Zucchini Cakes… yumm!

One of my favorite foods used to be crab cakes, that was before I turned 18 and found out I was allergic to crab!!! Gasp!!! I know! It was awful to find that out, I loved him it. But I adapted and overcame. Just kidding, it wasn’t big enough of an issue to “get over.” So years ago I found a recipe of a mock crab cake that you used zucchini instead. But it required eggs. Which, after the birth of my daughter (and probably before a little), I had developed a serious allergy to eggs!! So again I was on the hunt for a good substitute for my beloved crab cakes. And… success!!! Hubby even said these were the best version I’ve ever made!! So here ya go, I found a recipe on Pinterest and did a little different. I followed this recipe and got 5 smaller cakes, I will double it when I do it again. Keep in mind, I’m a pinch and shake type of cook and not always a measure out cook. I’ll try to give both. Hope you enjoy!!! 

Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini 
  • Salt
  • Cajun seasoning (a few shakes, or about 1 tbsp)
  • Garlic powder (a few shakes or about 2 tsp)
  • Onion powder (a few shakes or about 2 tsp)
  • Whole-wheat flour (little less than 1 cup) 
  • 1 tsp baking powder  
  • 2 tbsp grape seed or olive oil for frying. 

Instructions 

  1. Shred zucchini. I use my food processor or small short strips. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15+ minutes to dry out, draining a few times. Then wrap in a towel and squeeze out water. 
  2. Mix seasons (onion powder, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, flour, powder) with the zucchini.
  3. Make into small balls (about the size of a golf ball or ping pong ball) and squish a little to make flatter. 
  4. Heat oil to medium-high heat in a skillet. Oil should cover the bottom just a little bit. 
  5. Cook cakes in oil on one side until crispy brown, about 5 minutes. Then repeat on the other side.

He has a plan! 

This thought of “why did this happen to me?” “What was God’s plan during this?” has come up in many different groups in my life lately and I’m holding to the scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord and He will direct your paths! He has a plan for your life and it may not seem like it is a plan to prosper you (Jeremiah  29:11) or for your future but he has a plan. It may be years (or a lifetime) from now until you can see what God was doing in your life. Every season, every hardship or challenge or hurt, every triumph and joy… it was all on purpose and all part of your plan to make you who you are! No matter what you have gone through, take courage that the Lord has a plan. He will reveal it one day, stay steady and faithful to the Lord, let him show you his plan while he teaches you and grows you along the way! There was a purpose to your past and there is hope for your future, but for now be present and let God worry about the rest!!! 

In the waiting…

Lately my favorite worship song has been wrecking my heart and soul, reaching me deep, allowing me to reflect on my life and relationship with the Lord. Every time I worship God with this song I hear it differently, I focus on a different part of it, a different verse or even word hits me!!! I can’t control the emotion, I’m overwhelmed by His spirit!

 

🎶 Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul. He’s in the waiting. 🎶

 

I have experienced many different seasons of waiting.

Waiting to make that decision to let go of my past and live only for God. Waiting to find a godly husband who would love me beyond my past, waiting till the right time to then become that wonderful ‘perfect for me’ man’s wife, waiting to be ready to be a mom, waiting until my husband was ready to be a dad, waiting for my first baby to grow, waiting for her to arrive and join our family, waiting for her next smile and next cuddle and next milestone, waiting for her to say “I love you mommy!”, waiting for her next kiss or big hug. Sometimes even waiting for the next meltdown that needs calming and love. Then waiting to be ready to grow my heart enough to decide we were ready to grow our family, waiting through the unknown of infertility and unhealthiness, waiting to find out we were actually expecting another perfect baby, waiting to finally tell the world and our family, waiting while growing our baby boy, now waiting for him to make his arrival into our life. And so many more moments that came between the bigger waiting seasons.

In every stage, the waiting showed me something. The waiting at times was very challenging filled with sadness, impatience, hurt, sickness, confusion, full of the unknown… but at other times the waiting was exciting, happy, wonderful, full of joy… The waiting sometimes was short and sweet and flew by, but other times it was long, and hard, and took way longer than I ever thought it would have.

But no matter which it was, my God never failed me, he never let go! God provided me the love, support, peace, hope, and grace to survive or even thrive in the waiting! He was always 10 steps ahead to prepare me for the next “waiting”! I’m thankful for the waiting, I’m thankful that through it all, trials or triumphs, God changed me, grew me, held me tight and allowed me to experience a God!!

 

🎶“Miracles happen, when we fix our eyes on Jesus”🎶

 

I’ve seen miracles happen in my life in the seasons of waiting. I am thankful for my waiting. Life happens so wonderfully and sometimes so challenging during the waiting. I am thankful I have allowed God to use those times to stretch and grow me. So  I will continue to praise Him not only in the triumphs and victories, but more even so in the waiting.

