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Zuppa! And a touch of Autumn

Happy Friday to YOU!

I hope your weekend plans are shaping up to be excellent! Unfortunately, we are in, nursing a sick husband back to health.  In between times of taking good care of my patient, this afternoon I ran out to Target for some necessities and came home with some additional goodies….I mean, afterall, it IS Target, right?!  Tell me what you think about this place setting?  I think it gives our breakfast table a nice touch of Autumn.  🙂 I still want to add some greenery to the napkins but it’s a good start.

PlaceSetting.JPG

Now, onto the Zuppa!  I SO enjoy Zuppa each and every time I visit the Olive Garden and I wanted to see if I could replicate the Italian, hearty, goodness at home.  This recipe did not disappoint!!!!  This recipe will be a great one to make again very soon because of these lovely, cooler temps.  Ahhhhh….I just love Fall.

I paired the soup with this Caprese Garlic Bread.  Another WINNER in our recipe book.  If you like the sweet, goodness of balsamic vinegar, you will love this bread as well.  ❤

Zuppa

I’ll finish up this entry with a final thought—food for soul if you will: In my Bible reading today, I wrapped up the story of Esther.  In her day, she became queen and was used as a vessel to save God’s people (the Jews) in a beautiful display of obedience.  Even though she was most likely very afraid to take the leap of faith and unsure about the consequences of speaking up, she went ahead and did it anyway. God would have, and always will, get His plans accomplished.  YOU might just be the one in the right position today.

Go ahead, be like Queen Esther and take that step of obedience and faith…because “Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” -Esther 4:14

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy

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Spice org & dinner; all the feels

I’ve been in the kitchen most of today so I figured I would share what I’ve been up to.  :))) I started in my spice cabinet.  This past weekend, I got inspired to tear it all apart and re-organize it using cute little jars and my label maker.  Can you say, “FUN”?!  It was, indeed and the spicy shuffle even freed up some space in the cabinet, allowing me to store and keep items off of the counter tops.  BONUS!  I totally should have gotten a “before” pic but I did not.  #sadface But, here is the after.  There is still work to be done but in my defense, T.J.Maxx ran out of cute little bottles in the size I needed!

Spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I moved on to cutting up that pretty, little watermelon you see.  The kids are going to be delighted to have it with tonight’s dinner.  They will not, however be delighted to see egg salad on toast, served as the main dish…but here’s to trying to get them on board! Ha!

EggSalad

The recipe I used for the egg salad is SUPER easy and you can find on my Pinterest Board, “Yummiest” or click here.  I’ll serve this on toast along with some fresh veggies.  I was able to get all of these colorful, beauties at our local Ashery Farms.  I just LOVE that place!  Side note: I replenished my spices with Ashery Farms products.  They are priced so well!  Side note on the side note: did you know they also sell Taco Seasoning?!  So much better than from the Old El Paso packets….trust me!!!!

Veggies

For tonight’s dessert, I have Whit’s Frozen custard and a jar of peaches from….you guessed it, Ashery Farms.  No explanation needed on this easy, delicious, treat!

Peaches

I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration from today’s post.  If nothing else, an idea for a later meal and/or a great excuse to get the family gathered around the dinner table.

I’ll leave you with a small tid-bit of the money-saving nature and that is, to save and freeze any left-over citrus (oranges, lemons, limes) you might have that is about to go bad and use the frozen slices to keep your in-sink garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh. You can purchase garbage disposal cleaning tabs at the store but why spend the money when you can use half-rotten citrus instead?!  :)))

GarbageDisposal

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy

Overwhelmed, much?!

My favorite kind of evening is the kind where I don’t feel overwhelmed and rushed with dinner, dishes, kid’s homework, papers and did I mention, DINNER?!  In order to avoid the dread, I know it’s in my best interest to stay on top of my home-tasks; especially meal planning.  Do I always succeed—-ummm, NOPE! However, when I don’t, at least I’ve identified the necessary steps it takes for me to do better tomorrow.

