Air Fryer French Fries

Potatoes! Potatoes! Potatoes!

We adore french fries in this house. My youngest and I are french fry fiends.
You could possibly bribe me down a storm drain, with a clown holding french fries, and I really really don’t like clown’s. Especially one’s associated with IT.
Seriously, I watched the older version of that movie when I was waaaay too young and was afraid to pee with the bathroom door closed for month’s (due to the scene with blood coming up the drain..sorry if that’s a spoiler…it is a really old movie though).

So french fries, in the air fryer. It’s the only way we do them now. We don’t buy them, or fry them in a pan. They’re just really good in the air fryer.

First you get a bowl of ice and water ready. I always soak my cut fries/potatoes for an hour before cooking, no matter what way I cook the fries. Five potatoes is normally more then enough for us, but we have two kids ages 2 and 4 , who sometimes eat a lot (as in my oldest could eat a whole cantaloupe on his own) and sometimes they eat oxygen and that’s it. We usually have some fries leftover.

I wash, then peel and then cut all the potatoes up as evenly as possible in the style we prefer, we don’t care too much for steak fries, and my husband loves very thin crispy ones while I don’t so I cut them somewhere in the middle.

see, just like that, easy peasy. No big deal. The hardest part of this is timing. Making sure you give yourself enough time so that your fries are fresh and ready to enjoy with your meal.

Let them sit in your ice water for an hour. Then drain the fries from the water, I tend to scoop them out into a colander then give them a quick rinse and pat them as dry as I can get them. I don’t like to let them sit to dry because I don’t want them to start to turn brown or grey.

See that white milky residue at the bottom? I assume that’s all the excess starch. I’m no expert though so don’t quote me on that. All I know is that my fry’s are always crispier after letting them sit in ice cold water.

Spray your fries with oil. You can buy the spray oil from the store, or buy a oil spray bottle off amazon. It only cost me 10.00 and I love it and use it all the time, I just refill it with the oil of my choosing and spray away.

Put your fries in the air fryer. Try not to overcrowd or your fries wont all cook evenly, some will still be raw while others will be crispy. I’m still guilty of this at times when I’m in a rush.

My air fryer has a setting for fries so I just push the button and let them go. But my old fryer was a little more basic (but still great and I loved it) I just put them on for 17 mins at 380.

Check periodically on your fries, if your air fryer doesn’t have a shake setting, stop them halfway through the cook time to give them a good shake.

Some way’s you can enjoy your fries?
-Nachos: use your fries as the base/chips and top accordingly. Just like nachos but it’s with french fries and a little bit of what I assume heaven’s like

-Use as a side with any kind of sandwich, or burger. Normal lunch meat sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich, a burger.

-Put them in a burrito. Load a breakfast burrito with them, egg and french fries with your favorite salsa, or a bean and cheese burrito. Maybe a chipotle chicken burrito (either buy canned chipotle, puree, mix with sour cream, add garlic, onion powder, pepper, paprika and coat your cooked chicken with the mix, add beans and a little rice and shove some fries in there. Or buy a store made chipotle salsa)

– Steak and fries with gravy. Or steak frites. Always easy and filling and will make you feel like your living the life of a king without the price tag. Make your own gravy by using the pan you fried the steak in, add flour to the oil the steak created, whisking and cooking the flour, then add milk, slowly. whisk. Add a little bit more if you need too. Whisk, add more if it’s still too thick. Taste, and season if it needs more seasoning.

-salad. Ya. this one may be a bit weird, but why not? Maybe all you have is a bag of potatoes and a head of lettuce in your fridge. Make a salad, throw some warm fries on top. It’ll feel like a meal. I don’t recommend it all the time, but if it get’s you through, well then, that’s what its really about. Also, sometimes when I’m feeling like not cooking and those are the leftovers that’s what happens.

-Chili cheese fries. This is the combo. Right here. A bowl, a layer of fries, topped with chili, cheese, sour cream, green onions and hot sauce. Need I say more?

