Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fajitas Night!

Since John had a business trip in Orlando, we took the opportunity to make it a long weekend and visit family. This weekend was a lot of fun, including catching up with friends and spending a day at Universal/Islands of Adventure! I am also using this time to meet with the company down here that is helping design the website for my new company. 

Due to our busy yet fun schedules, today's post is a quick recipe of a meal John and I had recently: Fajitas!

Steak Fajitas and Guacamole

Serves 4
1 pound of skirt or flank steak
1 large bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced or diced
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce

Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 avocado
1/2 red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tomato, chopped
Ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
Corn chips

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and blend together in a food processor. Place steak in a freezer bag and pour marinade ingredients over it. Keep refrigerated for two hours.
  2. To prepare guacamole, remove seed and peel from avocado and roughly mash it with a fork. (Keep it a little chunky.) Add in remaining ingredients and gently mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator until ready.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan over low heat, and add onion and garlic. 
  4. While onions are caramelizing, grill steak according to desired doneness.
  5. When steak is finished and while it is resting, add in remaining vegetables and cayenne pepper to onion mix, turning heat to medium. Cook vegetables for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Cut steak against the grain into strips. 
  7. Prepare fajitas to liking, adding desired toppings. Serve with guacamole. Enjoy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Recipe Round-up

'Tis the season for all things pumpkin!

To send you off into your weekend on a fall note, here is my roundup of pumpkin recipes featured on BeEmbraced.

And as an extra special treat, I've included a delicious pumpkin square recipe (gluten free of course). I made these when we were having someone over for dinner, and by the end of the night we had devoured all of them. (John had seven, which is evidence that the vegan/gluten free quality didn't get in the way of taste!)

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Squares, inspired by Shape Magazine

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour (such as Bob's Red Mill brand)
1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp. almond milk
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extra
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly coat 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet.
  3. Pour mixture into pan and spread until even.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes... or I cooked them 17 minutes and they came out deliciously gooey! 

Pumpkin Recipe Roundup 
Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free)
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Pumpkin and Chicken Black Bean Soup
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup
Pumpkin Protein Cookies (gluten free)

If you're in search of other pumpkin recipes, head on over to my BeEmbraced Nosh & Kitchen Pinterest page... probably half of the recipes I've pinned feature pumpkin!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A mindful habit

I've recently picked up a new habit, and it's not my fault.

I hold responsible the view out my window - a dogwood turning to shades of cinnamon and crimson - and the perfect, sunny 75 degree days. Both of these beckon me onto the porch, so that I now crave sitting in the rocking chair and reading a book in the afternoons.

Now I didn't say this was a bad habit, but any habit is something you do mindlessly. Automatically. Without pausing and giving thanks.

The book I am currently reading, Creative Nonfiction, explains how to write a book and states, "Every good story contains a moment after which things can never be the same again. A moment of profound change..."

What moment in your life has profoundly changed you?

I thought back to the passage I read in Luke that morning, when the women began preparing spices and ointments for Christ in the tomb. Then "on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment." The crucifixion moment had not (yet) altered their life. They continued on with life as usual, following their schedule.

Instead, it is their discovery of the empty tomb that becomes their "moment." And in their excitement, they could not help but tell others. The moment that profoundly changes life going forward is the resurrection and Christ reappearing in physical form. Everything is altered. And God's people cannot help but worship with great joy and be "continually in the temple blessing God" (Luke 24:50).

The book of Luke ends at this defining moment.

And it is here that I want the story to continue with me, rejoicing in the Lord always; "again, I will say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). Sitting on the porch and reading a book, or even folding clothes and washing dishes, I want to mindfully give thanks. Will you join me?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Soup and Picnic in the Park

There's not much more picturesque than having a picnic in the park with a lifelong friend on a beautiful, sunny Fall day.

Picnic in the park with Kim
This weekend my friend Kim came to visit me from Nashville, and we spent the weekend catching up, shopping, and yes, having a picnic in the park. It was so much fun relaxing and enjoying being outside, and we both agreed that catching up in person is far better than talking on the phone. Plus it was extra nice having a visitor since John was out of town this weekend for work.

When Kim arrived Friday night, I had soup and muffins ready for us to enjoy. In January, John and I tried eating clean for a week as a way to reset our healthy eating habits after the holidays. One of the meals I made was this sweet potato and black bean soup. This weekend, I made a similar - but simpler - version with chicken added in.

