Recently my girlfriend and I had invited the Pastor of our church and his wife over for dinner and set out on a mission to make a delicious spread of low carb food since it seems to be the happening style in our Church, and for ourselves even!
We decided on a main course of butt-rub asparagus w/ some delicious bacon wrapped chicken on the grill -- but the starter was something new for us.
Meet one of our new favorites: low carb buffalo turkey bites!
This one is super easy and super cheap (and only takes maybe 30 minutes from start to eating)! Check it out, ingredients:
- Turkey Balls:1 lb (or close) pack of ground turkey
- Could also use chicken, but I've been opting for the inexpensive "ground turkey" vs the more expensive ground turkey breast (our secret)
- 2 oz softened cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped celery (pretty much one stalk chopped up pretty fine)
- 2 tbsp (I use even more!) of your favorite crumbled blue cheese (by crumbled, how about whatevers on sale as its just for added taste and not the center of flavor!)
- 1/2 cup of your favorite low carb buffalo/hot sauce
- 1/2 stick of butter (preferably unsalted as there is plenty of salt in your sauce)
That's it! Pretty simple, right? You probably have um all but two ingredients!
Here's what you do...
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Mix all ingredients from the 'turkey ball' section above in a large bowl
- Grab a good sized cookie pan and line with foil, then spray with a good non-stick spray (or you could oil it)
- Form balls in approx. 1" size and place on tray
- Bake for 13 minutes
- Remove cookie tray from oven and then remove the turkey balls still on the aluminum foil and place on counter
- Apply new aluminum foil on cookie tray and spray w/ your non-stick spray
- One by one, dunk each turkey ball in your sauce/butter mix and place on cookie tray
- Bake for another 12 minutes!
- Remove, plate, enjoy!
Enjoy broccoli? Enjoy Asian type food? Enjoy sesame oil (can you distinguish it on your pallet?!). This, you will love ... I hope!
What you'll need:
- Broccoli -- up to you, more is almost always better in regards to EVERYTHING
- Sesame seeds (this is more for fun and looks, but not required like having broccoli is)
- Sesame oil (this one IS required and so so so so important and awesome)
- Soy sauce (again, required)
- Your favorite seasonings (I like Sriracha hot sauce (not pictured), garlic and onion powder, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes
Next you will want to fill your pot with some water and add your broccoli (mine is frozen and this guide is written as such -- if yours is not, you probably want to leave out until water is almost boiling, add and check it after a few minutes. Just dont overcook it... no one likes soggy broccoli).
Now... See? Nice and green ... and all excess water goneeeeeee! FOREVER!
Next up... Put in pan (this is so easy right?!?!?!)!!! Now, top with all your favorite spices, hot sauces, etc and add a healthy amount of soy sauce and sesame oil. Don't be too shy on this but don't go overboard... You can always add more, but I'm not really sure how to rinse the oils off the broccoli to start over... That could be a good update for the future though, maybe?
Now toss! Just be careful you dont fling everything all over... Give it a taste and if its delicious, great! You're pretty much done! If not, keep on adding spices and sauces! Again, we're going for an Asian flare, not a bland my-mom-can't-cook taste (no offense mom, but seriously you're steamed broccoli was pretty awful ... especially compared to this!) Now, plate it!
And of course, my favorite part? NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!
I really enjoy seafood... Actually, let me try again... I really enjoy food (thats my inner-fatty). However, in an effort of achieving an under control INNER fatty and a toned down OUTER fatty, I've begun revamping my diet and cutting out a lot of (as many as possible) carbs -- basically, I try to only get them from unprocessed foods (mostly vegetables, some nuts, proteins) and an some fiber (see: low carb wraps from Publix are rockin). Fortunately while I don't follow Atkins (come on... eat a dozen eggs and a pack of bacon for dinner sure is delicious, fun, satisfying, delicious -- it can't be all that great), I do follow it slightly. Also, seriously... if you eat so much proteins and no fiber, how are you going to ever ... well... you know...
Less I digress... One of the easiest and most delicious things I make pretty often (every time the veined shell on skrimp at the store go on sale!!!!) is a simple "low country boil for one".
What you'll need:
- Skrimp -- approx. a pound, but its up to you and your pot
- Water -- I don't know how much... I guesstimate almost EVERYTHING I cook
- Apple cider vinegar -- again, no clue how much. Lets call it a cup and keep on rockin!
