I received from a friend about ten years ago and it remains my favorite in spite of the countless others I’ve tried. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it too!

Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
10 C chicken broth
2-15 oz cans white beans
2 TBSP parsley
2 tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a crock-pot and allow to cook for 4-5 hours. When chicken breasts are cooked use two forks to pull apart into bite size pieces. Enjoy!

Considering Lilies

Just a reminder to go follow my new blog Considering Lilies.  It’s the new home for my personal and spiritual writings.  You can also follow Considering Lilies on Facebook.  

Better yet, follow me at both places!  The more traffic I get on my sites the more widely spread it can become and I’ll be able to reach more people!

Go check it out now!

And remember to follow me here as well for recipes, crafts and family fun!  Yep, I’ve missed blogging and capturing life’s exquisite moments and it’s time to start up again!  I’ve already got a post in mind for Life Exquisite on Monday that bears something delicious to share with you!

A New Home

I love to write personal posts as I have been lately.  Posts that share my feelings, my God, what I’m learning about God and what I feel he’s showing me.

I also miss posting the carefree Life Exquisite posts.  The posts that are “Capturing Life One Exquisite Moment At A Time”.  I want to share my crafts, the things I do with my kids, recipes, birthday parties and more.

I feel that I need to keep Life Exquisite as it use to be, minus the outfit posts.  Sorry to those of you who like them, I’m over it though.  Maybe if I have a truly “exquisite” outfit I’ll post…but no promises.

I do promise to bring you the fun carefree posts of the past though.  So continue to follow me here at Life Exquisite!

I don’t plan on giving up my writings because I truly enjoy them.  They are a great outlet for me to be able to process what I’m feeling and going through and I want people who are going through the same things to be able to gain some hope or at least just the knowing that they aren’t alone.

I have copied my most recent LE reflective posts to my new blog Considering Lilies and this is where all my personal, reflective, spiritual posts (call them what you like) will be posted from here out.  I would love to have you follow me there and enjoy reading your comments, so please keep them coming!

If you connected with Monday’s “Words” post on my struggles with being a gentle and calm wife and mom then you’ll definitely want to join me over on my new blog because I have some follow up posts coming up!

You can also follow Considering Lilies on Facebook where I plan to post motivational quotes, scripture, maybe even a link to a song that’s speaking to me, if not daily then as much as possible!  All of my Considering Lilies blog posts will also be linked on the Facebook page just as Life Exquisite’s are to its Facebook page.

Oh…if you’re wondering why I chose the name “Considering Lilies” it’s because I want to truly trust in the promises of God.  As I mentioned before I have a hard time trusting anyone, even a God who’s never failed me.  Luke 12:27-28 is a verse that tells us to trust in God to provide for our every need, physical and emotional.  If he cares so much for the lilies in the fields how much more does he care for us?

God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever dream (Ephesians 3:20).  I’m standing on these promises and doing my part in seeing them through.

Words

Words.  They are whispered out on winds of sweetness.  They are laughed out with joyful bliss.  They flow out with loving adoration.  They are shared with everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis. Especially those nearest and dearest to us.

Words.  They are yelled out with frustrated sighs.  They are spat out with bitter sarcasm.  They are screamed out with fury’s venom.  Especially at those nearest and dearest to us.

I lay in bed reflecting on hurtful words.  Words, that though I know were not meant, caused my mind to wonder for a moment if perhaps they were ever truly felt at times, and my heart hurts.  The pain tightens my chest and tears pool in my eyes.

I reflect on what I just started working towards myself the dawn of the very same day.  A desire to have self-control.  Starting with…my words.

It’s a goal I’ve made many times throughout my life.  One that I’ve obviously failed at, or I wouldn’t still be trying to conquer the unconquerable.  And it feels just like that unconquerable…perhaps that’s because James 3:7-8 tells me so…

This is scary; you can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue-it’s never been done.  The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. (The Message)

Indeed that makes it seem pretty hopeless.

Many times words of fury, hurt, bitterness or anger travel from my mouth before I’ve even had time to think of them.  In my anger and pain I don’t take time to think of the other person and how the dagger I’m about to deliver with my words will hurt them.  My tongue runs wild…a wanton killer.  And all too often it runs wild on those I love most.

The man who stole my heart as a teenage girl, who looks to me as his helpmate and encourager will be quickly discouraged as I toss hates “eternal” words like “you always” or “you never” at him.

The precious jewels that make up this proud mama’s crown are so beautiful  and wonderful.  I tell them how much I love them as I hug and kiss on them, thanking God for their sweet, tender hearts.  But if in the next hour they pose too much a challenge to me, I forget their young tender hearts and nag, and yell until we’re all in tears.

These occasions, I’ll call them natural disasters (for they are just that to a family), should not happen.  I never wanted to admit to anyone that we have a home that suffers from natural disasters.  I never wanted anyone to know that sweet, little, has it all together me come undone on her family.

But I also don’t want to be like this.  I don’t want my children to remember me as a ranting, raving, mother, who has bipolar tendencies.  I knew I wasn’t the only derailed mother out there and I yearned to connect with other mom’s like this.

I began to subtly share some of my difficulty with friends, being careful not to reveal too much.  I didn’t want anyone judging my imperfection after all.  Yet I was desperate.  Desperate to be real with someone and have them be real with me.  Desperate to truly know I wasn’t alone.

Luckily God blessed me with friends who are imperfect too and together we found Lysa Terkeurst book Unglued.  I could relate to her unglued  stories and laughed when I read this in her 5 Day Unglued Challenge (link here)…

This is exactly what I’m afraid of!  This is what I fear my husband and children think of me, yet it’s the exact opposite of how I want to be known and thought of.