 

🎶“Slow down, Take time, Breathe In, He said He’d reveal what’s to come. The

thoughts in his mind are always higher than mine. He’ll reveal all to come. So take

courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting. He’s in the waiting. Hold on to your hope as your triumph unfolds. He’s never failing.”🎶

 

Song credit to Bethel Music “Take Courage”

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well, it is getting cold very quickly this November and I am not a big fan of cold weather. I tire very quickly of being cold. So when I was meal planning this week I knew a soup would need to be on the menu and because I am from the South, obviously some type of Mexican dish is on my mind, so Chicken Tortilla Soup was the perfect choice. Even though I menu plan (ok so I sometimes menu plan…), I rarely am ever prepared to make dinner so I am always trying to find recipes that do not take long to make. Most Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes called for proper planning and a crock pot. I decided to mix and match a few different recipes to make my own ‘quickly’. I had all the ingredients on hand, which I love when that happens. There are about 16 ingredients that go into this, but they are all common ingredients and easy to prepare (seriously, I opened a few cans and used my knife twice).  I was very pleased with how it turned out, it warmed me up and satisfied my craving! Hubby loved it too. I would say that he went back for ‘seconds’ because it was that good, but truth be told, he just eats a lot LOL. This recipe was easily enough for a family of 4, or even 6 if you have little ones!! I wouldn’t half it though, just have leftovers or maybe freeze some. (**disclaimer: I have never froze this soup and cannot attest to how it holds up in the freezer, however I don’t see why it wouldn’t).

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

2 breast of chicken (can use more)

2 cups water

1 can chicken broth

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can rotel tomatoes (I used cilantro and lime and highly suggest it)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (but crushed is suggested by many others)

1 can red enchilada sauce

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups frozen corn

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced onion

1 tbs fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried cilantro, you can use much more!!)

salt and pepper to taste

6 corn tortillas

Toppings: Shredded Cheese, avocado, fresh cilantro, sour cream

Directions:

Cut chicken into small cubes and sauté with salt and pepper until cooked. In a large pot, combine all ingredients (expect toppings and tortillas) and the cooked chicken and bring to a boil, simmer for 30-40 minutes. Then cut tortillas into thin, shorter strips (I used a knife and cut them in half then cut the halves into smaller strips). Add the tortilla strips to the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Top with your favorite toppings.

Alexis, 11 Months

My dear sweet Alexis,

I am not prepared for how much you are growing and changing! You are becoming more independent when you play. You do not always want mommy and daddy to play with you, but you want us near by while you play. You are beginning to take steps while pushing things around (you princess ride along, your pusher/walker toy, the kitchen chairs, etc…). You get very excited to take steps, but not quite ready to let go and walk on your own just yet. You are very cautious with new things and new people. You love going to Gabby and Jaci’s Volleyball games at Oakcrest High School. You love being with your family, especially your Aunt Brooke and Uncle Mikey. You have started spending two mornings a week with Mommom while mommy and daddy are at work. You love playing in the bathtub, going outside to play, and exploring all your fun toys. Mommy met some of our friends at the beach to play on a wonderful sunny day in September. You finally felt comfortable at the beach to explore on your own a little bit. You loved playing in the sand, digging in it, tasting it, and crawling through it. You were not afraid at all, so brave crawling toward the big wide ocean! You have become very social, you love to wave at all the people you see. Nana came to visit us to help mommy get ready for your first birthday party! Mommy is working very hard to throw an awesome Princess Party for such a precious Princess! You have started giving kisses to those you love. We visited your first pumpkin patch and took a hayride with the other mommies and buddies from Mops. You loved crawling through the hay and being outside. Every new thing is something to study and learn so much about. You are very curious and are constantly exploring and examining everything. You are so incredibly fun and sweet, and mommy and daddy love watching you grow and learn. We are looking forward to all the new and fun things you get to experience next.

 

(pictures to come soon)

Alexis, 10 months

Dear Lexi-Belle,

Are you seriously in double digit months now!! I really cannot believe how much you have grown and advanced this month. You are a pro at crawling, you can crawl up and down one step, but have not ventured past that, thank God. You can crawl in and out of your ball pit, and really just about anywhere in the house. You are very funny about crawling on the hardwood floor. You keep your left knee on the floor and push off with your right leg to move. You basically half regular crawl and half bear crawl. You love to follow us where ever we go, and you do not go too far out of our sight, however, you are learning to explore more on your own. If mommy or daddy are sitting nearby you play independently wonderfully, but you do not being left alone in a room, even if we are only a short distance away. You are pulling up on anything that is half-way steady enough for you hold onto. You actually stood up without holding on to anything for about 5 seconds. You were standing and holding on to daddy playing with a piece of paper (one of your favorite things to play with until mommy takes it away because you have started to eat it lol) and you wanted both hands to rip the paper, so you let go of daddy and stood there shocked at yourself looking like “now what?”. It was a funny and sweet moment. You love crawling and chasing daddy when he crawls. You wrestle with daddy now too and you think its hilarious. Every night we play in your room (most of the time you are nakey because it is right after bath and almost bed clothes time). You love going to many toy spots and bringing toys to us to play with. There have been a few uh-ohs that end up being really funny despite the poop and pee on the floor (yes you actually pooped on the floor, but thanks to daddy’s speed you made it to the toilet before any damage was done lol). One time you peed on the floor, which in itself is not funny, but you lifted the bottom of your onesie up, peed, then put the onesie back down. We were cracking up that you did not want pee on your onesie.