-Use them as a crust. Like when making a quiche/frittata (I know frittata’s dont normally have a crust or shell to them. But both are made just a little differently, one heavier in milk product and the other not so much so it really just depends on the mood you’re in and what you’re going for, I think a french fry crust would work well with either) In theory since I’ve never tried this, I think the best approach would be to take your french fries and mush them into the pan to form a crust, kind of like how you would if you were making a graham cracker based pie. Then to bake it with just the french fries for maybe 10 or 15 minutes to allow all sides to crisp before pouring egg onto it making it soggy. If the egg makes this soggy I don’t think it’ll be very good. The key would be in making sure those fries keep a little crisp and crunch to them.

That’s it. I’m sure I’ll think of another idea as soon as I post this. Fries are really just versatile. And budget friendly.

Hope to see all of you next week for our next spud feature: Potato soup

5 Way’s To Use A Composition Notebook

Composition notebooks are so incredibly versatile and even better, durable. You can use them for a magnitude of things. And they’re fairly inexpensive (I usually buy a bunch at once when they go on sale for .50, you really can’t beat that price).
Today I’m giving all of you a little list of way’s you can use your composition book that I have found useful, or that have helped me stay organized, focused and creative.

1 . Bullet Journals:
There is just something so freeing about using a composition notebook for your bullet journal. I go back and forth to be honest, between the ‘nice’ journal’s for bullet journaling and to the good old wall flower, turtleneck wearing, fall loving composition notebook. At least that’s what I imagine composition notebook’s personalities to be like if they were a human. Sometimes I feel so much pressure from myself (I have a bad habit of comparing myself and the thing’s I do to what others have done and already do and telling myself my work is mediocre in comparison. It’s truly a character flaw of mine. ) Pressure to have the perfect BUJO, pressure to not make mistakes and to always have my weekly layouts and monthly spreads just right. I feel that pressure increased when I’m using a ‘nicer’ bujo journal. And so I find there’s something liberating about using a composition notebook, it frees me up from that pressure and just allows me to be creative and make mistakes. To be an amateur and learn. Honestly there’s something really beautiful about that. I rotate between the two journal types to give myself a fresh breath of air, and the composition books are like an old friend, back in town, ready to go to a bon fire with you and remind you of how freaking awesome you both are after you roast some marshmallows and crunch up leaves that have fallen beneath your feet. It’s a crisp autumn wind, that doesn’t quite chill you through, but can chill your breath and screams to you that the only certainty in the world is change; and that’s okay. I highly recommend the use of rulers and stencils as the composition notebook doesn’t have as many guides for making straight lines and squares and etc the way that a dotted grid journal would, but it’s still very doable.

These two weekly spreads are from a bujo from 2018. I’m very far from this now. I don’t really use any of these techniques or ideas, but the point is that I felt free enough to try it in this book. (Also, I don’t own the images pasted into the bujo’s I found them online, printed them and pasted them into my weekly spreads)
I learned from these that I don’t love doing themed monthly spreads, it became too hindering. I also have learned I love to decorate the front and backs of composition books with pictures from the whole year collage style.

2. Art Journals/ Quote Art Journal’s:
This is one of my favorites, because I really love words. I just can’t help but to love the power of words. And I didn’t want to just leave all the quotes I liked pinned in a pinterest board that I rarely look at. Also it can be really cathartic, to make a spread for a quote, especially when I’ve had the quote stuck in my brain for a week and it gives me all the feels.

I used stock photos from pixabay and printed them and stuck them into the book. I picked photos that seemed to correlate with the way the words made me feel. I also try to pick a color to go with those emotions and words. I always glue 3 pages together to make them thicker and harder, then paint them white to give myself a blank canvas. That’s it. It’s rewarding, and often times healing.

3. Reading Journal:
As I said before, I love words. So, naturally I love to read. But after so many years of reading as many books as possible they start to blur together and I really wanted to start to analyze what I was reading a little more. Like what drew me to this book, what stuck in my mind? What was memorable about the book? What was forgettable?

Reading Journal

I decorated the cover with printed fairy tale images and some fairy tale style washi tape I had. Printed out the words ‘once upon a time…’ and added that as well.

