Thankful

This morning I woke up sick, disoriented and out of it. And as Joel and I took the normal drive to drop him off at work, my heart became full. It’s crisp outside – Oregon did not delay the start of Fall. The streets are damp but the sun is out making the streets bright. And as I sit here drinking my pumpkin spice coffee, I am overwhelmed by all the things in my life to be thankful for. I love this season. I’m thankful for a season that allows me to sip on pumpkin drinks and cozy up under blankets. I’m thankful we have a home – even though it is not perfectly decorated – it keeps us warm and gives us a place to rest and relax. I have a wonderful husband who takes care of me and loves me even when that’s not an easy task. We are able to eat throughout the day. Even though sometimes it seems like money is tight, we are still able to fill our bellies. I’m thankful for the church we’ve found – for the vision they have and that we get to be a part of. I’m thankful for the connections we’re making. It has been a slow process but we are able to greet people at church because we know their name and they know ours. I’m thankful for this move and how it’s changing us and challenging us. And I’m thankful for our family, for supporting us even when it’s hard and we miss each other. There are so many reason for us to be joyful and on a regular basis, I forget. I don’t acknowledge the things we have and I just complain about the things we don’t have. I hope you are reminded today to be thankful for the things in your life even if times are tough or you’ve lost hope. There is a plan for you. And that plan is divine and has a great purpose.

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Adventures In Cooking, Part 1

Blogging recipes is probably one of the hardest things. First, I am a baker. It’s much more relaxing and comes a lot easier to me than cooking. When I cook, I do not have everything organized or ready to go. For instance, the other night I made Spinach Artichoke Pasta and as I started making it, I was like “Crap! I have to mince the garlic” Then I would follow a couple steps and “Crap! I have to grate the cheese!” Running all over my kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off.

I do have to say, I’ve had some fairly successful attempts at cooking. Here are some of the recipes I’ve tried from Pinterest and my thoughts about them (click the picture to go to recipe):
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One Pot Pasta – This was SO good and SO easy! Throw everything in a pot and you’ve got dinner! It definitely is a twist on pasta and just as easy as heating up pasta and red sauce. According to the picture, the pasta is supposed to soak up the liquid, mine did not. So I just fished the pasta out with tongs – still good.

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Spaghetti with Garlic and Red Pepper – This was VERY garlicy. I could not get the garlic out of my mouth after I ate it. I probably wouldn’t make this again because of that. But it was easy and different than regular pasta.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup – This was good. I didn’t feel as insane making this as I did some other meals. This recipe calls for some weird spices which I didn’t add (nutmeg and cardamon) and it was still really good.  I also used the Colby Jack not the Velveeta alternative. And I did not use hot sauce. Next time I make this, I’ll probably use an extra sharp cheddar so it has a little more flavor.

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta – The process of making this was chaotic. And to anyone who decides to make it – make sure you have everything measure/prepared BEFORE making it! Maybe that’s common knowledge but to anyone who is new at cooking like me…there ya go.

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Parmesan Garlic Baked Fries – These were reallly goooood! They didn’t all turn out AS crunchy as I would’ve liked but they were still really good.  The only prep is soaking the slices of potato before baking them. It felt like I couldn’t really mess these up. Tasty little guys!

*All the recipes I share will be chicken free – since Joel is allergic. I replace all chicken broth with vegetable broth.

BIG EXCITING NEWS!!

Wow, so I am really bad at big announcements…sooooo….here we go. We’re moving! Joel and I are going to move to Beaverton, OR! And WE ARE SO EXCITED!

We first had a conversation about the sense of adventure in our lives. Both growing up in San Diego, we started to feel like we hadn’t experienced much in our lives.

For me, I grew up going to every school that was close to my house. That was not the way I had intended for it to be. I wanted to go away after high school. I saw my older sister enjoying her time up in Orange County and wanted to do the same. I wanted adventure.  In retrospect, I’m glad that didn’t happen because if I had gone away for college, I wouldn’t have met Joel.

For Joel, he grew up in San Diego and only went off to Bethany for one semester of college. He came back and has been in San Diego ever since.