- Old Bay Seasoning -- I DO have a measurement for this one -- its called a TON!! -- again, preference but don't be shy -- in the picture I also have my favorite go-to seasoning Butt Rub. I've never tried it, but I bet its fanny-tastic!
Fill your pot up with water, dump in your apple cider vinegar and at least HALF of your Old Bay stock (seriously, you should try it.. I did, and it was glorious)
Now, bring it to a boil... This seems like forever... Try not to fall asleep, by the way..
Um, is that guy sleeping?
HAHA! I LOVE VIDEOS OF LAUGHING BABIES!@($*()@#*%(#@%
What you'll see in this next picture is it starting to "break" -- a term used in brewing beer, where the ingredients start to separate and boiling will soon begin. Put your skrimp in now, but obviously be careful because your water will be hot and you'll burn yourself (proceed accordingly, if you're into that kind of stuff)
Eat right away if you want, but let the juices cool slightly (put in some ice and more Old Bay!) and then add the skrimp back in when its just warm -- yank a skrimp out, don't be afraid to suck the juices off of it and from inside the shell -- its the best part (like the head from a crawfish!)
Enjoy it... its low carb... high in protein, but make sure you get some veggies in ya so that you can... well, you know... We're all adults here so I'm going for it .. so you can poop!
Enjoying a nice cigar on my patio, decided to snap a few shots.
Took a break from detailing my car and took a couple shots of a motorcycle parked under a tent.
There are so many situations that depending upon age will strike different responses and opinions from people of all walks.
When we interact with children, certain traits and personality flaws are acceptable, whereas when an individual grows older the same scenarios prove to be socially unacceptable and frowned upon.
When we interact with adults we expect certain reservations and principals to be maintained and held as true -- things such as manners, professionalism, respect.
When we view the news, movies, books and any form of visual media (Facebook, flickr, magazines) and we see images we are affected in either a positive or negative way. One that will draw out happy emotions and memories, or perhaps a sneer or a gawk toward whatever we may see.
So many images strike memories and happiness within us -- pictures that seem like so many people in todays age have seen. Example:
But where is the line get drawn between a beautiful passionate moment caught in time between two absolute strangers versus a relatable time caught between two people you may know and interact with? For what reason, for the lack of better words, does a kiss become offensive and frowned upon? Become an act that should be hidden from the world and not shared?
Lest I digress...
As a culture, for the most part, we thirst for romance and affection. We seek it out as a group within movies, songs, books and whatever other various form of entertainment we can find. We love to see movies that leave us in tears as the hero sweeps his maiden off her feet with acts of love and words that should echo through time of his declaration of heart. Yet where does the line draw, again, between a fictitious presentation in comparison to someone we may know?
We what point can we simply condemn and approach others we know on how wrong it is to announce to our peers the love and emotion we feel towards another individual? In what difference, is my calling of adoration towards my girlfriend shameful and inappropriate, yet if I were to raise thanks and love to God and Jesus it would be fine? Sure, they ARE God and Jesus, but does that mean my love for my girlfriend is any less or irrelevant?
Should we truly cast judgement upon a pair of individuals for professing what is apparently supposed to be an inner secret? Why must we only be able to love God and raise to him praise and announcements, but sit with shame or cowardice of fear of the opinion of our peers, simply for how we feel? Understandably, people should not fill their lives with stories and comments about "oh my girlfriend" or constantly filling the air with empty bouts of affection. But if a moment is truly special, and a heartfelt sentiment is lifted, then who are we to judge and approach each other to remain silent as its to "mushy gushy" and inappropriate?
Excuse my post for rambling perhaps, but I'll never ask for you to forgive me for raising my love and adoration for neither my girlfriend, nor my Father.
So much has been going on in my life lately, and I've been wanting to share it all for so so long and to so so many people. This is going to be long, and this is going to seem really strange coming from me, to a lot of people. Strange it will be, but sincere it is.
Tonight, I feel, is the night that I am suppose to spill it all to the entire world.
As most of my friends and probably all of my family know, I have been waiting patiently for so long and have had my heart broken so many times by girls. Finally it paid off, because now I have the most incredible, lovable, beautiful, strong and perfect girlfriend for me. I can honestly tell you that I love her, and every moment (even the few bad) moments have been fantastic. We can talk about anything without shame or embarrassment - unless I'm upset and need quiet time to collect myself
I have not only a job to be thankful for, but one that I enjoy and one that allows me to live a lifestyle I prefer.
