4/30/2014

Easy Breakfast Scramble


You know those meals that you make on a whim with whatever ingredients happen to grace your refrigerator or pantry at the time? Well, this would be considered one of those meals. I've made it a few times since then and I believe I've perfected it. It's pretty darn tasty! And since it's simple and healthy too, it wouldn't be fair to you guys if I just kept it to myself, now would it?

INGREDIENTS:
6 eggs
3 chicken sausages (chopped)
¼ bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 cup of spinach (chopped)
¼-½ cup feta cheese
garlic powder
salt + pepper

Start by making sure your ingredients are ready. I like to chop all of the ingredients that need to be chopped and place them in bowls beforehand. It makes things easier, which in turn makes cooking more enjoyable (to me at least). Once you're finished prepping, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with garlic powder, salt + pepper and whisk together until well blended. Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil and the bell pepper. Let this cook a few minutes before adding in the spinach and chicken sausages. You'll want to turn the heat down to medium at this point and then add in the eggs and feta cheese. Let the eggs cook for a minute (or until the bottom starts to set), then push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan with a spatula. Repeat with the other edges, until all of the egg has been cooked. Transfer to a plate and dig in!



4/22/2014

Our Story Goes Like This


A love story. Each part important, each part unique. I tried to share a drawn out version of how we met in the past, but I ended up deleting it altogether. Truth be told, our story is quite simple. It involves a broken girl, a homeless boy, a social media site plus God's redirection and timing. Without being too vague or too detailed, I'll try my best to break it all down.

On December 11th, 2007, I decided to write a letter to God. It was a prayer, or more so a plea. In this letter, I included all of the qualities that I wanted in a guy. After I finished, I took the paper and slipped it into my nightstand for safe keeping. Though the memory of it slowly faded away. I was only 17 at the time, but I'd already seen my share of good guys with bad intentions and bad guys with even worse intentions. I had been rejected and thrown away. I was broken, I was weary. Yet, deep down, I still believed that God would direct me to someone worth giving my heart to. I clung to that tiny sliver of hope.

Now, flash forward to 2008. If there's one thing I've learned throughout the years, it's that trusting in God means trusting in His timing. While I spent most of the year finding my way back to Jesus, G was fully depending on Him to get through each day. Many failed attempts at finding work had led him and his dad to the city I've called home my entire life. They bounced around from hotel to shelter and eventually were forced to live out of their car. His dad wanted to head back north in hopes of finding employment. But, for some reason, G felt they needed to stay longer. Little did he know that reason would be me.

It was a mid-December night. As I logged onto Myspace, I began to do a little searching. I checked the filter boxes — Male. Christian. Non-smoker. Non-drinker. Tampa, Florida. I scrolled through profile picture after profile picture until I reached his. A black and white photo of a (very cute) guy in a fitted cap. Garrett Sharp. Even his name seemed to draw me in. I clicked the link, read a bit about him and decided to send him a friends request. I didn't think too much about it, until he responded.


"Hey, you're cute! Do I know you?" were the words that popped up in my inbox on 12-11-08. We began messaging back and forth. Each day, I found myself opening up to him more. He was different. We talked about God and how He'd influenced our lives. We also talked about our values, the things we believed in and the things we disagreed with. One night, as we were conversing, I was reminded about that little ol' letter I had written many months before. I quickly searched through my nightstand and found it. Then I had a notion to check the date. 12-11-07. I couldn't help but get emotional after realizing it was exactly one year to the date I had written the letter. After 3 short weeks, we made plans to meet each other in person.

It was New Years Eve 2008. He said he would be waiting for me in front of the Apple store in the mall (I made sure it was a public place). I was a nervous wreck when I caught a glimpse of him waiting there. Emotions surged throughout my body, then courage kicked in. I inhaled deeply, slowly making my way towards him. Everything else began to fade; each step growing easier than the last. Finally arriving where he was seated, I took the seat beside him. He looked over at me and smiled sweetly. With a simple "Well, hey there, Jessica" he had stolen my heart. I smiled back and said hello.

We ended up spending the day together and rang in the new year sitting on the beach, watching as fireworks lit up the sky. He asked me to be his girlfriend that night and less than 4 months after we started dating, he proposed to me. He had quickly become my best friend and I couldn't imagine life without him. Clearly, I said yes and we tied the knot on May 15th, 2010. Never once did I imagine I'd stumble across a Myspace profile, send a friends request and end up marrying the person on the other side of cyberspace. But, that's exactly how our story unfolded and I love the way it all turned out.

4/20/2014

Our Unconventional Easter


This Easter didn't really pan out as I had hoped. No dressy clothes were worn, no egg hunts or family dinners were attended. And we didn't even go to church. Instead, I woke up as my husband was getting home from work. His weary eyes a sign that I wouldn't be seeing much of him today. I crept downstairs, grabbed a cup of coffee and settled down on the couch. Since we haven't replanted ourselves in to a church yet, I figured watching a live stream would be the next best thing. So I tuned into a recording of the Easter service at Hillsong Church in Australia. From the worship to the sermon, it was exactly what I needed.

