March 28, 2013

3.5 // Sometimes I surprise myself

// Confession: Sometimes I surprise myself

Every once in a while I get a craving for something sort of out of the ordinary. Recently, the haunting came from the desire for a crab cake. Having a wheat/gluten intolerance sort of eliminates an enormous catagory of  food from my life; one which largely encompasses anything delicious. Crab cakes are out of the picture for two reasons, 1. I can't have bread crumbs 2. I hate mayonnaise.

So I scoured the internet for gluten free recipes determined to fulfill this craving with little luck. If it was gluten free, it had mayo and if it had no mayo it had bread crumbs or other unappealing fillers. I decided to 'wing it' after getting an idea of how to make them from the recipes I read. Based on my previous cooking ideas this was not a route that guaranteed success, however I went for it anyway. The result was not a failure though, in fact they were pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself. Give my healthier version of crabcakes a try, see what ya think, they might surprise you.

Gluten Free Crab Cakes

1/4 c Celery
1/4 c Onion
3/4 c Rice Crispy Cereal
2 tbsp brown rice flour

1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cayenne
1/4 parsley

1 egg
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp almond or coconut milk
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
8 oz. Crab meat.
1/4 cup shredded cheese
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (for frying)

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In another bowl beat egg, oil, mustard, and milk until mixed well. Combine ingredients, adding crab and cheese. Shape into three patties; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat about 2 tbsp grapeseed oil (any kind of oil it fine) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the crab cakes until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Mine may have not looked perfect but they tasted delicious. It was such a treat to be able to enjoy something I normally would have to skip out on, plus there was a bit of extra satisfaction in 'winging' a surprisingly successful recipe. 

Download this recipe in a printable version here

Gluten free never tasted so good. //

March 24, 2013

3.4 // I have been deceived

//Confession: I have been deceived

I couldn't help but feel it. I felt dry. I feel stagnant and stuck, not growing with God but not going backwards either. I'm just dead. 

I had been thinking this for weeks trying to pray my way out of it. No signs of life, or so I thought. After a night of rest, I hit the road to Blacksburg as I do sometimes for a day away. The drive is lovely; I have always really enjoyed it. This morning I noticed it was quiet. I hadn't turned the radio on, and as I rounded the corner I noted how lovely the mountains and hills are, even covered with barren trees. How can I still find them beautiful? I thought to myself, as I studied there leafless branches and seemingly black trunks. 

In that moment it hit me. They only look dead, they may even feel dead but they are very much alive. A forest filled with life, roots thriving deep below the soils surface.  

That's the thing in Christianity we don't often talk about. If you're a new believer, you are growing leaps and bounds, learning and soaking up all that you can. But as you come to walk with Jesus there are times when He doesn't feel far away, but you're not sure He's all that close either. It's a place that feels stagnant, like a tree in the winter. Not dead, but not growing. My heart, like a tree in the winter, is seeking the warmth of the sun. It is dry and in need of fresh rain, waiting for the season to change. The wait is when vulnerability is at its peak. Like winter trees, I am susceptible to freezing rain and snow. And just as snow packs onto branches, the weight of the enemy's lies become heavy enough to break you.

 'God doesn't hear you, he doesn't love you... you are a wanderer, you don't even know God. you still sin all the time. you aren't living for God, what does that even mean to you.. look at you dead in your sinfulness...' the enemy's voice hisses lies. I am deceived by an enemy who wants me dead. 

I am not dead. I am deceived.

Deceit is meant to keep me frozen in fear; blind me from the blessings. Lies are meant to bind me and keep me from thanking my God, who is near.  It hopes to keep me from praising the One who even in a season of struggle or stillness has purpose for my life and hope for my future. 

"I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." -Colossians 2:4-7

So here I sit, facing the reality that my heart may be experiencing a bit of a winter storm. But spring isn't far off and I cannot be silent. If I am alive and all I can do is praise Him--knowing He is faithful--I am fulfilling a destiny of being rooted in Jesus and trusting God. 

I am alive.//

March 18, 2013

3.3// My outfit was ten dollars

photos by Chase Daniel

//Confession: My outfit was less than ten dollars...and from a thrift store.

Before there was a song about it, I have been intrigued by the findings at garage sales and goodwill's. I would say that my fascination with the old, however, began after my great aunt passed away and I inherited some of her jewelry. Antiqued, unique; I was hooked.