I have begun a healthier life style, and am for the most part sticking to it -- having lost weight and been active back in the gym with cardio and lifting.
And also, the reason for this entry, is my refound faith. For so long I have been hesitant in telling people about my started-again walk with Jesus, not for shame of being a Christian, but for shame of what I had said and done while I was lost...
It would be impossible to apologize and ask for forgiveness to everyone that I surely offended in my time, so I can only pray and put out here that I am indeed sorry.
However, the meat of what I want to write about is this...
My knowledge on Christianity and the Bible is not large -- I will not claim it to be. However, there are a few things that have really captured my heart and mind and that I spend so so much time thinking about, and that is the following:
- Paraphrase: People maintain a spontaneous relationship with every single person they know: friends, family, strangers, pets. However, when it comes to our faith with our God (whichever faith that may be, truly) we are so structured. We wake up, we pray and do a devotion. We might bless our meals every time we eat. We occasionally thank God when something great happens (raise, promotion, avoid an accident). We pray when we go to bed.
- Point: Our relationship with our God is supposed to be our #1 relationship, priority, and love. We should do our best to not structure that love, but to treat it with as much adventure as we would our girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, child or friend. Theres no reason to not say a quick prayer to just lift up thanks and praise for the calm albeit boring day we have (something terrible could have been avoided and we dont know it!). Theres no reason why we cant turn on our favorite Christian band and have our own mid-day worship.
- Summary: I just thought this was a really cool message she was delivered and passed down to me. I don't know how often she or any of you readers will reflect and strive toward a spontaneous relationship with your God, but I know that I do my best and it's wonderful! (So babe, thats my excuse if I forget to do my devotion in the morning and do it at night instead! I'm being spontaneous! )
- Teacher: Pastor Phil @ First United Methodist Church - Stuart, FL
- Preface: "My" church is Coastal Life in Stuart, FL, but when my girlfriend is in town I attend my church Saturday evenings and go with her to hers Sunday mornings. This particular service was the Christmas Eve service
- Point (see update title): See: John 1:29-"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"
- Every Christians favorite type of Lamb should be Jesus. For the last 7 months of dating Danielle, I've began listening to Christian music pretty early on and now it encompasses nearly everything I listen to, every time. So often you hear in the song references to the Lamb of God. I know we all know in our hearts and through our learnings that that obviously means Jesus, right. But have you ever truly thought into it? Ever truly had that revelation of the power behind that designation, to be the LAMB OF GOD? I wish I could give you the exact scripture but I do not remember and couldn't find it... But basically, in the bible for Lent it explains to take your perfect lamb (not one with illness, injury or any issues, but PERFECT) and to sacrifice it to avoid the angels of death. Likewise, Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God as he is the PERFECT sacrificial offering. It was he who was sacrificed by his own Father so that we could all avoid death -- death being forever casted away from Heaven and God and banished to Hell. It was such a powerful message to me, and still I think about it on my own and absolutely every time I listen to songs that sing about it.
- Additionally, in doing research I found the following quote from Saint Augustine in 375 AD (Jesus is often referred to as a lion-like lamb in the book of Revelation):
- "Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity. Why a lion in his passion? Because in being slain, he slew death. Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting. Why a lion in his resurrection? Because everlasting also is his might."
I find myself being drawn more and more with my involvement in my church and with my faith, and I feel its all as a reason to help my walk develop into a full blown sprint while providing casted light in front of me to help keep me from tripping, stumbling, or twisting my ankle.
Each week I walk away from my churches service with plenty of food for thought for the week, and each week after if I'm able to I attend a college aged worship group, which brings me to my next part.
Essentially what our Saturday nights include are a great service at Church and then a gathering either at Pastor Ricks house or another persons, but lately it has been at our new churchs facility that has a really cool chapel built in 1928 that we use! We begin with some simple chit chat amongst each other and then work our way into a 30 minute to an hour session of worship, led by a number of people on guitars, piano and a bongo if available. Our songs are simple but passionate, long but never dull. And fortunately, Rick always leads us on exercises to help break us from our shells.
