"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Friday, July 30, 2010

Marinara From Scratch and a Friend

As I've mentioned before in the last month or so, things have been crazy for me.

My life has changed yet again. A temporary but drastic change has come over my household and although we're all doing well, this change comes with it's intense challenges.

On top of which, we've had family in town, we've made trips to see family, I'm training for my half marathon in the beginning of September (I'm up to 9 miles), we've celebrated both of our girls' birthdays (4 and 2) and I'm doing my best to enjoy the long days of summer and the incredible neighborhood that God has placed me in.

My girls have handled all of this well, for the most part. Eva has been a little extra whiney and needy but other than that, she's a little trooper. Izzy, well nothing really seems to phase Izzy. She's a laid back chick and you really have to work hard to get her feathers ruffled. But when they do finally get ruffled...watch out! She's become quite the little hair puller.

But even amongst this very busy season in my life, I've tried hard to take time and enjoy the people around me.

One such person is Shelby. Shelby and her husband Alex have become a highlight to many of my days. I can be dead on my feet and ready to lock myself in the bathroom but when I see them out in the front yard, walking towards me to greet me with their sweet baby Olivia in tow, something in my heart lightens. I enjoy them.

Shelby and Alex grew their own tomatoes and onions this year in their front yard and the other night, Shelby showed up at my front door with a paper grocery bag full of them! Huge, red, sweet beefsteak tomatoes with a few crisp and tight onions thrown in. The first thing that came to mind...Marinara!

Here's my recipe for homemade marinara:


7-8 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded (directions below)
2 small yellow onions, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of dried Oregano or Italian seasoning
2 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup of red wine
Salt, Pepper and Roasted Red Pepper flakes to taste

Directions for Peeled and Seeded Tomatoes (if you already know how to do this, feel free to skip this part):

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.


Prepare a large bowl of iced water.


Hole each tomato by taking a paring knife and running it around the top of the tomato around the stem at an angle.



Once all the tomatoes are holed, drop each one into the pot of boiling water using a slotted spoon (to minimize splashing).



Boil the tomatoes until the skin begins to wrinkle and peel away from the top (about 15-20 seconds)


Immediately drop into the iced water for another 15-20 seconds to stop the cooking process.


Pull the tomatoes out the gently peel the skin away from the flesh of the tomatoes. This should take very little effort.



Once all the tomatoes are peeled, you'll need to seed them. Do this by placing a strainer over a bowl and squeezing the tomatoes over the strainer. You won't be able to get every single seed, but the strainer should catch most of them. Make sure you're seeding them into a bowl as you will need the juice later.


Once all the tomatoes have been seeded, remove the strainer from the bowl and poor the juice back over the seeded tomatoes.


Now you have peeled and seeded tomatoes. You may proceed to making your Marinara :)

Marinara Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.


Add the onions and saute them until golden brown



Next add, the garlic and oregano.



When the garlic begins to brown, add the red wine to deglaze the saucepan and use your wooden spoon to scrape up all the bits that have stuck to the bottom.

(I don't have pics of this part because well, I get a little silly whenever wine is involved ;p)

Then, add the peeled and seeded tomatoes along with their juice and give the whole concoction a nice stir.



Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 2 hours.


Once it's cooked down a bit, add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to your liking. You can even add a little parmasean cheese if you'd like :)

Once I was done making this yummy sauce, who do you think I called?

Yep. Shelby.

And I was glad to have her,

and her tomatoes ;)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Perfectionism Comes Before the Fall

So, I'm a perfectionist.

I think I may have mentioned that here and there on this blog. Perhaps just every now and again. You might not have picked up on that. But there it is.

My husband and I were lounging in the living room one late Sunday afternoon, well scratch that...I was lounging. He was reading news articles on the internet. Anywhoo, he came across an article that linked perfectionistic tendencies to depression. More specifically, Post Partum Depression but really just depression in general.

