Recipe: Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

Okay, so admittedly, this recipe was born solely from the fact that my husband was bugging me to use the big ol load of kale I got at the store on Monday and had yet to cook. So, I did a little once over of what we had in the fridge and then mentally recalled my Pepper Sautéed Kale & Veggies Quinoa Bowl and just went for it (although I was totally not in a cumin mood, so I changed this one up to be more Italian).

Before we get started: Oh. my. goodness. I learned that you can make quinoa in the RICE COOKER! Hellllllllo. I totally would have made wayyyyy more quinoa before now (which, for the record, I call the stuff Queen-waa and even though I know that’s wrong, I think I’m gonna keep my way – hehe)! Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has trouble with it…

how to pronounce quinoa

Okay, sorry for that tangent.

On to the recipe! (By the way, I post most of the recipe pics at the end of the post… most of us just want to get to the recipe, but if you are into gawking at food, then I have included the pics just for you!)

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - stovetop bottom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl

A little tip: As you chop and slice, combine ingredients that will go in the pan at the same time into the same prep-bowl. Bowl 1: carrots and tomatoes. Bowl 2: squash, zucchini, green onions. Bowl 3: mushrooms. Bowl 4: kale.

  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-3 inch strips
  • 2 handfuls of salad tomatoes, halved
  • 1 squash, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 “stalks” of kale, cut off stems, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning mix whose ingredients compare)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa if you have yet to do so.
  2. Bring four cups of water to a boil and then turn down to low. (You’ll need this in a minute to blanch the kale.)
  3. Heat a pan with the olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two then add in the Ana’s Herbs and allow to saute for several more minutes (this sorta “reactivates” the dried herbs). Add more oil to keep the herbs from burning if necessary.
  4. Add in the fire roasted diced tomatoes, mix together with herbs and let cook for three minutes.
  5. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and let them cook for three minutes.
  6. Add in the squash, zucchini, and green onions and let them cook for three minutes. {Ya seeing a pattern here yet? Hehe!}
  7. Add in the mushrooms and let them cook for… yep, three minutes!
  8. When you add in the mushrooms, pour the kale into the hot water and allow it to blanch while the mushrooms cook. No longer than three minutes!
  9. When the mushrooms are finished move the pan off of the heat, strain the kale, and combine it with the veggie mixture in the pan.
  10. Serve it over the quinoa as soon as you can because kale is at it’s best (and prettiest) when it is still bright green!

For the record: my husband said “Wow this is gooooood.” at least 7 times, which is the biblical number of perfection, so I’m going to deem this recipe a success!

And here are a few preparation pictures…

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - tomatoes

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - squash

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - mushroom

Italian Veggie & Kale Quinoa Bowl - kale

Day 665: God Knew All Along

As I work {very slowly} on bringing this new blog site up to par, I’ve gotten a chance to look back at a lot of my older writings (and when you’re on Day 665 of a blog… well, there are A LOT of older writings). And as I tweaked and updated the My Story page, I realized that this was the last sentence on there:

So, here’s to attempting to live a covenant life… for the rest of my life.

And in light of the fact that recently I have covenanted to quit sugar for the rest of my life (Day 657: I Quit), that sentence of mine really, really grabbed my attention. Cause friends, I wrote that sentence… on May 18, 2011 and it is now November 4, 2013!

What I think is so cool about that, is that God knew.

God Knew All Along

God knew all along!

You see, I recently went to a women’s night where KariAnne Wood, author of the Thistlewood Farms blog, spoke on that very thing… and said that very thing. She had these expectations and plans and yet God had something quite different for her, but the thing was… He knew all along.

And it seems to me as I look back and see that sentence I wrote two and a half years ago… God knew all along that I would transfer my covenanting into a lifelong journey. He knew all along that I would need Him for the rest of my life. He knew all along that I would try it my own way and then find how much better His way really is.

He knew all along.

And back on my verrrrrrrrry first Daniel Fast, on May 18, 2011… He whispered His plan into my soul.

