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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tom Kha Gai or Curry Laksa (sort of...maybe??)

So, this past November, one of my best friends and I went to Charleston for a girls getaway, and we ate at so many fabulous places. But one in particular stood out to us, and it was a Thai restaurant on King Street called CO. Here's a link with info on their restaurant and locations:

I had their Curry Laksa, and have not stopped thinking about it since! I have never cooked with curry or any Asian foods, really, so I was a little intimidated to try this, but went on the hunt on Pinterest to find a recipe that looked similar. Here's what I found and used as my inspiration for the variation I ended up making:

So, a little disclaimer, I have no idea if this is authentic or even what it should really be called..I just know it is an amazing flavor experience and I want it not at least once a week!! I've made this twice and tweaked it the second time base on my experience with the ingredients and learning how flavorful they are (or aren't) and adjusting it to my taste. Here's my recipe, based on the ingredients I had on hand and purchased to try to make it as similar to the restaurant dish as I could remember:

3 Tbsp Olive Oil for sauteing (I used a cilantro and roasted onion flavor infused Olive Oil, because that's what I had on hand)
2-3 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Tbsp Lemongrass paste (I found this in the produce section, they didn't have fresh lemongrass)
1 knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Tsp minced roasted garlic (I used the kind in the jar)
1 jar Thai Chili Sauce (Daring Gourmet called for 2 Thai Chilies, I couldn't find those)
3 cups chicken stock (I used Kirkland brand from Costco)
3 cups coconut milk (the recipe on daring gourmet calls for unsweetened, and that's what I used)
3 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 bunch bok choy, washed and cut away from the base
2 Tbsp dried basil, or several leaves of fresh basil, chopped
2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
2-3 packages of refrigerated pad thai noodles

In large stock pot or soup pan, heat Olive Oil. Saute red curry paste, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Add chili sauce, chicken stock and coconut milk, stirring well until thick cream from coconut milk is dissolved and smooth. Add lime juice, fish sauce, mushrooms, bok choy and basil. Bring to a simmer and cover, cooking over medium heat, and stirring occasionally, until bok choy is tender, 25-30 minutes.
Add chicken, shrimp, and noodles, cover and cook another 3-5 minutes, until shrimp are pink and cooked and chicken and noodles are heated through. Season with soy sauce as desired. ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Soup for breakfast!

At 8am this morning, I wanted soup. Not canned soup, but a big pot of steamy, delicious, creamy soup! So I took a gander at what I had on hand and this is what I came up with:

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Soup

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1 10oz package frozen spinach
1 1.6oz package McCormick's Sweet Basil and Oregano Bruschetta Chicken seasoning mix
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
28oz water or chicken broth
1 20oz package refridgerated herb chicken tortellini
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups heavy whipping cream

In large stockpot, melt butter. Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add spinach and seasoning. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes until spinach loosens (if you don't have time to let it thaw beforehand). Add crushed tomatoes and water or broth. Bring to a simmer and add tortellini and Parmesan. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until tortellini is cooked. Turn off heat and add whipping cream, stirring well. Serve with some beautiful crusty bread! So easy and delicious!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beachbody? I just want a Fit-body......

Have you heard about it?? It's Chalene Johnson's newest program, all low impact, that combines yoga and pilates for an intense strength building workout. It's amazing!! I am loving my results, and they are being noticed! 

I signed up as an Independent Beachbody coach about 7 weeks ago, initially to get the discount, with zero intention of ever trying to grow it as a business. Then I got the Piyo program and started it, along with Shakeology, their meal replacement program. And I'm loving it! 

A little background on me- aside from my marriage, my career, (and that one year shopping fast I did a couple years ago) I really stink at starting something and keeping it up. But Piyo has been different for me. I really think part of it has to do with the fact that I also was studying Proverbs at the same time that I started, and all these scriptures on self discipline, self control, and seeking wisdom jumped out at me, and then of course I got to chapter 31, which is all about the way a wife/mother is supposed to be and the part about being clothed in strength and dignity really jumped out at me. I know strength is not just physical, but I do believe that the physical health of a wife and mother is extremely important and taking care of myself has not always been a top priority. Which is part of why I've started multiple workout programs and not stuck with them, I didn't make them a priority. I didn't make my health a priority. But now I am seeing that by making my health and fitness a priority, I am not only setting an example for my family, but I'm making an investment in my future health so that I can be around longer to be a part of my children's lives, and hopefully their children one day. Piyo has me feeling stronger, and leaner. The Shakeology is amazing, and so full of nutrients. My hair and nails are looking awesome. My scripture encouragement through all of this is Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

So, I decided that by "going public" as a coach, I would be keeping myself accountable. People know I'm doing this, either because they've noticed the physical change in me and asked what I'm doing, or because they've heard me talking about it. They know I've made a commitment. A commitment that I'm taking as seriously as my vows, as my job as a mother, and as my career. I run a business full time from home that takes up a ton of my time, and it wears me down. I need the endurance and stamina that I'm getting from working out and eating right to be the best wife, mother, and business owner that I can be. To be the best ME that I can be. Maybe I'll feel confident enough to post some before/after pictures soon. 