Pumpkin, Chicken, and Black Bean Soup

Serves 6
2 jalapeno peppers, with seeds if you like some heat
1 large (or two small) green bell pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1/2 tbsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook over medium heat until chicken is done.
  2. Remove chicken from heat and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In the same pot, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil. onion, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add spices (through cinnamon) and cook about 3 more minutes.
  5. Add pumpkin, jalapenos, bell pepper, chicken, black beans, broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a boil. 
  6. Let simmer for 25 minutes. 

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins (Gluten-free), Inspired by Savoring the Thyme's recipe
I served gluten free blueberry zucchini muffins on the side... and they didn't taste gluten free to John or Kim, my taste testers!
Makes 18 muffins
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (i.e. Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 tsp. xanthum gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. whole flax seeds
3 eggs
2/3 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Zest from half of a lemon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup grated zucchini
1 1/4 cup blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Combine first seven ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs then add the honey, sugar, oil, applesauce, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Fold in the zucchini and blueberries into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and fold to combine.
  6. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of muffin.

On Saturday after our picnic, Kim and I shopped in the afternoon, had dinner at Yeah! Burger which was delicious (and complete with gluten free buns and toppings), then met up with Erika for a drink at a local restaurant.

On Sunday we walked to the local farmer's market, and Kim got a yummy Danish for breakfast. Before she left, we finished the movie we'd started (Jane Austin's Emma in case you're curious) and sat by the fire. All in all, a wonderful Fall weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fit Friday: Total Body Workout

Today's Fit Friday workout has a little bit of everything in it. I haven't done much strength training this week (taking Monday off threw my schedule off a bit - but obviously it was worth it for our wonderful anniversary trip!)... so I wanted to do a workout that covered cardio and strength all in one. The result is a compilation of FitSugar videos (my favorite site for workout videos) and a Blonde Ponytail video.

The entire workout is 40 minutes long and requires a set of 3 and 5 pound weights and an exercise ball (if you don't have one, a small pillow will work just the same).

3 pound weights are tiny but powerful in this workout!
0:00 - 10:00 Start with this Power Circuit from Blonde Ponytail. Her video goes through all the moves once, and you'll repeat it 2 more times. You do 5 moves for 20 seconds each. A great way to get your heart rate up and ready for some weights!

10:00-20:00 This lower body workout from FitSugar will continue to increase your heart rate then slow things down a bit for the last five minutes - but with some serious muscle burn!

20:00-30:00 Next up: Arms - told you I wanted a total body workout! This FitSugar video will make your biceps and triceps shake by the end of it!

30:00-40:00 End with working the abs. The planks in this FitSugar video are intense so utilize the modifications if you need to. You'll end with a little bit of cardio for a well-rounded workout.

Be sure to cool down and stretch.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to be a sunflower today

I did not enjoy Botany class in college, and as I've mentioned before, my roommate had to help grow a plant for me so I could pass the lab. And now I have a garden... ironic?

But I do remember one thing: Sunflowers face the sun and actually track the sun's position throughout the day.
A field of sunflowers at the farm John and I visited this Fall
What if I also put this into practice, looking to the Light every day? 

"Walk as children of the light (for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." -Ephesians 5:8-10

When friends disappoint, work is discouraging, or expectations are unmet, it's my natural tendency to focus on the effect this has on me. I do not think we should ignore our emotions, and we need to acknowledge that pain and hurt are real. But our focus must first be on Him. I find myself less discouraged, less self-focused when I actively seek for things to be thankful for throughout the day and when I look to what I know is true: I am loved beyond measure; I am a daughter of a King.

I encourage you with this: "...Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philippians 4:8

Yesterday Holley Gerth wrote a great blog post on "When Your Thoughts Try to get the Best of You," and isn't it so true that when you focus on negativity, everything appears darker? But when you look for the Light and dwell on "the good, the right, the true," then you tend to find it.

Be a sunflower today. Set your gaze on the Son and follow the Light.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Asheville Anniversary Trip

This past Saturday through Monday, John and I celebrated our anniversary in Asheville. Instead of a long recap, I'll recapture our trip through pictures.

We left for Asheville Saturday morning after a big pancake breakfast. We stopped at Mt. Pisgah along the way for a beautiful hike.

Mt. Pisgah
We arrived in Asheville late afternoon and checked into the beautiful B&B that we stayed at, which has been around since 1899! That evening we headed to Grove Park Inn to see the sunset and have dinner outside at their Sunset Terrace. At dinner, it was amazing to reflect on what was going on twelve months ago and all of the blessings to where we are today.

Sunset from Grove Park Inn

On Sunday, we spent the entire day (i.e. 7 hours!) exploring the Biltmore. I had visited a long time ago and loved it, so it was fun to take several tours, learning the history of the house, what guests stayed there, and the story behind all of the land. Exploring the beautiful gardens was also a highlight!

