chicken empenadas

This past weekend my family all got together  for the weekend. Rarely does this happen, so during our time we spent catching up, we did all of our favorites, baked, played, and looked through old family pictures like the one found here.

Anyone who comes from a large family background that includes attending church on a Sunday morning, knows that if there are eight people up & getting ready, two and a half fully functioning bathrooms is hardly enough space.  I think back to heading to my grandmas for Sunday dinner and think, how did she build these enormous feasts for all of us when we’d visit and still have time to roll and set her hair, leaving on time, perfectly put together.

Lattice Apple Pie

Saturday night,  my sisters and I decided Apple Pie, ( You can find the recipe we used here.) would be a perfect fall choice for Sunday afternoon dessert, and something simple like CrockpotChicken Tacos ( I love the recipe found here so much flavor. ) , would be both easy and kid friendly.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

So, Tuesday morning rolled around and I was left with a lot of meat from the chicken tacos,  I also had a can of Pillsbury GRANDS biscuits that were intended for breakfast sitting my fridge so I began creating.

I came up with a simple Chicken Empanada,  now, its no secret that I love love love all things hot & spicy. There is truly nothing better on the palette than that perfect blend of hot & spicy.

Chicken Empenadas

1 can of GRANDS flaky layer biscuits ( individually rolled out as flat as possible)

Fill each with a small amount of shredded Colby Jack or Mexican Cheese, the left over chicken, grilled peppers, onion, a jalapeño, dash with some extra of your favorite hot sauce ( if you like it as spicy as me)

Don’t over fill with the mixture, you will want to be able to fold the dough in half, as pictured.

Chicken Empenadas

Bake in the over at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown and you’ve got easily 2 -4 meals depending on the size of your family.

Chicken Empenadas

                   The crust is super flaky, and its perfect when its still warm and right out of the oven.

 

Empanadas are so simple and really can be filled in so many ways…  what fun things would you add into yours?  Tell me in the comments below.

 

eliza

 

 

defining your why…

Have  you ever come to a place in your life where you’ve thought something over for so long that you find yourself coming up with reasons to talk yourself out of the reasons for not doing something. (try to get that straight in your head… )  That was me a few weeks ago.  I knew I needed to hone in my focus, and I hated continually making excuses for not getting things done.  Finally I just said to myself,  “Stop coming up with reasons and excuses, for what you should be doing, and just do them. No one is going to do it for you. ”

Now, Philippians 4:13 is a verse that has become quite popular to quote.  As believers do we really believe that, ” WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US”?!?      When you really begin to think about what that means for your life, you probably begin to realize just how much faith & trust in God that really takes.  The faith to know when to stay and the strength to know when to walk away.

Taking the time to fully develop your why, can be easy or it can be hard.  I hear so many people say their purpose is their kids, or their career.  As a person who still considers myself transitional my why is just me.  In focusing on me, I’ve really put a lot of thought into what that truly means…  I think it goes a little something like this…

I was a broken soul,  wondering through life with no true direction or plan of my own, it was through His grace and love that I sit here today, and it is only with His power that I will succeed in tomorrow, because of that…

“I want to be a woman whose life is a testimony to the power of God’s word, and His ability to transform & renew.”

What about your why, do you find it easy to define?

Valentines Cut-Outs (Sugar Cookies)

While I’m not the biggest fan of commercializing a holiday… I will say that Valentines Day is one of my favorite ideas of a holiday.   I love the idea of love, and doing nice sweet gestures for people.  I have never actually made cut-out sugar cookies before so I thought I would make a go at it this week in preparation of this special lovey-dovey holiday.Valentine Sugar CookiesMy little tip is add an extra tablespoon of flour to the dough mix and refrigerate while your oven is heating.

Writing with Icing

Its good to practice a few times on some paper before diving into the cookies…
Valentine Sugar Cookies 3Cookies for everyone… wish you all could taste how awesome these are. The recipe can be found here.  Hope you all have an amazing holiday and even if you don’t think you have anyone to celebrate with this year. Make some up for a friend, family or co-worker.  I don’t know many who don’t love cookies… 🙂   –Eliza

Full Disclosure :  I totally used those Betty Crocker squeeze packets with the interchangeable tips for the icing… hey you know with this being my first attempt at cut-out sugar cookies I figured why not try the whole homemade icing another day.  Plus who really wants to pass up glittery red icing?!?  not this girl…  🙂

BE DIFFERENT…

“What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give everything else?”

