O.K. so maybe I’m not literally scurrying around the house trying to find it like I am my debit card for the fortieth time this week. I mean honestly I feel like I have a pretty great relationship with God. Like any relationship though, it could probably benefit from a little nurturing, a little more give and little less take maybe. The bible verses and devotionals I once used in my twenties no longer apply or speak to my heart. Being a parent and an adult has brought about new challenges and new reasons to search for guidance from the word.
Recently I find myself starting a devotional series or book with great enthusiasm thinking that this will definitely be the one that gets me through this hard time! Yet I always find myself bored and lost somewhere towards the middle and then trudge along to the end so I wont be a quitter. An unfinished book would haunt me to my grave. I am often left thinking that there has to be more to my relationship with God then this. Is it possible He and I are going through a rough patch and we are sitting in silence waiting for the other one to apologize first? Luckily God is not childish or vindictive like myself so NO I’m pretty sure that is not what is happening, and although it pains me to say it I know it is most definitely me and not him.
Then it hit me like a lightning bolt through the heart and the head for that matter. I was watching a sermon on T.V. last week and it was speaking directly to me. Like tears streaming down my face holy moly they are talking to me kind of speaking. She was talking about how we always search the word when we need Gods help. Guilty. How we often sit tear stained on our bathroom floor crying out for God to just speak to us. kind of pathetic but also super Guilty. When really what God wants us to do is continually search for him. like everyday? Yes! Search him out all day, everyday, with every little struggle and praise him with every tiny achievement. He doesn’t want us to wait until our house is being foreclosed on or we get a huge promotion to hear from us. In that moment I realized that I had become that family member you only see at weddings and funerals and that’s not who I want to be when it comes to God.
Wow, so like I said it hit me like a bag of rocks because I work hard at my relationships these days. I want to be close to my boyfriend, son, parents, siblings, friends, and in-laws. I work harder then I have ever worked in past years to make everyone feel loved and appreciated. I have even begun to work hard on my relationship with myself, so that I can truly be happy with the woman I am. So why have I not worked this hard at my relationship with God? It is simple, I wanted him to do all of the work and for me to reap the benefits. ugh I cannot believe I just typed that out loud but it’s the truth. I have been in enough bad relationships to understand that the hard work and love has to be equal. Now your thinking, does this girl thinks she can be equal with God? Absolutely not, but if I strive to love God as much as he loves me maybe I can close the gap just a little.
Did you know your bible has an appendix? Well I mean I know you probably know it had one but do you ever use it? I use the appendix in my cookbook at least twice a day to look up recipes for ingredients that need to be used immediately. currently there are pears that are about to grow other life forms on the counter. So for the last week I have left my bible out and anytime I hit a bump in my day I look up what I’m struggling with in the handy dandy appendix. Every time it is like the word is speaking to me because it knows exactly what I am struggling with. I may have to try out a few different pages to find just the right message but even flipping around through the bible makes my stress level decrease and whatever is RUINING my day seem a little less intense. Seriously you catch a glimpse of Job while flipping around and those dishes don’t quite seem to be life altering anymore.
This week I have been happier and more ready to face each day knowing I have this growing relationship with God to help me thru anything. This in turn makes me work harder for my family, a better mom who doesn’t let the screaming baby ruin her day, and I’m sure if you ask my boyfriend I’m also much more fun to be around.
So in short, Use the appendix in your bible so that the word speaks to you. Also use the appendix in your cookbook to help use up ingredients to avoid waste and to help your creativity in the kitchen blossom.
Work hard on your relationships and don’t forget about the most important one like I did.
Now to share with you an amazing recipe I made while trying to use up ingredients. I wanted to make kale soup but once I found the recipe I realized I didn’t have all of the ingredients and with our weekly grocery budget of $50.00 already spent I invented this instead. Also this is a one pan meal which I love! We both ate this for dinner and then for lunch the next day (my sister even ate some of mine while we were hanging out).
I’m going to call this Spicy Kale & Sausage Pasta
3.57/4 = .90 cents a portion! even if you have to buy all of the vegetables this is still an extremely frugal and delicious meal and with over four cups of veggies each serving has over a cup which makes this recipe a double win.
