Honey Lemon Chicken with Pasta {Gluten Free of Course}

Honey Lemon Chicken, Chicken,

Listening to: No music for me tonight. Fixer Upper was my soundtrack.

Drinking: La Vieille Ferme Luberon Blanc 2014

It’s been a crazy few weeks, dudes. My house still isn’t in order even though I moved two months ago. I’m not a huge fan of the set-up of the living room or kitchen so I’m not feeling super motivated to cook. Or to do anything for that matter (#realtalk). But I cooked. And it was good.

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As for my house, I love houses with tons of light. My house is very dark. I feel like I live in a cabin in the woods. The yard has trees everywhere. I LOVE this. I really do. But everything is so dark and I have sucky cameras or my iPhone so when I’ve taken photos  . . . well, they’re not looking so hot. Don’t let my photos keep you from trying this. It really is quite good.

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The recipe needs some tweaking for next time, but it’s still a winner overall. I slightly adapted a recipe from Averie Cooks, after finding the recipe on Pinterest today. I will probably do some more tweaking the next time. It was much sweeter than I anticipated. Here is my adapted recipe. You can find the original at the link just above.

honey lemon chicken with pasta, gluten free

Ingredients

1/2 box of your favorite pasta. I used Barilla Gluten Free spaghetti noodles.                                                                         1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced

Directions

Mix the honey, lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt/pepper to a bowl and whisk. Once ingredients are combined, set aside.

Heat water for pasta and then add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a pan to cook the chicken. In addition to the salt/pepper in the sauce, I lightly seasoned the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook chicken about 6-7 (these chicken breasts were quite thick – less time may be needed) minutes per side. Mine had such a nice color to it – perfect. Once the water is boiling for the water, add your pasta. I added olive oil to the water as gluten free pasta can be clumpy.

After about 10 minutes, add the sauce to the pan. Boil the sauce with the chicken, until it thickens. Stir often.

Once the pasta was done, I drained it and then tossed it slightly with a pat of butter and squeezed more lemon onto the pasta. At this point, I thought it was sweeter than I expected so I was looking for something to cut through the sweetness a bit.

Add the sauce and chicken and then toss! I sprinkled some parmesan on, in addition to the extra lemon to even out more of the sweetness.

While sweeter than I expected, this was delish!

I don’t buy lemon pepper seasoning which is an ingredient in the original recipe. Nonetheless, I don’t think I’d add that next time. What I will do is cut down the honey and add some more lemon.

Try it!

Prince Charming and Happy-ish Ever After

Once Upon A Time, Prince Charming, Love, Fairy Tales, Dreams

I used to think, when I was a little girl, that some Prince Charming type (he, of course, loved football, Jesus, and politics) would stride into my life, sweep me off my feet, and then? We would live happy-ish forever, with our house full of kids, somewhere near Washington, D.C. (my dreams are very specific).

Life’s not perfect so while I believed in the proverbial fairy tale, I wasn’t completely out of touch. My head was in the clouds only part of the time. After my childhood, I knew that life had its challenges and pain came along with the beauty. But I was convinced that our love would be like a fairy tale. How could it not? There weren’t any other options.

There’s something incredibly beautiful about the way kids look at the world. They’re full of faith and a dogged, bright hope. They don’t really ever consider any other outcome than the one they dream. A kid wants to be an astronaut when she grows up? Why not? What could possibly keep her from being an astronaut? As far as she’s concerned . . . nothing.

Children are resilient. I was resilient. I am resilient. Every time I turn around, the logical, adult side of my heart, that has long since met and been acquainted with disappointment, sadness, and life kicking you in the teeth from time to time, wants me to give up the dream.

Prince Charming? Happy-ish ever after? Give up. Face reality. A house full of kids? Prepare for the worst, Elaina. I had dinner with a couple of other over 35-ish folks, while I was in California. The conversation was familiar but eventually turned startling and depressing. I love being able to talk to other single people who understand how frustrating dating is in today’s society. There is so much to laugh at and commiserate over. It’s all the same story on repeat – different friends, different places, personalities, and backgrounds but the story about dating is the same.

But the conversation shifted and left me with a sense of hopelessness. I couldn’t kick it for days. I was frustrated, mad, and just generally in a bad mood. I’m sure my grief over losing Grandma didn’t help. Nonetheless, all I could think about was a few sentences spoken into the cool Orange County air that centered around the increasing improbability of having a family the older we get.

In spite of the hopelessness expressed that night and my frustration in the couple of days that followed, the truth is, I am simply unwilling to give up hope. Unwill-ing.

I don’t want a backup plan. I don’t want to prepare for the worst. I’m not willing to give up hope that the dream is just that – a dream. We so often spend our lives living for some moment in the future. I don’t want that either. But I won’t spend my days living with a sense of defeat and hopelessness.