I also have a little gadget called a sprocket that prints 6×6 photo stickers. So I use that to print out the cover of the book I have read then add that to my entry about the book. Ideally I’d like to add favorite quotes as well from the books. But I mostly listen to audio books now (since having kids it’s just easier and more plausible) and I find I have a hard time remembering quotes or remembering to think about remembering quotes.

4. Junk Journal:
It’s in the name guys. Literally whatever you find goes into this one, kind of like the smashbook concept (I’m proud to say I was doing the smashbook concept already in like the 6th grade)
So often times what I’ll put in my junk journals is little memntos from restaruants we go to as a family, cut up card collages from birthday parties, wrappers from something unique that we got while at a festival or etc. Anything that’s ‘junky’ that i’d normally throw away but that has potential to be a memory. Sometimes newspaper clippings like when the packers won the superbowl. Obituaries from passed family members. Birth announcements, bridal shower invites. etc.
I really only have 2 books like this from my lifetime (4 if you count the 2 haggard, homemade construction paper and paper stapled together books from the 6th grade) So it’s not like i’m making hundreds of them and they are taking up soooo much space, but all those stacks of cards would definitely take up space. It’s a good way to let go of more clutter without having to fully let go.

Also, I know that this one I’m showing isn’t in a composition notebook. But it’s the one I’m still working on filling. I have used composition notebooks for this purpose and they work perfect.

5. Commonplace book
This is just my general book where I write everything. Not a journal, my journal is reserved more for emotions and recalling my day, memories and milestones. I have a section to write about my spiritual journey, so whatever may peak my interest or that I’m learning about is recorded there. For example the exploration of soulmates, different crystal’s and their properties, tarot card readings, anything note worthy from meditations, including moment’s I felt were eye opening or an awakening for me. I have a cooking spot, where I write random things about cooking that I want to remember, conversions, recipes, recipe ideas etc. An area for my monthly, and yearly vision boards, random section and a section for blog post ideas. And more room to add more tabs if there’s another area I want to add. This one is private, but not in the way a journal is. If my kids ever looked back through it they’d find more of information on certain topics, and recordings of my meditations, whereas if they read my journal there would be some raw and vulnerable things in there.


I make the tabs myself with cut up index cards and clear tape.

There’s a page from my vision board section. I do a spread like this then the 2 pages following I write clearly my affirmations and my goals. The affirmation’s just consist of whatever is calling to me at the time. Sometimes I’ll also record certain things I’m feeling drawn too as well, for example in July I felt this obsession with sunflowers. So that was my flower for the month. This month I’m really feeling inclined towards lotus flowers. So I write that, sometimes I include a picture. Sometimes if I find interesting information or symbolism I’ll write that next to it. For example did you know that a Lotus has roots solely in mud (what??? How cool!) and it submerges every morning, pristine and beautiful. Because of that its often associated with rebirth in many different cultures. (I found that info here:https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/a9550430/lotus-flower-meaning/ so…don’t sue me. I definitely didn’t know much about the lotus and that page was very informative, this is the kind of info that you’d find in my commonplace book. Also if i’m feeling drawn to the color orange I record that too. It’s all a reflection of me at this time and in that moment and its good to look back sometimes and reflect on where I was in all these different ways.

A couple more quick ideas:
a nutrition journal/food log
a book to write each other quick notes in the family and house (things like ‘hope you have a great day, we are out of milk)
dream journal
Meditation journal
One line a day journal
Milestone book for your kids/collection of letters on every birthday
General list/goal log

Hope you enjoyed!

-Amber




Easy marinated grilled chicken

My one and only favorite thing about summer (ok, maybe not only, but summer and I aren’t friends mkay?) Is grilled food.

There’s something about it, that’s fresh and bright and makes me feel a way that winter foods and even spring foods never can. Although we only get a short time here in Socal to truly enjoy summer before it turns into hot as hades, your living in the armpit of the devil temperature.

For the marinade you will need:


3 med garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

I used a pound and a half of boneless skinless chicken breasts and let them marinate in the fridge for 6 hours. Then 30 mins before grilling let it rest at room temp.