What a wonderful thing to know that God has the plans and purpose for our life and He will override our plans with His. We can remember that when times are hard and tough and not going as we expect. And we can find hope and comfort and peace in knowing that no matter what, we will fall into His purpose and His plan.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Day 664: Where HAVE I Been?

I thought for a long time when I started to struggle with food again that I was being punished by God.

I know, it’s kind of ridiculous.

But I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get past this… addiction. Mainly because I had been able to resist sugar for a whole year and now I found myself plummeting back down toward that same rock bottom where I started. I would pray and pray and pray the psalmist’s prayer…

O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. O Lord, why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me? Psalm 88:13-14

(And if you need to read more of those prayers, here are several: Psalm 13:1-3, Psalm 27:7-9, Psalm 102:1-2)

Until lately as my teacher has helped me to start to see my life the way Christ sees it: in panoramic.

With the purpose of each moment bleeding into the next moment into the next to the next. Even the “bad” ones next to the “good” ones. Moments of triumph. Moments of failure. Moments of hope. Moments of despair.

All of those were working together.

To lead me to… now.

To lead me to… Him.

And I thought it would be kind of cool to look through all of the moments that, now, I can see as His hand. His work. Now, this journey started years and years and years ago… I can remember as early as elementary school when I would wake up in the night at a slumber party to go raid the candies and snacks in secret. But for now, I’m just going to go over the past nine-months.

My First Chocolate: In January, a month after I’d “finished” my year-long covenant with God to not eat sugar, my husband and I finished up a trade show in California for his product, Chord Dice. We celebrated an amazing week with a steak dinner and dessert. It was delicious. And I had no idea the struggle that I was opening myself to.

My First Party: When I finished my covenant, I had decided that it would be best to gradually put sugar back into my life lest I go buck wild. So, I was only going to have sugar at birthday parties and on national holidays. It was very specific and led for little interpretation. Well, not long after having my first chocolate, I threw my husband a birthday party at the beginning of February. I ate cake and cake balls and chocolate covered popcorn all the batters associated with making them. And I ate and ate and ate. For dayyyyyyyyys. I was ashamed. embarrassed. confused. I thought that I had overcome all of this?!?!

{In between the party and the retreat that I’ll talk about next, I was a wreck with eating everything and anything in sight. I’d yo-yo… a few days of being “good” and then a few days of being “bad”.}

My Retreat: Twice a year I go on a mom’s retreat called MomsAway. It’s very laid back with LOTS of free time and I can wear my PJs the entire time. I love it. I need it. And I get to spend hours and hours with just me and God… and well, that pretty much never happens at home. So, this time I went with the main goal of wondering a) should I go back to work or stay home and work on this blog solely and b) what the heck was going on with my eating?!?! God revealed verrrrrry clearly that He wanted me to stay home one more year and work on this. And I also heard from Him for the first time, “Give up sugar… forever.” But, I ran from that and decided that I would go off sugar again for five years.

{Yeah, that didn’t work… something had “snapped” in me whenever I had that first sugar in January and I couldn’t seem to stop eating it. I kept going through the yo-yo. On again off again.}

My Many Fasts: In an effort to “figure out” what was going on, I started doing short term Daniel Fasts. I was trying to get back to what started me out in the first place: my love for God over food. I would feel amazing during the fasts and I would feel like “Okay- this is it! I’m back!” but then a few days after the fast was over, the walls would come tumbling down again. I remember thinking: I need a fast that, like, never. ends.

My Teacher: I joined a class in church a while back with this teacher (James Tippit) that is just uh.maz.ing. His teachings push me beyond what I have always accepted and he challenges my thinking but above all, he encourages us. Not in the sense that he does a little pep talk all the time but in the sense that he just reminds me of some of the most important things that God has said about me and to me.

And the most recent one was on Day 650: Liar, Liar, He’s On Fire when he helped me to see that Satan had been telling me this lie my whole life (telling all of us this lie) that if we sacrifice or hold back from doing something that we are going to miss out. So I kept hearing that voice in my head when I would hear the inner battle over food, “January, if you walk away from that plate of cookies, you are not going to miss out.”