Sometimes I think I lack faith. But then I remember how convinced, beyond physical appearances sometimes, that what I have always wanted is still out there. The faith remains, the hope remains. Why? Because even in my weakness, even when I’m tired and over the waiting, I believe a God who does crazy, improbable things in the lives of His loved ones.

I don’t know where my “Prince Charming” is (probably hating football & politics and living in Alaska), but I do know that this dream doesn’t die. More importantly, I’m convinced to my core it was placed there for a reason. So here’s my challenge to you single folks out there . . . resist the urge to be negative about dating, singlehood, waiting, etc.

It’s not easy. But I know for certain that how we think impacts our actions. Try it with me . . . think differently. Live with some hope. Don’t be afraid to dream. If your desires haven’t changed, press forward. Keep dreaming. Continue to hope.

What do you have to lose?

Me? I have nothing to lose.

For my Daughter . . . Four

Here we are – part four. I have more love and dating talk for you. Here are a few things you may want to consider.

 Your feelings can sway you to believe all sorts of things that may or may not be true. No matter what the entire world may try to convince you of . . . truth is truth. Feelings don’t always line up with the truth. You may feel in love. You may feel that he cares for you. You may feel that your feelings, especially about a boy, are telling you that you’re in love.
But . . . if he doesn’t show you by his actions that he cares for you and loves you, hold back a little. Wait. Don’t give your heart. Your feelings may be strong. Your heart may want to jump in – full speed ahead, but love, being in love, dating and relationships, they’re two-way streets.
There will be times when you’re in a relationship when you give more. That is not what I’m talking about. What I am saying is that women’s emotions are powerful things. We can convince ourselves of all sorts of things. You could convince yourself he feels the same when you are his part-time, downtime or good time. Why? Because your emotions are all tangled up.
When you’re there in that place, stop yourself and listen to your gut. Stop yourself and listen to your closest friends and your family. I hope you will have a brother old enough to know what’s going on. What does he say? How does your dad feel? Really. Is everyone warning you? Do people question you about the way he acts, the things he says, or the things he doesn’t do or say?
Does your gut tell you that he doesn’t do anything for you? Is he doing all the talking? Asking? Expecting? What happens when you need him? How does he respond? Is he there for you? Does he walk away?
I watched someone I love walk away from me – his back turned when I was feeling stress. I was fatigued – at my wit’s end. He walked away and left me standing there when he had, not only the answer right there in front of us, but at the very least, was the one person I most wanted to talk to right then.
I learned that day that I let my feelings sway me to give my heart when I should not have. Actions speak louder than words. I mean, we know that’s true, right? But when our feelings get involved and we’re wrapped up, our heart doesn’t always read things correctly. We don’t always see the truth.
You will have a dad that loves you and protects you. I pray for this every day. So maybe you’ll be smarter about this than I was am? But sometimes, even still, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees when the heart is involved. All I ask is that you stop. Just stop and think for a few brief moments.
You deserve the love you give. You will love big. You will love with all your heart. You deserve the same in return. Don’t compromise. Don’t second guess your gut. Don’t talk yourself out of expecting that guy’s best . . .
I love big and with all my heart. It’s possible that the hurt I feel today is directly in proportion to the love. But I think there’s a way to lessen the blow. Love big. But take it slow. You deserve the best.

For my Daughter . . . Part Three

To my girl,

I’ve written previously about a few things on the “list” of qualities you should be looking for in a man. Here are some new thoughts about that.

I used to be annoyed by quotes like the one above. Mostly because I thought of them in the wrong context. I get it now. If you’re anything like me, you will fall easily. When you fall, you could possibly put up with some crap you should put up with because I guarantee you, you are not perfect and neither is he. Grace goes a long way. But when you fall, you could possibly put up with some crap you shouldn’t.

In the crap you shouldn’t put up with category {coming from personal experience}:

1. Not being a priority.

2. Any of the above {half-time, down-time, spare-time, sometimes} which pretty much works with numero uno.

3. You do all the chasing, winning, etc. You make all of the effort. Especially in the beginning. That’s not so much a good sign.

4. Mandy knows what’s up.
5. He does all the talking, never asks you how you’re doing, doesn’t give you time to “vent” in the same way he does. When you ask for something you need, he isn’t there for you. But he may very well expect your response when he asks.
You will be raised to be strong, resilient, independent and true to the person God made you to be. You are beautiful. And it doesn’t matter how long it takes, the curves and breaks in the road or the challenges that come with waiting, you deserve, just as he {whomever he shall be} does, the absolute best.
There are more serious matters you should never, ever put up with. But for now, please trust me on these. As I write you tonight, I’m telling you – your wildly amazing heart is worth the one who makes the effort, does some pursuing and shows you by his actions, that he won’t let you get away.
He will not let you get away. If he’s not showing you that you are worth his effort, the risk and, you’re left consistently feeling alone in a “relationship,” it might be time to move on.
If you do move on, the good news is, you’re one step closer to finding the one.- Your Mama

P.S. This . . .

is going on the wall of your bedroom. You will be clothed with strength and dignity.

