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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Shrimp Ceviche

Ever since our honeymoon, B and I have been obsessed with ceviche.  It's so light, fresh and healthy.  I think I ordered it at least once a day on our honeymoon.  Blake's co-worker shared his favorite Peruvian recipe with us and I put my own spin on it.  Here you go, enjoy!

1 lb of raw shrimp- shelled and deviened
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice (you can just use all lime juice if you wnat)
1 garlic clove
1 small spicy pepper
1/4 tbsp ginger grated
1/2 small onion diced
2 tablespoon of cilantro
1 diced avocado

Bring water to boil and cook shrimp for 1 minute.  Cool, then mix together with remaining ingredients. 
Let sit for approx 30 minssit for a couple minutes. Add cilantro & avocado and serve. 

Next we are planning on trying it with raw fish! 

FYI -It's important to cook your shrimp so the juices don't turn it into a rubbery texture.

I think I owe you one more recipe this week, so stay tuned!


Menu Plan Monday

So sorry I was MIA last week!  Quite the week and it really flew by! :) 

I spent most of the week in Arizona for some business meetings.  I was able to reconnect with both sides of grandparents.  It was a sweet treat to be able to spend some quality time with them.  I've really missed being close to them geographically.  I was thankful for our time together. 

This week I've had the chance to stock up the fridge and cook some healthy and tasty meals for us.  Looking forward to a 'normal' week in town and a chance to get in the kitchen and come up with some tasty, spring-like dishes.

Saturday:  BBQ Ribs, Summer Salad & baked beans
Sunday:  Grilled trout, Zuchini & Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes
Monday:  BBQ Shrimp & Spring Salad
Tuesday:  Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans
Wednesday:  Chinese Chicken Salad
Thursday:  Grilled chicken, Procuitto wrapped Asparagus with Goat Cheese


Starting the Day

I've enjoyed the last two mornings seeing the sun come up.  I've been blessed by seeing God's beauty each morning and almost have forgotten how much I love mornings. It's a sweet time of day. 

I need to do a better job of taking in that special time of day since I work from home and usually don't take the time to enjoy it's blessings on a morning commute or some time to just simply pause instead of just leaving barely enough time to jump into my day. 

I love that newness that mornings offer.  Thank you Lord for allowing me to wake up today and that you renew me each day by your spirit!   

Psalm 5:3
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.


Menu Plan Monday

Once again, I'll be on the road this week.  A couple meal ideas for when I get back....

Asparagus, Chicken and Tortellini in a lemon tarragon sauce
Shrimp and Red Curry Risotto
Grilled Chicken with green beans and almonds


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Spring Quinoa with Shrimp

I really wanted to post about our favorite, and very healthy side dish, this week, but realized I posted about our Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" a while back.  If you are craving mashed potatoes and want to limit your carbs, this is a great way to go!

Since spring is around the corner I am always looking for ways for our meals to taste flavorful yet light.  I love this meal when I'm in a fix for something fast and fresh tasting and almost in just one pot.   The mint is somewhat suprising but really makes the dish come 'alive'.

Frozen Shrimp (enough for 2 ample portions)
2 C Quinoa
Olive Oil 2T
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 large chopped tomato
3 T chopped mint
1 cucumber peeled and diced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Defrost your uncooked shrimp while cooking your quinoa in a dutch oven.  Meanwhile, saute onion and then add garlic.  Once defrosted, cook shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Incorporate tomatoes and stir in cooked quinoa.  Add all other ingredients and season to taste.  Enjoy! 

I used the rest of the mint and lemon with some sliced cucumber in a pitcher of water for a refreshing treat for the week.


Kitchen Organization Tip

On of my favorite organizational tools in my kitchen is a pot rack we found at Ikea when we first moved in.  In our last house, we had tons of kitchen space, complete with pull out drawers that housed our pots and pans and their lids with ample space.  We have a little less space under our cooktop in our Texas house so we needed something so the lids wouldn't go flying every time we need one that's under the stack. 

I highly reccomend it - super affordable too!


Scenes from the Weekend: Part II Around Town

Saturday was an incredibly beautiful day.  It would have been insane to stay inside.  So we didn't. 

We woke up and went to the Henderson's to barrow (babysit) Charis for the morning.  We stopped at Mozart's for a latte and a breakfast taco by the lake.  Charis waved to all of the dogs on their morning outings and we enjoyed the breeze blowing off the lake.  One of those days where you never want Spring to end. 