On Monday (after John and I played a competitive game of checkers at the B&B - John won!), we walked around downtown Asheville and had lunch at a delicious vegetarian restaurant. Before heading back home, we stopped in a French bakery for some sipping chocolate - yum!

It was the perfect way to celebrate our first year of marriage!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Changing seasons, Changing clothes

At our wedding one year ago, my good friend Leah read this passage:

Throughout our first year of marriage, I've had this verse on our bathroom mirror and I've written it out several times to memorize it. Each time I read this passage, something new stands out to me, and today as I change out my wardrobes, preparing for Fall and Winter, I'm reflecting on what it means to "put on love" every day.

Put on. Life has seasons, and often when these seasons change you need to put on different "clothes." Depending on whether I feel stuck or accomplished or anxious or joyful, I need to be reminded to put on the appropriate "outfit." Am I frustrated? Clothe myself with compassion. Have I accomplished something? Put on humility. Am I waiting for something to happen? Patience. 

Chosen ones. We're not meant to put on these attributes to be comfortable but because we are chosen. We shouldn't cloth ourselves because "it's what I am supposed to do" but because it's a joy to live this way. We are sons and daughters in God's kingdom. We have been given a beautiful inheritance. We are made in the image of God and because of this we are told to "be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Ephesians 5:1). 

Above all love. All of the traits listed in the passage fall under the category of "love." In marriage, you must wake up every day choosing to love. Before you get dressed, put on love. If you consciously choose to love every day, you will be more compassionate, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 

Forgive and be forgiven. Some days we wear a shirt with a hole in it. We put on mismatched shoes. We forget to clothe ourselves in love. On these days, it's easy to say unkind words, act selfishly, and be impatient with your spouse. John has taught me how to "teach and admonish" each other with humility and love. Part of loving each other is helping each other to live out what we are called to do. Over this first year of marriage, I'm starting to learn how to humbly address things for John's growth. The harder part: Accepting his forgiveness when I'm the one being taught and counseled. We need to reminded to accept grace.

Be thankful. A lot of attributes are listed in this passage, but thankfulness is mentioned the most. Although love encompasses all, we love because we are thankful that we're first loved by God. In whatever we do, we must do it with a thankful heart. Our love will be shallow if we love out of obligation. But if I see loving John as a wonderful gift, then I'll express my thanksgiving through my actions. 

As you put on Fall clothes, wear the first scarves of the season, or hunt for long sleeves at the back of your closet, remember to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reflections down the Aisle

After six months of marriage, I wrote this post saying we are "drawing the blueprints to ensure that the foundation of our faith is solid enough to build up a marriage."

It's hard to believe that on Monday we will have been married for one year! As is typical with time, in many ways it seems to have flown by (weren't we just celebrating with our friends?!) yet in other ways I see how we have both grown so much this year.

Before John and I were married, I presented him with about 15 letters I had written over the years "to my future husband." I started writing these when I was in 10th grade - before I even had my first boyfriend. I knew I would want my future husband to know how I'd matured in my thoughts on marriage over the years, how I valued my faith, and how I saw grace and forgiveness in my life. Little did I know that high school dramas, emotions, and lessons that I expressed in my letters were already being experienced with me by my future husband! (For those of you who don't know, John and I have been friends since 7th grade, but we didn't start dating until we were 19.)

At our rehearsal dinner, I read this poem to our family and friends about how my friendship to John turned into love. I thought it'd be appropriate to share this poem today, as I'm so thankful for the blessing of our marriage.

Reflections down the Aisle

October 15, 2011
Written by: Stephanie Shackelford

This man down the long aisle from me –
with a treasured, loving, and slightly stunned gaze –
is the same sweaty teenager who coached me
on how to throw a football like a guy.

If you had hinted to me as I climbed into the front seat
that this boy who waits for his mom in the carpool lane
would be my husband in ten years,
I would have promptly persuaded you of the impossibility
because, frankly, he is an inch shorter than me –
inexcusable in twelve-year-old eyes.

What I couldn’t see then were those seven years later
when devotion deputized for doubts,
and he drove sixteen hours through Midwest snows
to visit me in Nashville for twenty-four. 

I didn’t know yet of his encouraging words, leadership,
passionate dedication to all he is committed to;
and that at age twenty I would be running with my future husband,
realizing that I would run the length of Lake Michigan’s shore
if he would always remain alongside me.