With an overarching love of fashion, thrifting becomes a sort of thrill. It's almost an art to be able to recognize something wearable amongst what can seem like a sea of worn mildewed clothing. The goal is to find the diamond in the rough. I am all about finding items that don't go out of style and making it my own. Pairing the "old" with what currently trending is my favorite.

Old or not, living in poverty means no trips to the mall. This is proof that you CAN find fashion in a thrift store if you're willing to search (and wash).

I will admit that it can be overwhelming. I suggest making a day of it. Rushing won't get you anywhere. Try a few shops. If you're not sure where to start, I suggest something simple and classic. Have an idea of what to look for, it narrows down the search. Check out websites like Modcloth or Pinterest to see what colors and patterns are trending then go out with a few favorite looks in mind that you might like to replicate. I'll start simple, a classic shape flattering essential:

The Highwaste A-line Skirt


Linen white skirt // Cap sleeve geo knit sweater // Vintage "9west" sandal wedges // Woven belt
$3.75 + $2.75 + $2.00 + hand me down belt from mom = $8.50 for the outfit


Red buttoned skirt (cut to make it above the knee)// White short sleeved button-up // Sandal wedges // My great aunts costume pearl earrings & charm bracelet

 $4.00+$2.75+$2.00+ inherited bracelet & earrings = $8.75

Who says chic has to be expensive?//

March 12, 2013

3.2 // I crave do-nothing days

//Confession: I crave do-nothing days.

Is it just me or are weekends that don't require accomplishing a to-do list, just what the heart-doctor ordered? Having lived in the Virginia now for going on 5 months, you would think I would be well adjusted to a routine and have a social agenda in order. That however is not the case. These months have been a time of retreat. This has been a season of going on dates with my boyfriend... staying in comfy clothes all day without a lick of makeup... watching movies and endless episodes of friends... walking and talking with God as the sun descends behind the mountain...and enjoying the beauty of "snow light".

There are days this lackadaisical lifestyle makes me feel lazy or unproductive (as if working 40+ hours a week is unproductive). I may not be a full time grad student who is working two jobs anymore, but maybe that's what this season is all about. Taking a deep breath and enjoying the little things.

These are a few of my [do-nothing day] favorites

 Watching crazy amazing sunsets over the mountains

 Home cooked yours truly

 Game nights 

Care packages
(Especially ones that your best friend sends that include girl scout cookies)

Watching old movies snuggled up with my favorite pup. 

Slow mornings over coffee and breakfast with this guy.

Sometimes life slows down, but instead of trying to speed it back up, this time,
 I'm going to roll with the flow//

March 6, 2013

3.1 //I don't like to wait

//Confession: I don’t like to wait.

Waiting in lines. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for the elevator. Waiting at the doctors.… arms crossed, toe tapping. I am impatient and anxious. What is it about my heart that can’t sit still long enough to take a deep breath and chill? What a difference I could make in my attitude if I took those moments as a chance to reflect or pray or just be quiet. Instead I get frustrated, annoyed, and feel the rush to get to the next thing. In times where my life seems to be in limbo or when life decisions “need” to be made, waiting just seems impossible; decisions are rash.

It’s that way with waiting on God too, I am bad at waiting. His timing is always perfect. I can say that because so many times He has come through with a check to pay a bill, a phone call to answer my prayer, a job I needed so desperately, a breakup that turned out to be a blessing. He is the timing expert. We have understood time from the moment earth was created--the sun has risen and set without missing a beat and seasons have changed with consistency. King Solomon wrote about it in Ecclesiastes, and the Byrds even made a song about it:

“To everything, turn, turn, turn 
There is a season, turn, turn, turn 
And a time for every purpose under heaven...”

Yet, in my discontentment, the clock never seems to tick when it’s supposed to. Waiting causes me to believe that progress has stopped. The reality however is that waiting is in fact active. I find my heart wrestling the most when I think about the future. I get caught up in the things I want to happen, or  I perceive a problem; my heart starts to tap its toe. I want to make things happen, I want to fix it. In the Bible over and over there is direction to “wait on the Lord,” which when translated from the Hebrew and Greek means things like: to look patiently, expect eagerly, to rest, trust, or hope.

The ability to wait on the Lord is rooted in the ability to be confident and focused ON who God is and IN what God is doing. It is assurance in God’s person: confidence in His knowledge, love, and timing. It means trusting in God’s purpose and the power of His hand in my life. Waiting means anticipation, confident hope  that something will take place. It’s a belief in the goodness of God coming to fruition in my life. It’s a patient, hopeful, prayerful heart that finds purpose in a time of wait.

My “doing” doesn’t do any good //