Grill on the grill until chicken Temps at 165

We also marinated some veggie kabobs and grilled those up as well then made ourselves tacos with some corn tortillas. Heeelllloooo summer vibes ✨

The Humble spud

I’ve decided to feature an item/ ingredient and make recipes with it once a month, and also provide some ideas on what can be made with them. This month is, potatoes, you may have already guessed that though from the title.

There are so many thing’s you can do with a simple potato, its truly the blank canvas of the frugal cooking world, along with it’s brothers and sisters; rice, flour, eggs and beans.

Not all of the recipes will be strictly just potato, but I am trying to be inventive and to come up with cheaper recipe ideas that don’t break the bank, hopefully if anything you can gain some inspiration from all of this. The firs recipe I’m featuring will be Air fryer french fries. Honestly, we don’t do it any other way in my house, my boy’s and I love french fries with every fiber of our being, but for the cost of one measly bag of frozen fries I could make triple that amount in just regular potatoes. 4 or 5 potatoes will leave you with more fries then what you’d get at the store, you will be up to your eyeballs in french fries..which if you ask our french fry loving house isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Here’s what you can expect to see for this month’s feature in recipes:

  • Air fryer french fries
  • Twice baked potatoes (freezer friendly)
  • Potato tacos (kid tested and approved)
  • Gnocchi
  • Potato chicken casserole
  • Potato taquito’s
  • potato soup
  • southwestern potato hash
  • Irish mex potato and egg skillet
  • Potato pancakes

    Ill add the link’s to the post as we go 🙂 This will be Septembers feature, and I hope as we go along you all are inspired and enjoy this new series idea. If there’s anything else you’re wanting to see or to see more of on this blog of mine, hit me up in the comment’s or social media. Give your girl a follow, and a like on IG and Pinterest 🙂


Moroccan Inspired Chickpea Stew

Ingredient’s:
1 t Cumin
1/2 t Chilli powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1 1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t garlic
3 1/2 C Garbanzo Beans
1/2 C water
28oz can of pureed tomatoes
1/2 of a medium onion diced

This recipe is embarrassingly easy.

I feel like most ‘stew’s’ or soups are really easy. Its mostly throwing together ingredients and letting them simmer together, making a beautiful symphony of flavors and sometimes textures. It’s funny that I find soups so easy, because I really don’t eat soup a lot. But I am in love with the warm, comforting flavors of this stew. Even better, it’s fairly cheap to make. You  can place it with rice, or make some Naan bread (or both). I love fresh warm Naan bread with something like this, it’s literally a comfort meal for me.

First you are going to saute the diced onion in a pan with some olive oil, on medium low heat long enough that it becomes tender and translucent.

No crunchy raw onions in this dish. (in the picture you’ll see some diced up tomato, not necessary, I just had a tomato that was about to go bad so I chopped it up and threw it in there with the onions towards the end rather then waste it).

Second and basically the last step for this recipe:

Pour in the pureed tomatoes add all the seasonings, simmer on low for a little bit (about 5 minutes to try and allow the tomatoes gain some flavor before adding the Garbanzo beans and those suck up all the flavor) then add in the garbanzo beans and water. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes, add in small amounts of water if it’s getting too thick too fast. But not too much or you’ll lose the seasoning and it’ll just taste like watery tomatoes and beans. The trick is simmering on low, until it slightly thickens up to a stew consistency. Slow and steady is the pace, not fast.

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That’s it, serve over rice like in the pictures or with a side of fresh Naan bread.

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Ways to make your child’s birthday special

Way’s To Make Your Child’s Birthday Special

As parents, we all want to give our kid’s the best birthday possible. Birthday’s can be a milestone in a person’s life and typically you don’t get another 4th, 6th, 10th (and on) birthday. But sometimes circumstances in life don’t allow us to give that Pinterest worthy birthday party we so desire. Maybe, in leu of a birthday party you’re doing a family trip to somewhere special, or maybe Covid-19 has required self-quarantine and social distancing so a birthday party is just not possible. Whatever the reason may be, I’m here to give you a couple of ideas to try and make that special day as special as you possibly can, on your own, at home, and more frugally.