I want to have the quiet and gentle spirit that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 3:4-5.  I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman whose husband rises up with words of praise and tells her “Many women have done well but you excel them all!”.  I want my children to call me blessed and be proud that I’m their mom.

So here I stand at the starting line of the very same race I’ve failed at a thousand times, with determination that I will do my best to prevent natural disasters from this point on.

I know that even though James 3:7-8 makes it seem impossible I serve a God who makes all things possible.

Philippians 4:13 

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Yes, I will have moments of weakness and words will be hastily spoken in anger or out of hurt, but maybe I can prevent the light drizzle from turning into a hurricane.

Wish me luck and maybe say a little prayer for me too.

When faced with difficult circumstances I find myself grasping for something to hang onto.  Something that can help soften the pain, hurt, or fear I’m feeling at the time.  Something to keep me going when, quite honestly I’d rather sit down with a package of Oreos and a large glass of milk and wallow in my pain.

Finding hope, joy, a spark of happiness during a storm is not a new concept.  It’s a little piece of wisdom that is ages old…

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I was young I heard a pastor say that we are supposed to be thankful for everything and he then quoted the verse above.  I remember being very annoyed by that.  How are you supposed to be thankful for everything?  So someone who is dying of cancer is supposed to be thankful for that?  A parent is supposed to be thankful that they lost their child?  Am I really supposed to be thankful, even for the bad things?

No. Let me say that again in case you missed it.  No, you do not have to be thankful for cancer, death or anything that is bad or difficult that happens to you.  You can mourn that cancer has taken over your body.  You can grieve the death of you loved one.  You can even be angry when something bad happens, no matter how big or small it is.

Christ wept in John 11:35 at the death of his friend Lazarus.  Why then should we feel that we can’t grieve?

Christ didn’t want to face a torturous death. In fact, in Luke 22:42 he asked God that if there was any other way to heal the world to please do that instead.  If Christ bagged to be spared pain and death, why can’t we?

You see it’s okay to not want to walk through unfortunate, painful, scary and stressful times.  It’s human.  And it’s okay to not be thankful for these unfortunate, painful and scary things.  I’m sure Christ wasn’t thankful that he had to die on the cross.  If it was something he was thankful for then why would he ask for it to not happen?

1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 doesn’t say to give thanks for all circumstances it says to give thanks in all circumstances.  This means to find something to be thankful for during the storm.  Even when we face the most difficult circumstances that the devil can dish out…

It’s difficult to find sometimes as we wallow in self-pity or let fear take captive of the little bit of hope we were clinging to.  But it’s true there is always a nugget of happiness to be found somewhere.

Ann Voskamp is famous for her bestseller book, One Thousand Gifts (http://onethousandgifts.com/about), where she learns to find gifts in the ugly.  So many people were blown away by this book and the concept Ann presented in it, and while I enjoyed her book and transparency, I wasn’t as awed by the idea of finding gifts each day as some of my friends were.  This is something I have done for years on my own, long before I read One Thousand Gifts.  

I think I first learned this lesson at a young age from Pollyanna.  It was the little blonde orphan girl that taught me the Glad Game!

When I’m struggling to find joy in my circumstances I frequently find it in the sound of my children’s laughter, a warm loving hug from my husband, or a word of encouragement from a friend.

Something I have started doing since reading One Thousand Gifts a little over two years ago,  is recording the things I’m thankful for in a  journal.  It’s good to look back on what made me smile each day and helps to remind me that there is always something to be thankful for.

This is a picture of my thankful journal a couple weeks ago…

bible

As you can see it is usually in my family that God helps me to find nuggets of joy!

But don’t feel discouraged if finding a gift in the midst of your circumstances seems impossible.  Sometimes our questions are too many and cloud out our blessings.  Feel free to go to God and ask your questions, cry to him and if you feel like it, yell to him.  He get’s it.  He understands your pain.

My sister sent me a link to a blog post from Grace Covers Me (link here – http://www.gracecoversme.com/2014/01/when-you-have-more-questions-than.html) a couple weeks ago when I was stressed and questions and worry were covering my blessings with a thick fog. This post helped me a lot and I read and reread it several times.

I know it’s difficult sometimes.  I know you’d rather scream and cry.  I know you’d rather shake your fists in anger.  And that’s okay to do.  After you’ve vented and questioned God as to why…take the time to thank God for the blessings in your life.  Be like little Pollyanna and play the Glad Game…

Find a nugget of joy and hold onto it!

Extravagant Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I awoke this morning with a smile on my face and super excited to surprise my hubby with a coffee drink at work, greet my kiddos with good morning hugs and kisses and spend the day loving on my family.

It was as I was lovingly cutting heart shapes into my kids sandwiches for school lunches today that I thought, “God is just as excited to show his love to us, as I am to show it to my family!” .  He’s ready for us when we wake up, waiting with excitement, arms open wide and a huge smile on his face, to shower his love upon us.  And his love is not like human love.  It’s far greater!  

One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 5:2

1939635_10201425723068603_256441755_n

 

His love is EXTRAVAGANT!!!  

Extravagant…if you look up the meaning of that word you’ll find amongst all the descriptions…

…exceeding the limits of reason or necessity…

…lacking in moderation, balance, and restraint…

… extremely or excessively elaborate <an extravagant display>…

…extremely or unreasonably high in price.

His love is without reason, he’d love you no matter what!

His love knows no restraint or moderation, he pours out his all upon us!

He displays his love in extreme and excessive ways, showering us with gifts and blessings daily!

His love was paid with an extreme and unreasonable price, the death of his son.  But because he loved you so much he was willing to give all he had for you!

Wow!  To be loved extravagantly like this is everyone’s dream.  His love isn’t a dream though…

IT’S REAL!

Thank you, God, for your extravagant love!  

*excerpts taken from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extravagant