For my Daughter . . . Part Two

My Girl,

When last I wrote, I had some stuff to say about a whole lot of randomness. By the time you read this, you should be used to my randomness, which is likely to induce a great deal of eye-rolling. So I won’t apologize for being random. You’ll just have to get over that.

In general, I do believe in the apology. Some people think it’s a sign of weakness. I disagree. I think it’s a sign of humility. Humility, at its very heart, is about seeing yourself as you are, acknowledging that you are not better than others. The antonyms to humility are far more interesting than the synonyms. Words like “haughtiness, arrogance, egotism, superiority” are on that list. Noticeably absent? Confidence. Confidence and arrogance are so very different. But I digress . . .

Apologies don’t equal weakness. When you apologize, you agree . . . I make mistakes. I make mistakes and I’m willing to rectify them. They don’t indicate your abilities or lack thereof.

Apologies, when meant, can be like a reset button. They can turn a conversation, relationship or bad day around. If your apology is accompanied by changed behavior, when you’ve wronged someone, they can change so much.

But here are some things you should never apologize for or should think long and hard about apologizing for:

– Never apologize for standing up for your deeply held convictions and beliefs – as long as you’ve expressed them with love (Ephesians 4:15) and with respect.

– Do not apologize for saying no to a man when he’s pressuring you to do things you’re not prepared for. If he can’t respect your no, he is not the man you need.

– Do not apologize for sticking up for your friends when they’ve been wronged.

– Do not apologize for standing up for people who cannot defend themselves. Ask me to tell you about how your Uncle Matt did that for a “kid” that used to hang out at the mall in our hometown.

– Never, ever, ever apologize for being who you are and how God made you.

– Never apologize for loving someone with your whole heart. But don’t ever apologize for putting your foot down when you’re not being treated as you deserve.

– Never apologize for wanting something for your life that’s not popular. Case in point . . . it wasn’t popular for women to want to be a stay at home wife & mom when I was growing up. That’s all I wanted. You are who you are. Period.

– Don’t apologize for being honest about your needs when in a relationship. Say it respectfully – in love, not with anger or in a way that’s hurtful. But be honest about them.

I’m sure there are more. But that is what is on my heart right now.

To be continued . . . 

Everything is Changing

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De Luz, California

I’ve been in California since the 27th of August. My grandmother passed away on Saturday the 29th. I will have more to say on my Grandma, later. She was so special to me and the grief is close. But along with losing Grandma, there are other changes coming.

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IMG_6656My Mom, who has lived with Grandma for nearly ten years, and has taken care of her full-time for several years, is facing a transition. The house has a reverse mortgage so it goes back to the bank. Having spent the last few years taking care of Grandma, with me being in NC, and California being ridiculously expensive, it only makes sense for her to head east.

It’s the logical choice. But somehow, the thought of this has really put me in a bad mood. With my Mom moving to NC, I’m basically saying goodbye to “home.” Grandma’s house has been home base. Mom has been here – where I grew up. I come home once or twice a year, I see my family, eat a ton of Mexican food, stop at In N Out, enjoy mountain views and palm trees and then go back to my adopted home.

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Grandma’s yard – love the view of the mountains. Over the mountain is San Juan Capistrano.

We won’t be back for holidays. I won’t get my at least yearly break in So Cal and that leads to . . . when will I see the rest of my family? Granted, I don’t see them often anyway. It’s hard enough to find time to see my brother when I’m here, what happens when my Mom is no longer here? I can’t even imagine when I’ll see him, my aunts, cousins, etc., again.

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Grandma’s 90th birthday in July 20014. Most of my cousins are in this photo.

Everything is changing.

And then . . . as we’ve begun to go through my Mom’s and Grandma’s stuff, getting ready to pack some up, sell the rest, etc., I’ve had to go through some boxes left here, myself. My childhood flashed before my eyes! The things I’d saved, the things that mattered to me as a kid or young teen speak to the dreams that are still mine – still just dreams.

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Long story, longer . . . this has been an emotional trip home. There’s been plenty of tears to go around. And frankly, I’m uneasy about the future, sad to say goodbye to my beloved Grandma, and California. And I’m trying hard to hold on to the dream.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I still cling to hope that though each day is filled with joy, good work accomplished, and meaning, there is more on the horizon. While it doesn’t always feel like that in the moment, I’m going to trust that this is another step in the direction I’m meant to take.

Everything is changing. Challenging yourself to see change as an adventure isn’t easy. But finding the joy, living in the moment and being thankful for the beauty of life as it is, in all of its messy wonder, is worth it.