1 tablespoon of olive oil – .19
One Large Onion diced – .15
(I used yellow since we got them from the farmers market for $1.50 for a bag of 10. If you use white it would probably end up a little sweeter and if you use red it will end up with a stronger onion flavor which I love but sadly my breastfeeding baby does not)
2 cloves of garlic diced – .20
2 cups of Kale chopped – from the garden FREE
( I will have to figure out a garden cost for ingredients but right now we will say free because I love the word FREE)
(You could use any green you like spinach, chard, beet tops. The green adds a beautiful color and of course gives us a dose of our veggies which makes this mama happy)
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved – from the garden FREE
(you could use any diced tomatoes, beefsteak, Roma, even canned. beware with the canned tomatoes though as some already have a salty flavor and could end up making this sausage cheesy dish overly salty.)
2 1/2 cups broth – FREE
(I used Turkey broth I made from the thanksgiving turkey so this was also FREE you can use whatever broth you like vegetable, chicken, or beef)
(Try making your own broth its easier then you think and most of the time costs little to nothing. I freeze broths for later use and find the flavor to be way better then store bought. Also its nice to know that one less item came in a package with unidentified ingredients)
1 dinner sausage cut into 1/2 inch thick spheres – 2.05
(I used an oscar meyer select spicy beef dinner sausage that were BOGO for 5.59 I had two .75 cent off coupons so I bought both for 4.09/2 = 2.05)
1 Jalapeño diced – from the garden FREE
1/2 Bell pepper diced – from the garden FREE
1/2 of a box of uncooked pasta – .40
(I used a gluten free Penne that was on sale BOGO 2.59 and I had a dollar off two coupon making two boxes 1.59/4 = .40 per half box)
1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded. – .58
( I used Kraft finely shredded mozzarella on sale BOGO at $4.29 plus I had 2 $1.00 off coupons so both 2 cup bags cost us 2.29/4 = .58 a cup
(you could really use any cheese you had on hand. Cheddar would add a nice zip, Swiss could add a sweet nuttiness and pepper jack for those of you who crave more spice in your life.)
Heat up the oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño and stir occasionally until soft.
add the sausage and half of the tomatoes (one cup) to the pan and continue cooking until the sausage is browned or the skin has gotten crispy and the sausage is hot all the way thru (most sausage is fully cooked so don’t dry it out by over cooking.)
add the broth and the pasta (remember we don’t want to much liquid left over so don’t freak out if all the pasta isn’t completely covered) bring to a boil while stirring and then back down to low.
cover it and let it sit for 8 minutes stirring once about halfway thru to switch the pasta from the bottom of the pan (where the pasta is probably done) to the top (where the pasta might not be done as quick) the pasta on top is cooking with the steam so try not to open it a million times. I’m so guilty of this.
once the pasta is tender (maybe a little al dente which we love) add 1 1/2 cups of the kale and stir until the leaves are wilted (this happens within a couple minutes so don’t walk away for to long)
remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. as it melts it just combines all of the ingredients and it makes it all creamy and gooey. YUM!
Salt and pepper to taste*
garnish with the rest of the fresh tomatoes and kale. This adds a a nice texture that most pasta dishes are missing and lets me squeeze a few more veggies in so we feel full without the bloat.
You could also squeeze half of a lemon on top for a little bite of acidity. ( I didn’t have one or I would have)
*Salt and pepper to taste (what does that even mean?)
Basically we all have different palettes for many different reasons, culinary upbringing, culture, even where you live effects how you like to eat. When a recipe says “to taste” it might mean the dish doesn’t actually need any salt or pepper but if you like your food extra peppery you might have to add a lot to make it right for you. Don’t get to hung up on what the recipe says to add or omit. I make adjustments constantly and make it right for my family because in the end they are the only ones I’m trying to impress.
(Make sure to taste as you go to avoid over/under seasoning. Also with the exception of seasoning meat, wait until the end to add any salt as the cooking process adds so much flavor you might find you don’t need any at all!)