SIDE NOTE | There is absolutely nothing wrong with the church we had been attending. It's a great place filled with awesome people and I'd recommend it to anyone. We just felt as though we don't fit in well there. I made a handful of friends over the years, but I have never felt very close to any of them. And it was hard for my husband to connect with the guys there (mostly because they didn't share the same interests as him). That being said, not being part of a church at the moment has been hard. I feel alone more than I'd like to admit. I know that I have my family, but it would be nice to form genuine friendships with like-minded believers too.

I had such an amazing time in God's presence this morning. He's been revealing so many things to me over the past week. Dreams that I've kept hidden deep down in my heart, areas that I need to work on and things that He plans to breathe new life into. I spent the day dwelling on the fact that I've been set free, I've been made new. Because of Jesus I can live without being bound by sin. Because of Him, the slate has been wiped clean! His love is fierce, His grace is sweet and I am so very thankful.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend!

4/18/2014

Currently // April

 
I'm an emotional wreck today. Could be hormones, could be this perpetual rain that decided to barge into our sunshiny state, or it could be because I haven't unplugged and reconnected with God lately (I'm 99.9% sure it's the latter). Whatever the cause, I don't like it and I'll just leave you with this little post since I have too many thoughts swirlin' around my brain at the moment.

EATING · A piece of toast with coconut oil, peanut butter and raw honey to hold me over until dinner is done. I tried the whole "eat a spoon full of coconut oil a day" thing, but it makes me gag. Adding it onto toast or into my coffee will have to do!

DRINKING · My third cup of coffee, even though it's late and I know I'll more than likely regret it once bedtime rolls around. Oh, well. I'll just have to pop a melatonin pill before I plan to go to sleep. Works every time!

MISSING · The sunshine. What's up with this rain? It came out of nowhere and it's really messing up my plans. G and I were hoping to go fishing at some point today, but that obviously didn't (and will not) happen. Boo.

READING · Insurgent by Veronica Roth (only a few chapters left to go) + The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.


WATCHING · Lately we've been watching 'Til Death on Netflix. My friend and I stumbled onto it one day and once I showed G, we were hooked. Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher are hilarious! I highly recommend it (especially if you're married).

WISHING · That I were on vacation right now. I'd much rather be sitting in a cozy cabin in the mountains or walking along the beach with a frozen fruity drink in my hand than being stuck inside at home on a rainy day.

PLANNING · Our anniversary trip is pretty much planned (booked the hotel last night), so I've moved onto planning our family beach vacation for this fall. Trying to figure out how much dough we'll have to save up in the next few months.

LISTENING TO · "Ordinary" by Copeland (their new release). Is anyone else as excited as I am that the band is back together?!

CRAVING · A bacon cheeseburger. I've been having this craving on and off for days now! Surprisingly enough, I haven't caved yet. Sure, it would taste great. But, sadly, it would make me feel like a fat lard. So, that will be a no-go.

SMELLING · Hawaii Passionfruit Kiss body spray (or "fragrance mist" as they call it) from Bath & Body Works.

FEELING · Like I said at the beginning of this post, my feelings are all over the place. Am I happy? Am I sad? Am I just plain bored? I really wish I knew! Haha. I've been up and down all day. Isn't being a woman great?

ANTICIPATING · Having some one on one time with God in a little bit. I know it'll help me sort out whatever this is I'm going through emotionally. I'll be glad whenever I start feeling like myself again!

4/15/2014

If We Were Chatting Over Coffee


If we were meeting up for coffee, we'd pick a quiet table in the corner of a busy coffee shop. I'd probably take out my phone to snap a shot of my hazelnut latte before taking a sip. I'd then slip it back into my purse for the remainder of our time together. I would ask you how you've been. Once you're finished updating me in on the current events of your life, I'd start to share mine.

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that I've been in the process of finding a new church. I've been praying and I feel led to try one in particular, but I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to go because of work.

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that I think I'll always have a love/hate relationship with working at Target. My coworkers and supervisors are great, but the customers can be very difficult at times.

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that I can't seem to shake this baby fever this time around and I often find myself daydreaming about being a mama. Then I would chuckle a bit, shake my head and quickly change the subject.

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that it's hard for me to believe that G and I have been married for almost 4 years already. I'd then throw out the old (and rather cliché) "time flies" line and we'd both nod our heads in agreement.

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that I'm excited about visiting St. Augustine for our anniversary in a few weeks. I'd fill you in on all the places I want to hit up and things I want to do while we're there. Like trying waffles from Cousteau's Waffle and Milkshake Bar or climbing to the top of the lighthouse without chickening out (since I'm afraid of heights).

If we were chatting over coffee, I'd tell you that I'm at a really good place in my life right now. Everything seems to be going smoothly (with the occasional hiccup here and there). For the most part, I am content and I'm enjoying the season that I'm in.