I think “do better tomorrow” applies to a lot of areas of life.  Don’t you? As a wife, a Mom, a friend, a daughter, etc. I certainly make mistakes and get caught up by my own stuff BUT I’m learning, by the grace of God, not to stay there.  Stuck. Overwhelmed at my failure; laid-out under the heaviness of my wrong.  When we don’t succeed today at a given task, parenting, a relationship, a commitment or even all of the aforementioned, it is absolutely to our benefit to pick up the pieces and try again tomorrow…and the next day…and the next day after that.  But first: Press pause. Take time to identify where things went wrong.  Make the necessary adjustments in that place and begin again.  Do better tomorrow by repeating the productive steps of today but leave out the ones that have not and do not serve you well.  It seems like a no-brainer but if we don’t change things up a bit, we will almost always get the same results we’ve always gotten, Amen?!

I realize I got a wee-bit side-tracked from dinner talk but I do hope you are able to take away something useful from this post. 😉

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy

 

PS: Tonight, we dined on spaghetti, broccoli & cheese and garlic bread.  It was delightful and EASY!  xoxo

 

 

Drinking breakfast; preparing dinner

I’m getting a head start on tonight’s dinner!  I’m also enjoying my breakfast and some Bible reading as I prep these delicious stuffed shells.  I’ll serve them with a simple salad of romaine and cucumber and a new Ranch dressing I picked up at Target.  It’s by Lighthouse Organic.  Fingers crossed!

My breakfast drink can also be found at Target, if you’re grocery shopping there.  I’ve also purchased it at Kroger.  It doesn’t look pretty but this drink is absolutely tasty and full of vitamins and antioxidants.  There are several different flavors to choose from but I’ve found the Green Goodness to be my favorite.

Before I head down to the basement and change over the laundry, I want to share some food for the soul—lately I’ve been craving all the comfort the Lord cares to dish out and today these verses out of Isaiah really spoke to me; I hope they speak to you as well:

“Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God?”

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy

Fall Ball, Skin Cancer, Dinner: check!

Monday, already….?!

I guess it’s true what they say…time flies when you’re having fun.

This past weekend both of our children started Fall Ball so both Saturday and Sunday were FULL of action and ball-field dirt.  Until this season, my husband and I have held off, intentionally, as long as we could, on getting the kids involved in team sports. However, this year felt like the right year to finally take the leap.  We knew what a time commitment it would require to fully engage with a team and it seems up until now, said commitment was a scary thing.  As of this past weekend, all four of us have jumped in, feet first, and I am confident speaking for all of us, it’s a wonderful thing.  As we left the last ball game last evening, (the fourth one of the day and the 5th one of the weekend), I reflected on how nice it was to spend the entire weekend together as a family, cheering for the kids and meeting other parents with the same focus in mind.  And BONUS: the Lord could not have provided more beautiful weather!!!

As quickly as the weekend passed, Monday morning came just a quick.  We started off at the doctor’s office for my bi-annual skin cancer check-up.  I am BEYOND thrilled to report, no biopsies were taken, only one small area on my face was of concern and the treatment was instant and minimally painful.  Thank you, Jesus.

PSA: I absolutely recommend to all of my friends, to get checked out once a year.  Skin cancer comes in all shapes and sizes and it does not matter your age or gender.  You’re welcome 🙂

After we wrapped up at the doc’s office, we stopped for a car wash, a tank of gas and a few groceries…which brings me to tonight’s dinner: I’m going to try a pan-seared steak (instead of grilled) recipe and baked potatoes with Kerrygold butter.  Side note: have you ever tried this gold-packaged, goodness?! It is more expensive than the average butter but o-my-goodness, is it GOOD!

I hope your Monday is glorious and I hope your heart is at peace in these times where the search might be difficult.  Jesus is very near, even if it doesn’t appear that way.  He is steady and constant in our ever-changing world…look to Him in your moments of unrest.

Thanks for gathering,

-Mandy