Next we headed to a farmer's market at Barton Creek Mall.  It's a really great market full of unique finds and beautiful produce.  We snagged some blacked shrimp and salmon boudin sausage.  It sounded too good to pass up for dinner that night.  After dropping it off at the house, we headed down to Town Lake for a walk. 

Good thing Charis loves the stroller, because we walked for a long time!  We started off at South First and Riverside and walked East and then up through Travis Heights- checking out all of the amazing houses on the hill.  A great leg workout.  :)  We strolled by Hotel St. Cecelia and down South Congress on our way back. 

Only in Austin would you see this, mixed in with SXSW on a Saturday on South Congress....
I got to enjoy a great lunch with two of my dear college friends at Central Market.  It was so fun to be together.  It felt just like old times!  I loved the chance to catch up!  What a great Saturday blessing!

Blake had a great idea to ride our bikes down South Lamar to check out some of the thrift stores and local boutiques rather than hassle with traffic.  Again - a great leg workout!  We popped into a few that I had yet to check out.  We didn't take home any finds but it was great to see what was out there. 

On our way down Lamar we noticed that there was a camera crew and a shiny black suburban at the Gourdoughs trailer park.  We noticed a good looking dude with large and very white smile.  I think he might have been a host for some entertainment show or something like that - I skip out on shows like that so I really have no idea who he was.  A few seconds later Jake Gyllenhaal popped out of the suburban and sat down for an interview.  Like crazy tourists, we snapped a few photos on my iphone. :)  (I promise that's really him in the pic)

The rest of the evening we shopped for groceries and made a fantastic dinner and again enjoyed the weather, eating outside on the patio.  Our bodies were exhausted - I wonder how many calories we burned biking and walking!

Sunday AM we were sore but drug ourselves out of bed and headed to the Greenbelt for a hike.  We went to a part of the Greenbelt we hadn't been before and it was a great hike and so beautiful.  Here's a pic of a huge tree, part of the gorgeous scenery on the hike.  (Sorry for the ugly iphone pic, it's all we had with us)

Our weekend wrapped up with a great service at church and then a dinner to wind down and get ready for the week.  It was a fantastic weekend - I loved spending it with my hubby and getting some great one on one time together.  :) I hope it's just a beautiful next week!


Scenes from the Weekend: Part I SXSW

We had an awesome time enjoying our city this weekend.  The city has exploded with SXSW in town.  I think it nearly has doubled the city in size!  There is so much going on, so much hustle and bustle and so much energy.  It's pretty exciting!  We wanted to check it out on Friday night so we decided to get our workout in by jogging downtown and taking it all in. 

One of the coolest elements of South By are the pop ups - showcasing all of the new technology.  This is the Playstation pop up store.  The screens outside were huge.  Right across from the convention center, it really made a statement. 

Pepsi converted an empty parking lot into a huge party space full of food, drinks and live music.  The transformation was amazing.  It got you asking, what was there before?

This was once Max's Wine Dive and now has been converted into the CNN Grill exclusively for SXSW.  A stage and tour bus were outside.  I can't even believe the size of that sign - all just for 2 weeks!

The pop up Apple store was definately getting all of the attention.  The store popped up just in time for the ipad 2 to be released at 5pm.  The line wrapped around the building and down the block.  I can't believe how fast this store came together.  Rumor has it, they started loading merchandise in around noon to open doors at 5.  Insane!  We ran into Blake's good friend Adam, in from Cali.  Can't wait to hang out with them later in the week. :)

After dinner, we headed back home for a quiet dinner, grilling kabobs on the patio.  We then got away from the city and headed out 290 to the Nutty Brown Cafe to hear a great 80's band with some of Blake's co-workers.  It was a fun and chilly evening!  A nice escape from the craziness going on downtown!


Menu Plan Monday

Weekend Dinner:  Farmer's Market Seafood Sausage, Carmelized Onion & Pear Salad, Cous Cous
Monday:  Seared Ahi, Citrus Salad & Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday: Ceviche, Jicama Slaw & Cheese Quesadillas
Wednesday: Greek Chicken & Sliced Tomatoes w/ Feta & Balsalmic
Thursday: Garlic Almond Chicken, Sauteed Veggies
Friday: Date Night!


