Monday, May 18, 2015

((recipe)) cilantro-lime shrimp & quinoa bowls

This recipe has become a favorite in our household - Knox even finishes his bowl. Now, if that isn't a toddler win, I don't know what is! It's fresh and flavorful, perfect for warm summer nights and comes together quickly. One quick trip to Whole Foods for ingredients and typically under $20, depending on what you have on hand + the price you get your shrimp for, this is a go-to meal that you'll come back to time and time again.

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Quinoa Bowls
(serves 3-4)

1 lb deveined, peeled shrimp 
1 cups dry quinoa
1 clove garlic, chopped
avocado (2)
red onion
2 limes
1-2 tomatoes depending on size
((on hand basics))
chicken broth, water, olive oil, salt & pepper, chili powder, cumin
olive oil

1. Cook 1.5 cups of quinoa in 2.75 cups of water or chicken broth, according to package directions. I usually go half and half here. If you're making this for 1-2 people, just do a cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water or broth.
2. Chop half of the red onion and half of your jalepeno (or the whole pepper if you like it hot). Put in medium bowl and squeeze juice of one lime on top. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, tiny bit of salt and pepper, stir and let sit for at least five minutes (this will take some of the bite out of the red onion so it's not so potent).
3. Chop tomatoes, avocados, and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Set aside. You'll mix this with the onion/jalepeno mixture when it's been sitting long enough. 
4. Heat some olive oil in a pan and throw in a clove of chopped garlic. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with cumin + chili powder. Add some leftover lime juice and cilantro if you're feeling fancy. Cook a couple minutes on each side, until cooked through. 
5. Mix all the "avocado salsa" ingredients together if you haven't already and season with salt as needed. 

Add quinoa to a bowl, top with the avocado salsa, and then a few pieces of shrimp. Serve with lime wedge. 

-cut up shrimp rather than serving whole ((which is obviously what I do for Knox))
-make cilantro-lime rice instead of serving with quinoa. I just like how much protein is in quinoa and I feel like it gives more flavor to the dish when cooked in partial chicken broth. 
-Grill the shrimp
-Omit the shrimp, chill in refrigerator and serve as a delicious quinoa salad for your Memorial Day party

If you have leftover quinoa & avocado salsa, mix it all together with a bit of olive oil if the quinoa is dry and it is AWESOME cold the next day for lunch. ((thumbs up emoji))


Sunday, May 10, 2015

grace & motherhood

It's no secret that I wear a lot of hats. I'm a wife, mom, daughter, friend, business owner, blogger, consultant, designer, dreamer, teacher, singer, cook, housekeeper and more. I'm a busy-bee to say the least.  But being a mom is the most refining, exhausting, and significant role I get to play. It's an umbrella for everything I wanted to be "when I grew up." It pushes me to the feet of the Father daily and although I make mistake after mistake, I'm grateful that I can experience endless grace and new mercies every single day. 

I pray that one day, Lord willing, when my boys are Fathers themselves that they can see that providing for their families and using their passions to serve their wife and their children will feel like an extravagant gift. 

I remember a moment growing up, standing on a chair in the kitchen next to my mom while we made brownies.  I was a talker (shocker) and I recall rambling on to my mom a few things I wanted to be when I grew up. While we stirred the batter and I impatiently waited to lick the spoon, I explained that I either wanted to be a singer, a cook (which is ironic since we were making brownies out of a box), or a teacher. She looked at me and said, "If you're a mom, you will likely be a cook. Actually, you can be all of those things when you're a wife and mom." 

And she was right. Just like she was right about not being able to beat brownies from a box. 

Now, I'm no gourmet chef, but I get to prepare three meals a day for Knox and when Baby brother comes along, my body will supply many meals a day for this tiny babe. Making delicious dinners to sit down at the table and enjoy with Chase (and Knox) is a joy, even if it gets redundant sometimes. So, I'm a cook. I can thank my mom for not making that seem like a chore, but a gift. 

I sing Knox to sleep daily/nightly, and in that first year it was multiple times a day. I must have hummed and/or sung "I've Got Peace Like a River" and "Be Thou My Vision" hundreds, if not thousands of times in the past two years. Sometimes repeating all verses two or three  times until I saw the eyes of my sleepy sleep-fighter flutter and finally close to get some rest. I had a chunk of time where I really wanted to pursue music in some capacity. I am so completely satisfied in just being able to use that gift for my boys. So, I'm a singer. I can thank my mom for allowing me to see that singing my babies to sleep is a gift and it's enough.

I spent the first year and a half at Texas A&M studying early childhood education. It wasn't until I spent a summer being a counselor at a summer camp that I realized I wanted to teach kids about Jesus, not necessarily about math and science or English. I didn't make the best grades those first two years (let's just say ECON and Political Science were NOT my jam) and I switched majors to Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences (RPTS). I remember being a little ashamed that I didn't quite cut it, grade-wise, and that I wasn't going to be a teacher like my mom, and most of the women in my family. My mom never ever said she was disappointed. I can thank her that she instilled in me that I'll be a teacher to my boys ((although home schooling will likely not be our path, ha!)). I can teach them about bugs and fun and heartache and the ABC's and counting and Jesus. And so, I'm a teacher. I can thank my mom that I know teaching Knox and Baby Brother about the insurmountable love and grace of Jesus is being a teacher - and that's a gift. 

My mom probably doesn't remember that conversation that took place over 20 years ago. But that's the beauty of motherhood isn't it? We hope, so deeply, that our children remember the tokens of wisdom, the patient conversations over the stern ones, the evidences of grace, the kindness, the fun,  and the brownie baking memories over anything negative...over the inevitable mistakes we make as humans and as mothers.

Grace and motherhood. Such extravagant gifts that go hand in hand. 

Happy Mother's day to my mom and all the nurturers out there.