We want stories. We want adventure. So when it seemed that opportunities here weren’t really working out, and I was finishing school, we looked at each other and said “Let’s see what happens.”

We knew we wanted to move somewhere with family. We knew we wanted to stay on the west coast. I had a lot of excitement about Oregon where my Aunt, Uncle and cousins live.  Joel checked the job listings, and there it was “Assistant Manager” in Beaverton, OR. Beaverton is the exact town where my family lives.

He applied and within a week was offered the position. It felt so clear. This is where we are supposed to go.

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SO on May 20th, just days after graduation, we are driving up to Oregon. We’ll be living in Beaverton which is just west of Portland. We are so excited and are completely blessed with supportive and loving friends and family.  If you’re ever in the area, you’re welcome to stay at Hotel Del Smith. Don’t worry, though, I’ll keep you updated on our lives, DIY projects, recipes, etc.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Buying a New Couch

I have been wanting to buy a new couch since, well…Joel and I got married.  His parents graciously have let us use a couch that was sitting in his cousin’s garage. But, as great as that is, I’ve been looking for something new. I feel like it is the hardest thing ever especially because Joel and I don’t have $2,000 to spend on a new couch. The budget is possible but it just takes a LOT of searching.

My idea of the perfect couch has made quite the progression. First, I wanted something like this guy here:

This, however, was out of our budget SO I have been searching (what feels like) the entire internet for something similar.

That’s when I found this guy:

Better price, a similar shape…but NOW I want something that LOOKS comfortable. I’m not entirely sure what that looks like but here are some ideas…

Maybe one of these days, we will actually purchase a new couch but until then I will scour the internet for options!

Here are some things I have learned about couch buying thus far:

  1. Colors are not always as depicted online. For instance, I saw this one sofa in this yellowy color – it looked mustard – and I thought, “Hey, that could be cool.” I went to the store and I wanted to rip my eyeballs out because it was kinda green and disgusting and NOTHING like the picture.
  2. Always SIT on the sofas! I kept looking at some of my favorite online sites (like Joss and Main) thinking I might be able to find a sofa. But after going to sit on a few that I saw online, I learned not all sofas are comfortable!
  3. It’s important to see the fabric in person. There was another sofa I saw online that I wanted to look at in person. When I did, the fabric was stripy and weird, and not nearly as soft as I wanted the fabric to be.
  4. Ask about warranties or return policies. What happens if the frame breaks? Or the fabric tears? Or something mysteriously goes wrong?
  5. Hidden fees! Some places have their sofas on location in the stock room and you can carry them out of the store. Other places require you to pay a delivery fee because they are having the items shipped down from a warehouse outside of the store. *This is not really a hidden fee BUT rather something you want to be aware of when purchasing a couch.

I would love to see your favorite couch – if you’d like, post a picture of or link to your dream couch in the comments section!

Food For Two

One of the biggest challenges after getting married is grocery shopping. I have figured out a few things that last several months.

1. Bread products spoil.

2. Vegetables spoil.

3. Fruits spoil.

4. Pretty much everything spoils before we can eat it.

Joel and I don’t spend a whole lot of time eating at home. We are often with friends or family and can last nearly 3 weeks before going grocery shopping. So I’ve learned a few tricks to make food last:

1. The FREEZER is my best friend. Anything I can buy frozen or cook and freeze will give me the most flexibility.  Since a lot of food is sold for more than 2 people, you can cook food then stick it in the freezer to use later. We freeze our bread because we can’t go through it fast enough before it molds.  By freezing it (vs. refrigerating it), it will keep the soft texture when it defrosts which is awesome.

2. Dry goods. These things are great to keep handy. Minute Rice or quinoa is a great side to any dish – plus there are a lot of fun recipes on Pinterest!

3. Canned/Jarred food –  I don’t buy a lot of canned goods but there are some nice things to have on handy – tomato sauce, beans, jars of spaghetti sauce, vegetable broth, etc. (I have great recipes with these items I will share later).

Grocery shopping and keeping a full pantry can be very frustrating at first. It took a lot of adjustment to figure out what we eat, what we don’t eat, what we go through quickly and what we go through slowly.

I would love to hear some other advice on food for two! Leave your advice in a comment! 🙂