Food Review Times Two

I got the chance to hit up not one, but two new places in Austin.  Since you've probably seen Menu Plan Monday, you know that we don't eat out that much, but Wednesday was different! 

I met Kristin, a new friend from my Discipleship Group at Bouldin Creek Cafe.  Blake and I have been watching this place while it was under construction every time we drove up South First.  We were curious to see what would go into the space.  The Caffine Dealer sign is out front - I guess this popular spot moved to a new building.  
The space is so cool and has a great patio out front.  It doubles as a coffee house but also has great food.  I was a little bit suprised to find only vegetarian food but it did not disapoint.  We shared veggie fajitas and sweet potato tamales and they were both so good!  I was really satisfied too.  I might be making this my new office every once in a while!

Wednesday night was date night for us.  We've been trying to do a better job of sticking to our evenings out.  This week we tried The Backspace.  This spot is owned by the same people that own Parkside on 6th and is just around the corner from their first store.  It's actually unmarked, without a sign, and people are finding their way in just by word of mouth.  It's a really small spaace - only seats about 30 people, including the bar.  The menu is on the short side, but we were impressed by the quality of ingredients and the suprising flavor combinations. 
We shared the Octopus as an appetizer - drenched in a chilie & blood orange sauce and then shared the beet, fenel and citrus salad.  We started with only one pizza - Roasted Mushroom, Ricotta, Capers and Tomatoes but then decided it was too good to just stop at one and had the Fennel Sausage pizza as well.  The crust was really great.  Chewy but crisp at the same time.  I love the coal fire oven.  Yum! 

This is one that's worth checking out.  I'd stick to a week night if you don't want to wait since it is a small place.  Enjoy!


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Roasted Veggie Sandwiches

I went a little produce crazy this week during my weekly grocery trip.  I came home with a lot of fresh veggies to throw together some great veggie sandwiches. 
I think I've actually come up with enough satisfying veggie only meals to make Blake not want to eat tons and tons of ice cream after our meal each night!  Don't get me wrong, he still loves his ice cream, but the size of the bowl is not out of control.  He must be filling up without meat. :)

Here are my list of veggies that I used to pull together this sammy.  You really could use whatever you like/you have on hand.  I would recommend a hearty veggie like eggplant or zucchini as a base. 

1 Eggplant sliced - I used Chinese
1 Zucchini sliced (yellow or green)
1 large handful sliced portobellos or baby bella mushrooms
1/4 Red Onion sliced in rings
1 Cibatta Loaf
Sliced fresh mozzarella
Pesto or Hummus - as spread
Several Basil Leaves
1/2 Large tomato sliced
1 Handful of spinach

Slice veggies and drizzle in olive oil with salt and pepper.  Drizzle mushrooms with some balsamic vinegar and roast veggies (excluding tomatoes, basil and spinach) on cookie sheet at 400 for about 25 minutes or until fully cooked.  Slice cibatta in half and pull out extra bread inside loaf.  Broil after brushing with pesto or hummus and layering with cheese.  Load all your veggies on top of bread once crispy.  Top with basil, spinach and tomato. 

I served with some sweet potato slices that I roasted with my veggies (they need to cook a bit longer to get crisp). 

Hope you enjoy! 

Has anyone tried a winner winner chicken dinner recipe and had any luck out there?


Something to Look Forward To!

This spring we are going here.....

....and we couldn't be more excited!

To celebrate our one year anniversary, B and I will be traveling to St. Lucia for some relaxation on the beach!  It's so nice to have this to look forward to  in the next several weeks. 

We went the all-inclusive route to make sure that we really enjoy our trip.  We fell in love with all-inclusive on our honeymoon.  We can be tight-wads on vacation and tend to watch our pennies so paying upfront in order to be able to eat and drink what we want is certainly nice for us!  Really makes vacation feel like a vacation!

I really can't believe our anniversary is just a few weeks away!  Oh how time flies!


New Austin Eats & Drinks!