What about you? Can I help you be a better, stronger you physically? Check out all the programs that Beachbody has to offer by going to my website, They really have something for everyone, from the beginner to the more advanced. Maybe you've just had a baby, and want to get back your pre-pregnancy figure. Or maybe you just want to hit your forties in the best shape you've ever been in (my personal goal!) Either way, I would love to help you find the right fit for your lifestyle, and help you make your health and fitness a priority in your life! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

A letter to my son on his 13th birthday....

My sweet boy, I can't believe you are turning 13! I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. The labor pains began and did not stop! It took forever for you to be born, I was exhausted and to the point of giving up. I found the energy to try to push one more time and finally you were born. All 8lbs 14oz of you! As exhausted as I was, all of that faded away the moment I laid eyes on you, my beautiful son. You had wild hair and the biggest brown eyes. The most precious thing I had ever seen. And now you are turning 13! You are taller than me and turning into such a handsome young man. As you begin this journey through your teenage years, I feel I need to tell you a few things.
(all photos featured in this post are by

#1-Daddy and I love you so very much! There are going to be times that you think we must hate you, but please remember that we are your parents first and that sometimes we have to make difficult decisions that make it seem otherwise. I promise, our love for you is always our motivation in every prayer-filled decision. When we say no to things others your age are getting to do, there is a good reason.

#2-Friends are going to come and go, but your family is always going to be constant. In your 13 years, you have lived in 2 countries, 3 states, and lots of houses! You've gone to 4 different schools. You have had so many friends, but the one thing that has remained the same is the people in the place you come home to each day. We will always be here for you.

#3-Being a teenager is going to suck. There will be days that life is going to be awesome, but there will be many that it seems the world is against you. In those days, I want you to remember, Daddy and I are on your team. Always. No matter what. Take it slow, you don't have to grow up overnight.

#4-Pray and read your Bible. Please, start and end and live your days in prayer. Make your decisions through prayer. Know that you are going to make mistakes (we all do!), but if you start out in prayer, there will be fewer of those mistakes. Ask God for wisdom and protection, and know that Daddy and I are praying for these things for you as well. Study your Bible, use it as the guide to life. Stay involved in church and youth group.

#5-Choose your friends wisely, but most important, be a great friend to others. Be the person that others know they can count on and trust. Give everyone a chance, and treat people with respect.

#6-Girls. As much as I'm not ready for this, there's going to be girls in your life. Choose the ones that are special to you wisely. Pray for them. Treat them with respect, and respect yourself. Respect the wife that you are going to have one day, even though you may not know her yet. Respect the fact that the girl you might date could be someone else's wife one day, and until then she belongs to the Lord, not to you. Treat every girl as God's property. **Treat yourself as God's property!** Know that you can trust your parents when they give you advice in this area.

#7-Be a good big brother. Your little sister looks up to you, and you have a big responsibility as her brother. Set a good example, admit when you make mistakes, and be a friend to her. She is going to be someone that you will go to when you can't come to me and Daddy. Treasure that relationship and protect it.

#8-Be responsible. Study and do your chores. Work hard for the things you want. Life doesn't hand you anything, you have to earn it and being responsible is the first step to reaching your goals.

There are so many things that we will encounter over your journey through your teenage years. We are so proud of you, and love you so much!! I can't believe we are here at 13!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spicy Edamame

What? I haven't been around in a while? I know...such is life, it's been crazy. Fast forward...

Richard and I just got back from a trip to Vegas where we planned our whole trip around where we were going to eat each meal. Seriously. We enjoyed delicious meals at Emeril Lagasse's Stadium restaurant, Texas de Brazil, Yard House, to name a few. Our first meal was at a place right outside our timeshare called Grind Burger Bar & Lounge. I had a huge salad and Richard had a burger, but the real star of the meal was our appetizer, the edamame. Here's a picture of it from their website:

Think regular salted edamame with a kick. They sauté garlic and crushed red pepper in olive oil and drizzle it over the edamame with a sprinkle of parmesan.
Delicious!!! I even re-created this at home for some friends and they devoured it. Super easy and lots of flavor.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I've the last 12 months.