This got me thinking.

I am one of those perfectionistic people.

I have struggled with depression.

I'd never thought that one might be contributing to the other.

But now that I've thought about it, it makes total sense!

How easy it is to fall into a depression when the standards you cannot live up to are coming from none other than YOURSELF!!! I mean, we can look at other people and their expectations of us and flippantly wave it off if we want to spouting something along the lines of, "that's his problem! No one could live up to that!" But when it comes from within well, that's not quite as easy to wave off.

A very wise man, the father of this very wise woman, once told me that the sneakiest thing about Satan is that he uses our own voices to get to us. He whispers things in our ears, into our hearts and mind that would have us believe we are worthless, valueless and pathetic. And he does so in the voice that is most familiar to us. A voice that we would only recognize as absolute truth because that's the voice that narrates our entire being. Tricky, tricky, tricky is that Great Deceiver, is he not?

Do you ever wonder why those horribly negative things are so much easier to believe than the good stuff? I do.

I mean, why can't I walk around in a fit of joy singing about the promise that I was "fearfully and wonderfully made ?" Do I not believe that God has the ultimate authority, even over Satan himself? Of course I do, but that's just so easy to forget.

Why am I so quick to think so badly of myself?

I mean, when I stop to think about it, my standards for myself are actually higher than anything God expects from me.

To be a godly woman in MY head means:

clean house,
well behaved kids,
crazy happy husband,
no enemies,
no drama,
no dust,
no dirt,
no baggage,
well dressed,
always knows the right thing to say and do
and executes perfectly!

I can't live up to that. I mean, maybe one or two things every now and again but not all of them and certainly not all the time!

And therein lies the root of a perfectionists' depression.

We can't live up to our own standards.

But what are the two greatest commandments? What are the two things that God says He needs from us more than anything else?

1. Love the Lord your God with all of your Heart, Soul and Mind
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Nothing in there about how clean your house must be or how well dressed you have to be.

It just comes down to LOVE.

Love your God,
Love your neighbor,
Love yourself.

Cause God Loves you. Just the way you are. Imperfections and all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Calm Before the Change

Why is it that as soon as you feel you get used to something being the way it is, it changes?!?

From everything to your kids sleep schedules to the way your local Target is laid out, as soon as you start to feel you have a handle on the way things are, someone decides to change it all up.

I don't do well with change.

Well, I take that back. I don't do well with the anticipation leading up to change. If things are going to change, well it's better for me if I have no previous knowledge of it. The powers that be at Target need keep that in mind...

Anyway, things are changing again in our small but valuable life. It's a road I've been down before, but just haven't had to travel quite this long. That's alright. One thing all this running has taught me is that as long as you keep the pace you're meant to keep, you can run any distance set before you.

So I'll keep running. In every sense of the word.

But tonight, I'll sit.

I'll sit and enjoy the remnants of the life I know right this moment,

before everything changes tomorrow.

I'll sit and enjoy my Honey,

My Date <3

and this yummy summer dinner,

Summer Dinner

and be thankful for the change :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Quick Update

SO, this summer so far has been one thing...crazy.

Good. But crazy.

My family is in town right now. For almost the entire month. I'm happy they're here. We've been so busy and all of our adventures have given me scads of things to blog about but little time to actually blog about them...conundrum.

BUT, my brother Ryan is in town and he's been taking pictures of all of our escapades! He's a professional photographer and so, I feel so blessed to have him around documenting this vacation.

He even took some wonderful pictures of the girls' birthday party last weekend. They had a Wizard of Oz pool party complete with blue gingham bathing suits and red, sparkly flip flops. They. Were. Adorable. The pics, amazing. I'll post them, or give you a link to them as soon as I get his permission :)

SO, until I have time to blog about all of the fun stuff that's been going on, I'll leave you with a few pics of the girls and their birthday cupcakes.

Wizard of Oz Cupcakes



Miss you guys!