This week we had a chance to try a few new (to us) spots around town.  I love exploring new restaurants around town and this week's picks were great! 
Wednesday night's date night took us to a new Mexican food joint, Takoba, on the East side of 35.  Blake had been there before with some guys, during the weekend I kicked him out of the house for the Bachelorette Party.  The atmosphere was really great and they had a fabulous patio.  Would be a great spot for families too - there is a giant sandbox in the back.  Now that it's finally warmed up, we enjoyed sitting outside - even if the space heater was going.   I tried their mango-habenero margarita to start and we shared some chiviche.  It really inspired me to want to try to make my own - I'll keep you posted on that!  I had the fish tacos and Blake tried the chile relleno.  The chiviche was our favorite part!  
Friday Night we celebrate our friend's birthday at Lustre Pearl in the Rainey Street District.  We had yet to venture over to that part of town and sad that we haven't been yet.  We loved the vibe of all of the laid back bars.  Again, great patio.  There seems to be a theme here with this wonderful weather. Definitely a cool scene - but not too cool, if you know what I mean.  We can't wait to check out Clive - another bar on the street.  We might be hitting that up this week for date night. :)
Saturday Night we were pooped after a day of moving and saying goodbye to some friends.  We had an empty fridge and pantry and I wasn't really up for cooking - so we decided to go out.  We thought we "earned" a burger as a reward for our hard work all day so we tried out Hopdoddy on South Congress.  Hopdoddy is fairly new and recently replaced a grocery type market.  It was packed that night with the line nearly out the door.  Somehow, we snagged 2 seats at the bar and avoided the line.  Blake had the Magic Shroom Burger and I had the Greek Burger (lamb, yum).  We also indulged in some chili cheese fries and a beer.  Totally not what I expected for chili cheese fries but they hit the spot. 

Great new finds for us!  We're excited to keep exploring our new city.  If you're from Austin or love to visit, what are your favorite restaurants, coffee shops or bars?  Would love some recommendations!


Menu Plan Monday

Sunday:  Steam Artichoke, Quinoa with Shrimp, Tomato, Onion, Cucumber, Lemon and Mint

Monday:  Girls night out! :)

Tuesday:  Flank Steak, Grilled Asparagus and Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Wednesday:  Date night!

Thursday:  Taco Salad w/ Ground Turkey

Friday:  Chicken Kabobs and Greek Salad


Mr. & Mrs. Savage!

Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs Savage!
This weekend Joe and Catherine tied the knot in Austin! She was such a beautiful bride! It was an honor to stand up by her side and watch her make commitments for life to Joe.

We had such a fun weekend with all of the wedding festivities.  The rehearsal dinner was a fabulous meal at Z Tejas, an Austin favorite.  Afterward, the girls all headed back to the hotel and had some girl time together.  We stayed at the new AT&T Conference Center on campus.  Such an awesome hotel.  Their suite overlooked both the Capitol and the Tower!  The next morning we got up and had breakfast in the suite and started our hair and make up appointments.  It was such a relaxing day of prepping together before we headed to the venue for pictures before the ceremony. 

The Allan House was beautiful!  They had an amazing tent that wrapped around the house and even had a lit tree running through it.  Everything came together so well! 
Beautiful lighting that hung from the giant tent that wrapped around the Alan House
My sharply dressed man :)
Going to weddings is such a blessing and a wonderful reminder of the commitments that B and I made almost a year ago!  I love the idea of growing in oneness together.  That was a theme that struck my heart this weekend. 

Congrats to Catherine & Joe!  We are so happy for you.  Hoping you have a wonderful honeymoon in Costa Rica!!


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Over the weekend, we met Paul and Whit for lunch at Pei Wei for a really nice afternoon of catching up.  I got inspired to try out making our own version of their lettuce wraps at home this week!  I started with a recipe that I googled and ended up with something a little different, but we loved it!  It was my first time using Tofu and it was quite yummy.  I'm just not sure what to do with the left overs - any suggestions?

The ingredients look a bit intimidating - but this was actually a really fast meal to throw together and overall, fairly healthy!

2 Chicken breasts - diced
7-8 Crimini mushrooms - diced
1 can of water chestnuts - diced
1 tablespoon of oil
3 cloves garlic pressed
4 tablespoons of diced green scallions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup diced tofu


Heat large with oil.  Add garlic for 5-10 seconds .  Add minced chicken and sear, then add mushrooms and water chestnuts.  Add 2/3 of sauce (see below), stir and incorporate. Add green scallions, cilantro and tofu.

1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of oyster sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp of cayane pepper (if you like it hot) - I also added some siracha
1/4 cup of cooking rice wine
T of sugar
Grated ginger to taste

Heat mixture at a low boil for about 5 mins.
Serve chicken mixture over iceberg lettuce and enjoy! 

I also served some edemame on the side and some miso soup to round out the meal.  It was very tasty!
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