 

 1. Make A Birthday Countdown:

Half of the fun of trips, holiday’s and birthday’s is in part that anticipation. The knowing it’s so close and will be here soon. It’s this energy that can’t be copied; anticipation. Even as an adult I set up countdowns for myself, countdowns to a family vacation, countdown’s too finishing a project or workout regimen.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, or time consuming, it can be whatever you want it to be. As an adult I use a countdown on my phone. But for my almost 4-year-old, we took pages from sticker books he’d done and drew big numbers on it, so he could see them clearly, we also drew party themed items on it, and taped them above our fireplace so he could see them clearly. At the end of every night he pulls a number off, and excitedly exclaims to us ‘FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL MY BIRTHDAY’ we all cheer and feel excited for him and his excitement. We also wrapped his present’s and placed them under his countdown already. Normally we wouldn’t place his present’s out for him to see until the actual day of the party, but there won’t be a party this year, and anticipation folks.

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2. Let them help:

I’m not sure if this is a thing for older kids, but all my kids ever want to do is help with things. Everything is just so exciting at their age. They want to help hang balloons; they want to help decorate birthday banners. They want to help make the cake. So, I let them. It makes it harder for me, for sure. It makes it more time consuming and messy, but it creates an event for them. They don’t always get to help mama make a cake; they don’t always get to help mama stick balloons up on the wall. We let them help even if it makes it harder, because it makes it more special, and the key to celebrating a birthday without doing a party for whatever reason is making it special, making it feel like it’s not just any other day passing by.

 

3. We do special things:

This kind of goes hand in hand with number 2. But again, part of doing a birthday without a party, is making it special. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, because maybe the special circumstance is that you were laid off and just can’t afford it. We do what we can to make the day feel like it’s more then just the day before or the day before that. For example, my son’s 4th birthday is on a Monday this year. But we will be spending the weekend celebrating him, and all of Monday too. Because, we aren’t doing a party. You don’t have to spread it out like us, it’s just our choice to do so. We will be trying to create special things for the weekend. Small things. We have a bubble machine, so we will fill up their little pool and turn the bubble machine no. The machine was fairly inexpensive and I’ve used it for the backyard for almost every birthday party. It’s so simple but the kids love it. I got mine from amazon but other places sell inexpensive ones as well.  Another thing my family has always done is we get to pick our birthday dinner. My mom would ask what we wanted, we got to pick anything, and she’d make it. I almost always picked Enchiladas and my sister almost always picked Lasagna. So even though my son’s only 4, I asked him what he wanted and guess what, he knew exactly what he wanted. Pizza, and burgers with fries, those are his favorite. He can easily put down 3 burgers on his own, and he loves them. And he’s always excited when there’s pizza. He also really loves carrot sticks, oranges, broccoli (raw not cooked) so I’ll probably make a little platter of veggies and oranges, to add the extra special element. So, on his actual birthday we’ll have pizza and another night we’ll have burgers, just for him. Any way that you can find, to make it special will make it special, so don’t over think it.

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4. Decorate Anyways:

So, you don’t have a bunch of people coming over for a birthday? So, what. You still deserve to celebrate your baby; your baby still deserves to celebrate. Decorate anyway, with balloons and streamers and homemade signs, homemade wrapping paper if you want too. Even if it’s just you alone, celebrating your own birthday, hang some balloons, get a cupcake, blow out a candle. This day is important, and should be celebrated even just a little. In whatever way. Plus I think when you do the actions of decorating,  it mentally puts you in the head space that something special is happening.

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5. Make A Gift:

All anyone ever wants for their birthday is to be thought of. They want to know that they are loved and known and that someone cared enough to put effort out for them. Some of the best gift’s I’ve ever received weren’t necessarily one’s full of monetary value, but one’s that really spoke to the volumes of love the person has for me. So, for my son, I found free pintable’s for toddlers of color by number and connect the dot’s and I am making him a little activity book of his own, filled with the activities that he loves. I know he will love it, and that makes it worth the energy I put into making the gift for him, it also makes his birthday a little more special to have something as a gift that he loves and someone thought of for him.

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Birthday’s aren’t just any other day no matter what’s going on.