This last week was absolutely incredible, and brought me more joy and emotion than I have ever felt at one time. Rick asked us to one at a time just raise up to God in a prayer what we were thankful for (a new job, a safety net, a request, anything). There were any choice of prayers and thanks. Finally I decided to break the silence with mine, and I thanked God for his patience. I thanked him for his patience and his forgiveness. Then I thanked him for my incredible girlfriend... I thanked him for my girlfriend because of how he used her to bring me back on the path towards him -- he waited through everything I did and said, all the doubts and rebukes for years. Then when the perfect opportunity presented itself, my life happened. I say that because truly I had no part in it, it just fell into place. And at this point I was overwhelmed with relief, with love, and with shame -- and I broke down into tears. I hate to cry, and I hate to cry in front of a person. What do I hate more? To cry in front of 15 people. But it didn't even matter, because I laid it all out and out loud to him, not held within my heart and mind. I felt a burden lift, and I was just so overcome. And what is really incredible is that while I basically sobbed, and while I felt guilt and shame, I never felt bad. It was like, maybe, if you were at your grandparents house as a child and broke something and you felt terrible? They love you. They dont care... Its done, its over with. You're still their grandchild and they have no ill feelings.
I dont know, it was just wonderful.
My point for this post? To come out with my faith. To not be concerned with what others will think, or what my family might think.
I feel like my faith is that much more of a precious thing, because I "had" it as a child and young teen and then lost it, only to find it again, on my own terms and will full surrender -- not because it was a cool thing to do in my clique, or because its what my parents told me to do and believe. It was because I truly gave my heart and life over to God.
Closing: Someone recently told me, while they don't fully believe in the Christian faith that they think its an incredible thing for people in pain or need, suffering or outcast, injured or broke can use faith as a means of support and to feel better through their trials. My thoughts? Its because its real. And its because its God reaching out and being their crutch. See: Deuteronomy 31:6 " Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Also, I just want to say a big thank you to:
- You have been paramount in my life for the last 7 months. You have brought me more joy than I have ever had and could ever have imagined with a girlfriend. I cannot wait to see where our journey takes us. I cannot wait to learn more from you about life and about faith. You mean so much to me, and I love you.
- Pastor Rick and my Coastal Life family
- You were a huge part in my walk. It was with you that I prayed for my salvation. It was through you God spoke to me and peacefully called me back to him. It is through your Church that I grow, and seek to be a better person and a better servant to God. I learned that my life didnt begin at birth, but when I accepted Christ in my heart and that it will be for eternity surround by those who love me.
- Every day I thank you for waiting for me and for truly loving me, unconditionally. I thank you for the life you have given me, for the trials you have put me through, and for the situations yet to come in my life because I know that you are the light in my darkness, and the strength when I am weak. I thank you for being forgiving and for having sent your son to die for me, so that myself and all other believers can spend eternity with you rejoicing. I am most thankful that you are helping me to be a better person and Christian, to overcome the shameful and disgusting things I do as I give in to sin, and to help me work through them and repent.
I've been wanting to update my blog for a while, but honestly, I've been too lazy. However! Today presented a perfect opportunity to share a story with you all that I think now is funny, but was really uncomfortable for me when it happened earlier.
So, as almost all of you know, there is very little that will make me uncomfortable, especially when talking with a complete stranger. That being said, I have to honestly say that never would I imagine the time for being so uncomfortable would present itself at the deli counter at Publix Supermarket.
See, I was running low on my proteins, so I went in to pick up some fresh cuts, eggs, fish and some salad.
I feel that when I say that my response to "how would you like your turkey?" to be "um... I don't know, sliced?" would be pretty regular for any of us. I mean, what kind of response do they want? Oh, please set your dial to a #3 please?
So after deciding that I should follow up my above response with something more guiding, like say, not thick but not shaved, I then proceeded to wait.
Up walks a lady, I don't know, in maybe her 50s? She instructs the young kid to slice it thin, but thicker than normal since she likes to roll the meat up and eat it.
She kind of looks at me and trying to just pass time I suggest: It's hard to ever really know what to say to them to that question huh...
She kinda smiles in agreement and took a few steps out of my vision, then all of a sudden BAM right back up near me! Thinking nothing of it, I look over to her and she's smiling and her delayed response:
"I always say, a little thicker than normal is a good thing, right?" *devilish smile*
My response was as follows:
I then proceeded to defend off all further delay thru means of question the evil delicatessen man asked me, refusing to take no to my answer of not wanting any cheeseeeeee!
On our first night in Portland we decided we wanted to nosh on some Thai food and found a spot walking distance to our hotel (of course, first we had to have a foiled attempt at finding pizza).