Here I am now, walking down the aisle,
and my maturing eyes have not only watched him grow taller
but also transform from my ninth grade Homecoming date
into a man of Christ, my best friend, and my husband.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Difference Between Dreaming and Developing

It's been an incredible last week and weekend! I attended the Catalyst conference last week in Atlanta and then just returned from a bridal shower I threw in Orlando. More on the bridal shower in a later post, but for a great recap you can check out my good friend Leah's post here.... it includes lots of pictures of us and the luau theme!

So backing up to this past week where I attended the majority of Catalyst, a conference for church leaders. I love this conference because it includes speakers from many fields including Geoffrey Canada, Simon Sinek, Susan Cain, John Acuff, and Francis Chan. 

The Catalyst theme was "Make." Are you consciously making yourself into a leader?
Though I heard many great messages on leadership, the key takeaway that I have been mulling over all weekend is the dichotomy between wanting to dream big versus simply living out of my gifting.

I am a follower of Michael Hyatt’s blog, so I was very excited for the opportunity to hear him speak on building a platform to get noticed in a noisy world. One point that he made was that many of us set goals that we already know we can reach. Oftentimes, I would rather play it safe than stretch outside of my comfort zone, risking failure. Yet, how will we ever grow if we don’t test the limits? When we only set goals we know we can accomplish, we don’t give God the opportunity to show up and do amazing things.

Part of allowing God to “show up” is believing that He has an incredible plan for us. Andy Stanley, North Point pastor, reiterated this point by saying, “God has a plan for your life, and you don’t want to miss it.” I desire to walk in the good works that God has set out for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). Walking in this path requires trust – trust to get outside of the comfort zone and dream big.

And yet with this comes the temptation to want to dream big for the sake of making myself known and glorifying my own work. I want to focus on the future and set big goals. But I don’t want to miss opportunities or where God is calling me to go because I am too future-focused.

Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church, further convicted me on this point when he said that we need to say “develop me” rather than “discover me.” 

I began Catalyst Day 1 (the pre-conference labs) being pumped up to set big goals and dream big. The morning of Day 2, I critically thought about whether the goals I wanted to set aligned with God’s plan for me. By Perry Noble’s talk at the end of Day 2, I then saw that goal-setting and dreaming about the future need to first start with my motives and mindset. Am I expecting God to show up big for the glory of my own name? Or am I first living out of my calling?

What about you? Why are you setting goals?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nine ways to build community

I've written a few times about how John and I are committed to being part of community here in Atlanta. Today, I want to give you a few practical ways that we've seen community emerge, both from our missional community group at our church, with our neighbors, and with friends in our neighborhood.

We by no means have "community" all figured out. It's been an exciting learning and growing process. Though it takes time to develop relationships with neighbors, with just the short time we've lived in our new home it's already been so rewarding.

We have been so blessed by our neighbors, who have welcomed us into our home by bringing us (delicious) house-warming gifts and intentionally getting to know us. So if anything, this list is mainly what I've learned from them. My hope is that some of these ideas will inspire you to intentionally serve your community and build relationships with neighbors.

  • Bake/Cook: One of the easiest icebreakers is food. Upon moving into our new house, we were showered with fresh farmer's market peaches, brownies, and bottles of wine. To keep the relationship going, I baked Rice Crispy treats and delivered them to our surrounding neighbors. The impromptu conversation that happens at the front door is a great way to get to know your neighbors.
  • Take up a neighbor's trashcans: One of my least favorite chores is taking the trash out and bringing the trashcans back up. John always takes the trash out, but I'm the one working from home all day, so I try to be good about bringing the trashcans back up from the curb. One afternoon, I saw my neighbor bringing mine up for me - He probably had no idea how much this meant to me! So yesterday when our neighbors were gone all day, I brought his trashcans up. (Correction: I noticed it, and had John bring them up when he got home!)
  • Neighborhood potluck: In the past month, we've been invited to 3 potlucks and have been to 2 of them. (We didn't attend one because it was the same time as another.) Although neighborhood potlucks can be kind of awkward, they are worth attending. Why? You not only meet new neighbors and catch up with old ones, which build relationships, but you'll be surprised at some of the connections you make. Case in point, at the last potluck, John met another Wheaton grad. If your neighborhood doesn't have an event like this, I encourage you to organize one!
  • Neighborhood movie night: Recently, our church community group organized a movie night for the neighborhood. We borrowed a big screen to set up outside, made lemonade, and had an ice cream truck stop by. It was such a hit - and a great way to unite neighbors after recent school districting disputes - that we're having another one this Fall!
  • Sit outside: We have a front porch with rocking chairs, and now that the weather is nice, we love sitting outside. John has weekly breakfast dates with friends out on the porch, and just by being present he's built friendships with neighbors who walk their dogs in the morning.
  • Sit at the local bus stop: There is a bus stop across the street from our house, and recently a Marta bus broke down outside. John went to go check on the bus driver, who thought he was coming to yell at him for blocking our driveway. Instead, John brought him Chick-fil-A coupons for a free sandwich and started a conversation with him. Is there a bus stop or local park nearby your house? I encourage you to take the initiative and meet the people who frequent the area.
  • Visit the local police station: There is also a police station across the street from us. I intend to bake something and bring it to the police, just as a friendly gesture and way to thank them for their service.  
  • Weekly running date with a neighbor: Some of my friends in the neighborhood enjoy running, like I do. So every week I set up a day/time to run with them. It's a perfect combination of keeping in touch and getting fit together.
  • Simply remember important things about your neighbors: This is something I am working on. Though it can be the easiest thing to do, it can also make a huge impact. Did a neighbor mention their child's upcoming birthday? Write a quick birthday note. Did a neighbor recently have a baby? Bring over a meal. The list is endless!
What are some creative ideas you have for engaging with your neighbors and building community?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to Organize Your Recipes & Make Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