We changed out our closets this week. You know, that whole transition from spring/summer clothes to the fall/winter ones that it isn't quite cold enough to wear yet, but you are afraid of an artic blast pressing it's way through the South so unseasonably, and being caught with nothing warm to put on? It was this transition last year that convicted me to begin my 12 month shopping fast. This means...I have 3 weeks left of my fast. It ends October 11th.
I am feeling many emotions..relief...pride...guilt...fear...anxiousness...impatience...I am relieved and ready for this to be over..but at the same time, I'm scared to not have that discipline anymore. I don't want to return to being a shopaholic!! Now, I am looking forward to buying myself a few new essentials and I have my eye on a pair of new boots. But I want to stay focused and maintain my attitude of shopping for necessary items as opposed to shopping for wants. I am celebrating with a couple of friends by going to Atlanta for a shopping weekend in November, and I'm limiting what I can buy for myself-it will mostly be a Christmas gift shopping experience.
In the midst of this fast, my husband and I have refocused our budget (we did Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace back in the spring) and there is a small amount in there for shopping. I have two children that are growing at a ridiculous pace, I can't buy my son more than a couple of items of clothing at a time because he outgrows them too quickly. Most of that shopping budget is directed towards keeping them covered.
Last year, when I set this goal for myself, I also wanted to downsize my wardrobe. I got rid of about 3 large trashbags of clothes last fall. All in great shape, and was able to donate them to a women's shelter. This year, as I went through the spring/summer things that I was taking out of my closet, and the fall/winter things I was putting in, I got rid of anything that I didn't wear this past year, which happened to be quite a bit. Things that are in great shape, but not "my shape" I piled into two large boxes and I'm delivering them to a new home today. Things that were just ratted out I threw away. My closet is still full of things! I am not in NEED of anything other than some new long sleeve t-shirts.
I want to keep that focus and be a good example to my children of knowing the difference between need and want. I want to continue to be thankful for the things that I have, and not search for happiness in some new trendy item. This whole thing has kind of been like hitting the reset button on my outlook of what is important and meaningful in my life, and while I am really going to enjoy getting a new pair of life is not going to end if I don't buy them. And chances are, if I don't see some that I just fall in love with..I will talk myself out of buying them. I don't want to view it as a reward. The reward I have recieved from this is the way God has worked in my life over the last 12 months. The way He has worked on my patience, my self image, my gratitude for the blessings in my life, the way I view what is a blessing...I am proud of myself, but in many ways, I'm still ashamed of what led me to do this in the first place. It's somewhat embarassing to admit to being a materialistic person!!! And I know that I still have some materialistic roots in my being. It is a work in progress, and while I feel like I have made much progress..there is still so much room for growth. So, these next few weeks, I am going to be praying steadfastly for God to really instill the things I have learned over the last year so that when the calendar flips to October 11th, and I know Satan is going to be waiting for me (he has been taunting me the whole last year), I will be able to look him in the face and tell him to back off. Will you all say it with me?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Eleven years ago today, September 10th, 2001,  my son was about 8 months old. We were gearing up for my husband's first deployment away from us in his military career. He was scheduled to leave on September 20th.  I was nervous about the separation and how it would effect each of the three of us, but I was relieved that we were living at home (Louisiana) at the time, and my family was close by to help support us. The word "terrorist" and "terrorist attack" were not things that consumed my thoughts or dictated how I planned ahead for trips. I knew they existed, but they seemed like such a foreign concept. Those kind of things just didn't happen on our soil. I thought of them much like people think of any other tragedy they hear about, as something that happened to other people. I went to bed that night counting the days that we had left before Richard was scheduled to leave and thinking about the things we had left to tend to before that day arrived. The next morning arrived and our schedule was as usual. I was a stay at home mom at the time, and went about tending to Brian and our normal morning routine. I fed him breakfast and let him play for a while, I think I was reading a book while he played. It came time for his morning nap, and just as I was laying him down in his crib the phone rang. Richard was on the other end and he asked if I was watching the news. I turned it on while he filled me in that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. It didn't make sense to me, I couldn't process what was happening..then as we were on the phone talking and watching the news, the second plane hit. We saw it hit. Richard said "I have to go, this is a terrorist attack." I remember just standing there with the phone in my hand staring at the TV and trying to understand. The next few hours are a blur and kind of surreal. We were living on base at Barksdale AFB then, and the base was immediately locked down. You couldn't get on or off the base. I was on the phone with my parents filling them in, they didn't have TV's at their workplace. I called my oldest sister, a high school teacher, and told her to get a TV in her room. And then I remember thinking about the fact that Richard was supposed to leave in a few days. How the idea of that had all ready been scary, but now it was...terrifying. I remember seeing the smoke and ash covered faces of people that had made it out of the building. Seeing those that were stuck in the building that felt they had no other choice but to jump. The tears coming down faces. The faces that were obviously in shock. Hearing about the plane that hit the Pentagon. Hearing about the plane that crashed in that field..and everyone on board dying. My son waking up from his nap and wondering what kind of world he had just woken up to..and realizing he would never know anything different. Those next months went by slowly, as we sent Richard off to his deployment and then welcomed him back home. Shortly after, we found out we were moving to England, and while I was excited about the opportunity ahead of us, I was terrified of the unknowns and what could happen. There were two terrorist attacks on the tube in London while we lived there. A friend and I went to London between the two bombings. We rode on the tube and I remember looking at anyone with any bag bigger than a lunchsack with fear and suspicion. My daughter was born there in 2004. Neither of my children, as so many others, will know a world where 09/11 doesn't have the terrible memories that it does now. Will it end up being a memory like Pearl Harbor is to those who didn't live through it? Will complacency take over again? Has it all ready? Our world is forever changed. The lives taken that day will never be forgotten by those of us that witnessed the events unfold. The victims and their families are forever in our thoughts and prayers.
Never forget.