The spot we found is called Typhoon, and it seems to be a relatively medium sized chain in Oregon; site found here.
We ended up ordering some Penang Curry, fried rice, and Green Curry, and rather than ordering an appetizer I put in an order of spicy string beans, and they were awesomeeeeeeee. I knew I had to try my own version.
So I did! Sad news though -- I cooked them up late at night and just wanted to finish so I could shower and go to bed -- thus, no pictures. Nevertheless, heres the recipe:
Recipe: Spicy Green Beans
Follow these here steps:
- 4 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Sesame oil
- 4 tbsp Veggie oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (or light, your picks)
- 1.5lbs Green beans
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- Crushed red pepper flake (to taste)
- Toasted sesame seeds (to desire)
- Sriracha hot sauce (to taste)
- Start out by getting all your ingredients together
- Begin bringing a large pot of water to a boil
- Clean your green beans and mince your garlic and shallot
- Add green beans to boil and let boil for 3 minutes and prepare an ice bath
- Immediately remove and add to an ice bath, once cool stain to remove water
- Turn the stove to medium and in a large skillet or wok, add sesame seeds and toast them
- Add the veggie and sesame oil to the pan, and then add the shallot and garlic
- Once aromatic and softened, add in green beans, oyster sauce and soy sauce
- Toss everything around for 5 minutes or until heated and cooked through
- Add pepper and chili sauce to taste -- the flavor should be sweet mixed with heat, or just sweet -- not too salty
- Now om nom nom nom on them!
Cooking time (duration): 30
Diet type: Vegetarian
Meal type: supper
Culinary tradition: Thai
It's only obvious enough that while in Portland, you must do as the Portlanonianins or whatever they call themselves?
I was honestly a little adverse to trying Stepping Stone since I read so many 'mediocre' food reviews, and complaints upon the wait staff.
Well, they were pretty much all wrong -- at least, completely so compared to my experience.
We got to the cafe, wrote our name on the list, and proceeded to wait. Once our name was called, we were sat in a back room and our very friendly waiter showed up with some water and silverware.
After a few minutes of perusing the menu, we ordered and bombarded the waiter with an attack of questions, all of which he was happy to answer.
We decided upon the Smother B.A., the eggs benedict, the cinnamon bun french toast, and one bluberry mancake.
We had to go with at least one mancake -- my justification is this. I'm a man. I love being a man. I love cake. Therefor, based on all the math courses I've taken: love of being a man + love of cake = love of mancake!
The food all came out in a reasonable amount of time and all was very good.
The staff was really good at refilling my water glass, which since you don't know me, I need to let you know I put camels to shame and drain my glass the moment its refilled.
I'd definitely suggest checking out Stepping Stone Cafe!
On our third morning in Portland before we started our waterfall bike tour, we woke up early to get in line at Voodoo Donuts.
Fortunately, we got there when we did. As soon as we got there, the line continued to grow in an ever faster rate, and soon went from our 45 minute wait to at least an hour and a half, and then moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Once we got inside, we were highly saddened to learn the ever popular maple bar was gone (maple donut w/ crispy bacon on top ... mmmmmm). The girl behind the counter isnt super pleasant to deal with, but who cares? I just want donuts, not a relationship!
We made our best effort and ordered a Texas Challenge (giant glazed), Cock-n-Balls (Bavarian cream topped with chocolate), Old Dirty Bastard (raised yeast w/ chocolate icing covered in crushed oreos and peanut butter), two giant apple fritters, and some normal raised yeasts donuts.
The apple fritters were pretty good -- really large but could have used much more apple nugs in em.
The Texas Challenge was indeed a challenge. We never finished it, though its good -- honestly, how can you mess up a glazed donut (even tho its stupidly big)
The Old Dirty Bastard was yum yum good. Oreo? Peanut butter? Yes please!
The Cock-n-Balls was also a large donut. Tastes basically like an eclair ... with the icing in uh ... well, the cock ... and, the, um, the balls. Obvious, eh?
Its definitely a good donut -- people whine and complain on reviews that "they're too sweet". Well, no shit, genius. It's a damn DONUT! Since when do you go to a joint that has reviews saying "oooo these donuts are so bland ... mmmmmm yum" or "ya so this donut I got this morning tasted like licking a salt lick. You should DEFINITELY CHECK IT OUT!@$()@$*"
No. Its a DONUT! Its dough, SUGAR, and more variations of SUGAR.