4/04/2014

32 Things That Make Me Happy

It's easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of life or express that which we really don't care for, but I'd rather focus on the things that make me happy. As soon as I saw that Erin (from Two Thirds Hazel) and Sarah (from Venus Trapped in Mars) were doing the same, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to join in the fun! Everyone should make a list of their own.


+ Finding that perfect coffee to creamer ratio.

+ Being in God's presence (be it through worship or prayer).

+ Binge watching shows on Netflix with my husband.

+ Spending time with my husband, period.


+ Iced coffee, hot coffee, coffee in general.

+ Family gatherings that involve laughing, eating and drinking.

+ Having heartfelt conversations with sweet friends.

+ Sushi nights.


+ Taking care of my little fur-babies.

+ Mexican food accompanied by margaritas.

+ Taking way too many photos for my own good.

+ Witnessing a break-taking sunset.


+ Pizza (especially if it's from Cristino's Coal Oven).

+ Listening to the birds singing outside my window.

+ Clean sheets that are fresh out of the dryer.

+ Being anywhere near the ocean / on the beach.


+ Baseball season / cheering on the Rays.

+ Lighting up a new scented candle in our home.

+ Enjoying a nice book on a rainy afternoon.

+ Spending time outdoors on a bright sunny day.


+ Lunch dates with my girl friends.

+ Buying new stationary or coffee mugs or nail polish.

+ Long drives down country back roads.

+ Fresh flowers in the spring.


+ Having a drink after a long stressful day.

+ Successfully painting my nails without messing them up.
+ Nailing a new recipe on the first try.

+ Discovering new music and rediscovering old favorites.


+ Chilly nights around the fire pit.

+ That first shave with a brand new razor.

+ Feeling accomplished after completing a tough workout.

+ Traveling / taking road trips and exploring new places.


What are a few things that make you happy?

4/03/2014

An Afternoon at the Dali Museum


Today couldn't have worked out better. Yesterday morning, one of my supervisors at Target called me to ask if I'd be willing to take today off. Of course I was more than okay with that (even though that means I'll be getting 0 hours this week). G and I had been planning to visit the Dalí Museum in St. Pete for months over a year so I figured it would be the best day to go.

We took a short trip over the bridge and spent our afternoon wondering around the galleries, scoping out the artwork and trying our best to interpret it all. The museum is showcasing some of Andy Warhol's work this month too. Let's just say, both exhibits were interesting! I really enjoyed Dalí's earlier work and a handful of his pieces that displayed surrealism. Others were just plain weird and definitely made us laugh. The guards kept looking at us like we were being too loud (oh, well).

After viewing all that the museum had to offer, we made our way down the narrow spiral staircase to the café located in the lobby. G suggested that we should sit outside to sip our lattes. The view was great and the weather was absolutely gorgeous (good call, babe). We spent some time chatting then roamed the gift shop. I ended up purchasing a handful of postcards, and then we decided to head back home. It was an extremely enjoyable afternoon.












4/02/2014

Tex-Mex Stuffed Bell Peppers


As I shared here, I've been trying to incorporate more veggies into my diet. I used to hate absolutely despise bell peppers, but as I've gotten older my tastes have changed. Well, on Monday night I threw these stuffed bell peppers together and they were pretty darn tasty. After uploading the photo below on IG, I was asked for the recipe. So, instead of sending an e-mail to those who wanted to know, I thought I might as well share it here. I plan to make them again in the near future.

INGREDIENTS

8oz of salsa
olive or sunflower oil
1lb of lean ground beef
 1 clove of garlic (minced)
1 cup onion (finely chopped)
2 cups of cooked rice (I used brown rice)
6 green bell peppers (tops cut off, seeds removed)
2 cups of cooked black beans
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
taco seasoning (I use this recipe)
2 tbsp of low fat sour cream

Preheat your oven to 350°. If you haven't done so already, cut the tops off of your peppers and remove all of the seeds. You can choose to use the tops if you're like me and hate to waste them. Put water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add in the peppers and boil for 2-4 minutes. Remove the peppers and place them on a paper towel so they can dry. Heat your oil of choice in a large skillet and add in the chopped onions and garlic. Cook until they are tender, then add in your ground beef. After the meat has cooked for a few minutes, stir in the taco seasoning. Continue cooking until all of the meat has browned.

Now it's time to mix up the filling. Put the cooked rice, black beans, ground beef, salsa, sour cream and ½ cup of shredded cheese into a large bowl and mix. Once everything is blended well, stuff each pepper with the mixture. Pour just enough water in a baking dish to cover the bottom and placing the peppers upright in the dish. Bake until the peppers are soft and heated through (about 30-35 minutes). Take them out about 5 minutes before they're done, sprinkle each pepper with the remaining cheese and return to the oven. Once they're finished, top them with a dollop of sour cream and serve hot.


Simple, healthy and delicious! Can't beat that!