I mentioned yesterday that during the past few rainy days, I started an organization project. Although Spring is the season for new beginnings, Fall has always been the month that motivates me to start new projects. This month's project was to organize my recipe book.

For one of my bridal showers, John's aunt gave me a beautiful binder filled with family recipes, even including some written in the shaky handwriting of John's great grandmother. It was such a thoughtful gift, and recently my grandmother started giving me family recipes as well. Ever since I received the present, I've wanted to combine it with my own collection of recipes.

I finally sorted through my recipe compilation, which I'd started since first learning to cook back in high school. Going through the old recipes brought back memories of spending an hour trying to learn how to make coconut shrimp. And some recipes which looked good at the time, now seem boring and lacking flavor - those got tossed in the trash.

The result is a book organized by:
Soups & Salads,
Main Dishes,
Desserts, and

I also added dividers in between sections to separate soups from salads, slow cooker meals from other main dishes, and actual desserts from my healthy ones. Eventually it'd be nice to go through all of my old Cooking Light magazines and tear out the pages I've tabbed. But for now, I'm very happy with the finished product - it's so much easier to flip through my recipes and pick out dishes for the week.

 As a result, I rediscovered this favorite dish and made it this week for dinner:

Edamame and Shrimp Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

Serves 2
1 spaghetti squash
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil + a little extra at the end
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup edamame, shelled and thawed
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
8 -12 oz. shrimp
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice squash in half, scoop out seeds, and lay flat on baking sheet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake squash for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove squash from oven, and while you let squash cool, caramelize onions with olive oil and garlic. Cook over low heat until onions are browned, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, shrimp, red pepper flakes, oregano, and edamame. Cook until shrimp is done, about 5 minutes.
  5. Use two forks to scrape strands out from the squash. (It looks like spaghetti, hence the name!) Add the "spaghetti" to a bowl. 
  6. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and toss with onion mixture.
  7. Top with fresh parsley and cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4 Reasons to Visit a Farm this Fall

This weekend was certainly an adventure, starting with a farm festival, ending with food poisoning, and tackling an organization project in between.

First: A visit to a farm, an activity I highly encourage everyone to do this Fall because... 

Reason #1: You get to shoot corn out of a cannon.

I'd just finished reading Ann Voskamp's (author of 1000 Gifts) blog post about shooting pumpkins out of cannon at an abandoned school bus. I didn't realize that I'd be next! ...Only with corn and targets instead of pumpkins and a school bus. But it was still lots of fun, loud, and I came closer to the target than John did!

Reason #2: You can get lost in a corn maze.

I think this needs to become an annual tradition for John and I, since two years ago I dragged him to Shuckle's Corn Maze in Nashville. The best part about getting lost in a corn maze is that my terrible sense of direction is for once a year on par with John's great navigation skills.

Reason #3: You get to cheer for a pig name Michael Squelps.

I'd never seen a pig race before, and it was very entertaining. At some points the pigs would start running the wrong direction, and halfway through they had to jump in a trough of water and swim across. On the third - and last - race, "our" pig (aka the one we were cheering for) finally won the pig race... I think his namesake gave him a leg up in the swim!

In the video below, we're cheering for the green pig!

Reason #4: You can walk through fields of flowers and pumpkin patches.

Pure fall beauty.

Then on Sunday evening, John and I went on a date night, which was the perfect way to end our weekend until John got food poisoning. So since John is in bed and it's been pouring rain almost nonstop since Sunday, I'm working on an organization project. I'll share the details this week but suffice it to say that once John recovers, he'll have a lot of yummy food waiting for him!