You are now eating a ton of food. You have oatmeal with fruit in the morning after you nurse. Then you nurse after a nap, eat a snack (oatmeal, banana, fruit, Mum-mum*’s, etc.) then you nurse, eat dinner (a mix of vegetables mostly), then you nurse before bed. You still love nursing despite your love for food. You are not so sure about new textures though. I gave you a piece of steamed broccoli and you looked at me and the broccoli like I just gave you an alien. You have two new teeth just making an appearance on the top. These two teeth have given you many sleepless nights that mommy has had to come and comfort and take care of you.

You have started doing the most adorable thing lately. You ‘hug’ and ‘snuggle’ your stuffed animals, toys, mommy and daddy, really just about anything when we say “awwww” to you. You have to be careful though because you “awwww”ed your ducking the bathtub and got a face full of water.

Bath-time is your some of your happiest moments. You love splashing and playing in the bath. You are very silly in the water and you LOVE it!

Each new day is something different with you. You keep changing every minute and we swear you are growing literally every single night! There are few things that remain constant though, you love snuggling with mommy, playing with daddy, chewing on everything, people watcher, a deep thinker, and slow to warm up to others. You are truly a joy to everyone that knows and loves you. You are getting more and more beautiful and smart everyday.

I love you more than you know,

Mommy

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Alexis 9 months

Dear Sweet Lexi-Belle,

This month you have made so many new changes it is like you are new baby. You have started crawling!! You started getting on your knees and then sitting back up really well, you could almost move by almost rolling around by sitting and going to your knees. Then you just took off one day and started really moving. You still only crawled for a short distance and then would take a break, reevaluate your target (mommy, daddy, a toy…) and then go back after it. Well, that is if it isn’t too far away, then you would just stare at us and then cry for us to come get you. You have also started pulling up and standing while holding on to things. You are now standing and crawling around your crib, and I must say it is very funny to randomly look at the baby monitor and see you happy and quiet playing in your crib then going back to sleep. I cannot go into your room and get you in the mornings at the first peep you make, you need time to wake up and have a slow quiet moment and maybe even fall back to sleep for a few hours. You are just like your mommy on that one, I love sleep and need a little more than most I think. You are sleep so wonderfully now! Two months after “sleep training” and you are sleeping like a champ! You are such a crazy sleeper, you turn and move all over your bed all night long. You start with only one blanket that you snuggle with, then throughout the night you pull off two to three more blankets into your crib to snuggle and lay with all night. Your fuzzy soft blankets are your magic sleepy-time snuggle piece. You are so cute when you wake up. Daddy and I love watching you on the monitor as you wake up, sit up, stand up, pull and hit at your mobile, lay back down and fall back asleep. Then when you are finally ready to get out of bed you let us know by crying/talking differently. You always smile and cuddle us when we get you out of the bed. You are so sweet.

You are become much more vocal with your sounds and noises. You love blowing raspberries and making what we call “uncle mikey’s sound”. You “talk” a lot and if we can’t see your face it is hard to tell if you are happy talking or upset talking. People who do not know you can’t tell the difference, you are very funny like that.

You eat pureed foods really well and get very excited when we start to get it ready, then we can’t feed you fast enough. You also love drinking your juice (peach juice watered down mostly) from your bottle. You are a pro at holding and playing with your bottle with your hands and feet lol. You have also mastered fit throwing as well. You mostly only throw fits when we put your carseat or trying to keep you from turning while changing your diaper. You will sometimes try to start a fit if we take something you are playing with away from you. You are pretty smart, you know where to look for things we take away from you. You are very intuitive and so curious to everything around you. When you hear anything you have to figure out what it is. Daddy and I love watching you play and figure out new things on your own. You watch us and learn new things every day. You are truly amazing. Daddy and I cannot get enough of you, kissing you, hugging you, singing, and laughing with you. We are so completely in love with you and you give us so much love and happiness. You make life so amazing.

I love you more than you know,

Mommy

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Throwing a fit because she didn't want to stand
Throwing a fit because she didn’t want to stand

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Sly little smile
Sly little smile

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