Romans 8:31-32

Have you ever made a conscious effort to stop and only live in the moment? Not worrying about things you did in the past… not worrying about what is going to happen next month, tomorrow… even 30 minutes from now. Its challenging. Last week I turned 33. A few days before I had a minor meltdown… well not so much meltdown as a re-evaluation. It hit me that my mom passed away at 45… wow!!! I had so many dreams, goals, unanswered prayers to see through. 12 years wasn’t a very long way away… (not that I thought I would pass away in the same time frame or anything, more of an observation) then it hit me like a ton of bricks just how valuable everyday on this Earth is. I immediately made a deal with myself and with Jesus Christ to really enjoy this year… no expectations… no timelines… just a couple of guidelines and then go after it.

So the day comes, my birthday begins and it was truly an amazing day. I woke up to an entire day available to spend with, one of my favorite people, my dad. We went to lunch at my favorite restaurant and when the check came… we had been seated at Table #33…well isn’t that fun!!!

Image

Lunch was followed by another one of my favorite activities… a tour of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Let me tell you, the 3 hours of history and knowledge I soaked in was amazing. I had forgotten what an inspiring life Lincoln had led. Did you know that a few years before he became President of the United States you would have found him in a bed… alone… and so depressed from heartbreak that he didn’t even care to go on?

ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM

I’ve been there… living in the muck & mire of life, sad, confused, feeling like I’m alone in a house full of people pretending to care about me, wanting to be away from all of them so badly that I’d say or do really anything. Not really wishing it would be over but rather just wishing for something… anything to be different. To wish for something to be different you have to do something fairly simple… BE DIFFERENT.

That difference for me has been to make a conscious effort to make all that I am… every breath that I take, an act of thankfulness and gratitude for every good person in my life and every beautiful experience Jesus Christ allows me to feel. When this began to happen my focus changed… it no longer mattered if I was in the right line of work… it no longer mattered if I would or wouldn’t, ever get married… have children. I have began to realize that even though my life is far from perfect and prayers are still given daily, dreams are still coming into fruition, I no longer have time to focus on the details because I am filled with such a joy that anything that will be added to the moment feels like a little miracle.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

“Miracles” like my dad suggesting my favorite restaurant without even knowing it was my favorite… suggesting we head over to check out a new exhibit not knowing that spending a day at a library would be the perfect birthday gift for his daughter. And in those moments of gratitude all you can do is say…

“Thank you Jesus, for teaching me to dive into today instead of busying myself with developing tomorrow.” -eliza

Ruby Red Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Last year I began a new love for something that I’d generally avoided…  fruit.  I know it sounds weird and I really don’t have a reason why I did.  I found though that fruit & wine are a wonderful pair, I’m sure your thinking well duh, right about now seeing as its a derivative of one. But truly, one of the finest things in life is a well orchestrated fruit salad with a nice bottle of Moscato. (and truth be told  I don’t even generally ever like white wine.)

I’ve recently been finding myself enjoying fully developing the flavors in foods, as well as finding new and unique pairings of wine to accompany them. One of these obsessions has become perfecting vinaigrettes.  It would seem finding the perfect vinaigrette would be some what of a challenge, when really the possibilities are endless.  Here is one that I came up with that turned out to be quite a hit for Sunday brunch.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Vinaigrettethe salad = baby spinach, chopped romaine, beefsteak tomato, white onion, ruby red grapefruit sections,  feta cheese 

1/4 c. finely chopped white onion

2 T finely chopped garlic

2 T Honey Dijon mustard

1/4 c champagne vinegar

1/4 t sea salt

3 T Dark Agave Nectar

1/2 t fresh ground black pepper

1 large ruby red grapefruit

In a small bow whisk together onion, garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Then juice the contents of the grapefruit into the mixture.  After the following is thoroughly whisked slowly pour in olive oil while continuing to whisk causing the dressing to emulsify. You can easily gauge whether the vinaigrette has emulsified by taking a leaf from the salad prepared and dipping it in the dressing, if it evenly coats the leaf as pictured below your dressing is complete.

Ruby Red Grapefruit Vinaigrette