My Jeans: Yep. My jeans are one of my big points. I’ve known for months that I was gaining weight, and many of you can identify with this… it didn’t matter that I was gaining weight… I couldn’t. stop. eating. I would even think of the fact that my jeans were getting tighter and tighter and almost to the point where I couldn’t even button them. They were certainly so small that I couldn’t wear them with any cute “fitted” tops. But the thing was, my jeans not fitting wasn’t a sign to me that things were a “little off”… because a little off means that maybe they are snug… we we are talking MAJOR MUFFIN TOP. No, more accurately, there was no muffin top up there, but a POUND CAKE. Essentially, my jeans were telling me a similar story: you have GOT to address this. Stop running from it or you won’t even fit into your jeans.

My Jonah Moment: Then one night while folding clothes, I was praying about what to do. I could hear that small voice to the right and the left saying “This is what to do.” Give up sugar forever. Change your life. (Isaiah 30:21) But just like Jonah, I was too scared for God to ask such a big thing of me. And so I’d been running from that idea… and running away from that idea meant eating and eating and eating… eating junk, junk, junk.

My Circle Prayer: So, as I read The Circle Maker that my husband’s Nanny got for me, I decided why not? I’ll pray it. So I wrote out my circle prayer.

the circle maker weight loss size 6 prayer

And then things began to tumble into my decision last week on Day 657: I Quit to quit sugar (just in the nick of time before Halloween started too)! And it was immediately freeing.

I write all of this for a reason.

You see, this change… this coming to the conclusion to quit sugar forever… it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen in a week or two weeks. It happened over months and months and months.

But you know the awesome, Awesome, AWESOME thing about this?

I have learned so much about God.

I have learned that He is working even when I think my life is dismal.
I have learned that being determined may not mean progress but it might just mean holding on.
I have learned that God loves me.
I have learned that sometimes God purposefully works slowly.
I have learned that God isn’t going to give up on me and hasn’t given up on me.
I have learned that life is not as much about accomplishing something as it is about keeping my life steered toward Him.
I have learned that just because I don’t think things are on the right path doesn’t mean that I’m off course.

And my list could go on and on.

But I have also learned the power of prayer. Little prayers. Prayers of crying out. Prayers of humility. Prayers of desperation. Prayers of honesty. Prayers for help.

Those prayers have not fallen on deaf ears. He might not have swooped down to “save” every time that I begged for help, but He was listening all along. And He has given me just enough to get through… just enough hope. just enough strength. And He has shown me story after story in the bible where His work was on His own time… and seemingly sooooooooo. verrrrrrrrry. slowwwwwwww. But the end result was always awesome!

So.

Where have I been?

All this time… I’ve been with God.

I didn’t necessarily know it.

But I’ve been with Him.

And He with me.

Day 661: The Day After Halloween

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This one is a doozy.

I mean… the stuff is ev.er.y.where.

In your kids bags. In the basket leftover from your handouts for last night. In the ziploc bag your grandparents saved for your kids. In the 75% off cupcakes at the grocery.

Everywhere.

And guess what?

I’m not phased by it! Finalllllllllly! Because I’ve finally given in and covenanted with God to not eat sugar again for the rest of my life!

And I’m gonna be honest with ya right now. I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a little bitty part of me that wasn’t a little sad about giving it up forever. It’s the same part of me that says “You’re going to miss out… you’re going to miss out on Halloween. and Thanksgiving. and Christmas. and Valentines. and Easter. and your birthday. You’re going to miss out and you’re going to be sad and depressed and different and alone and and and…”

And then Covenant-Me says to Sugar-Eating-Me, “NO. You. Shut. Your. Mouth. Because I was sad and depressed and different and alone when I WAS having candy and cakes and ice creams all those times. I’m not going to let you lie to me anymore. I’m not missing out.

Plus, look at this. I celebrated a NO CANDY Halloween last night and had a BLAST!”

Halloween Outfit

Then I look at the candy and Covenant-Me is all like “Pish. Who needs you?”

And I walk away.

And eat… a clementine or something, like, way awesomer than a Snickers.

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