I think the bottom line here is that everyone deserves to feel special on their special day, but it doesn’t have to be picture perfect, it just has to be thoughtful. What it really comes down to is whatever you think up, and whatever your love filled heart creates will make that day special and happy and wonderful. What really matters is celebrating that we have had another year together. What we are celebrating is that our babies are growing, strong, and healthy and into beautiful humans. What matters is celebrating the tenderness of loving another human being so much that  you recognize and celebrate the day they were birthed and came into the world, enriching your life with an explosion of everything that is them.

 

Happy Birthday Edwin, I love you sweetheart.

5 steps to help you start your spiritual journey

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  1. Meditate. I was the biggest skeptic about this, but the positive result’s the go with meditating are undeniable. The clarity alone that comes with it, and the ability to sort through emotional baggage is worth starting a habit of doing it at least a couple times a week. There’s so much power in the mind, so much power resting in our brain’s that we haven’t even unlocked, I believe in this so much, that’s why I decided to take a degree in psychology. Because I have always always believed in the power of our emotions and minds. And while there is much more science to psychology then just that simple sentence, I don’t think it’s wrong.
  2. Write a list. Write a list of all the things that bring you joy, of all the things that make you happy. Take a while to do this. Take a couple days, or a week or a month. Really think about it. Find the things in life that light you up from the inside out. The things that bring you so much joy that when you talk about them you cant wipe the smile off your face, that your body vibrates with the sheer excitement and joy of not only doing it, but that you just can’t contain the joy of Sharing it with others. Zone in on those things. Fill your life to abundance with them. Because life is hard, and we need those things. You aren’t over indulging I promise. You are bringing light into your world, the way that even children know how. We lose that light along the way, we lock it away, scared to share it, maybe even sometimes we think it’s silly or we might be judged. That no one is possibly ever that happy. That’s not true. Children have it correct, and we as adult’s have it wrong. Fill yourself to the brim with the simplest joys and loves of the world, and never ever let them go. Share them, expose them, glow like the sunshine. It’s in you, it’s in me. Our world is only as beautiful and bright and light as we make it.
  3. Research. Research like you’re in college again with the most important term paper of your life due. We cannot and never should, (and I mean ever) take any one resource as the word of God. (Yes you can be spiritual and believe in God too, but that’s neither here or there for this blog or this blog post). Basically, there is a lot out there in the world, to read, to know, to learn. We are never the teacher, we are the students of the universe, and should remain open and accepting, and forthcoming. Enlisting the knowledge of those before us and those around us. There are so many religions, so many paths, it would be a shame to not try to gain perspective from them all. There is no one right way, no cookie cutter path. You have to find what works for you. We always need to learn. There is always more to be known.

 

  1. Write it down. Create a book or journal. Record your spiritual journey. Write down your favorite quotes from books that your using to research. (See step 3) Write down your thoughts, emotions, conclusions and whatever else from your meditation sessions. Write down your dreams if you feel inclined. This allows us to remember more of what we were thinking in that moment and dissect it. Everything you write wont line up with who you are in a year. But how crazy would that be if it did? How silly? We are not stagnant. We are human. Constantly growing, changing, fluctuating into different (hopefully better) versions of ourselves. But every step we take in our journey’s are of the upmost importance, and reflection is always good. The only constant variable for humanity is change. So, write it down, so that you can see how far you’ve come, or so you can remember that quote that pulled you through a dark time. Or so you an remember that one thing that started it all.
  2. Ignore the skeptics. Yup. I had to put it. There will be skeptics no matter what you do. Do you know how many faces I get when I talk about Spirituality, tarot cards, oracle cards and crystals? A lot. My husband is one of them. I do an oracle card spread once a week. I don’t think of it as the ultimate answer to any questions. Or what it says is gold I take it with a grain of salt. Part of me takes it seriously, the other part of me is still a skeptic. But I have always always been drawn to these things, even when I was young. But out of fear people would judge me or think I was weird(er) I avoided them. I don’t want to anymore. I’m too old to deny myself the things that bring me joy and to steer from the path I think I should be on. It provides me with some clarity on my life. And honestly, that’s really what matters. We all have ways of dealing, it could be tarot cards, it could be that sports game you watch every Sunday. We are all different. So, ignore the skeptics. If it lifts up your soul. If it fills up your cup. If it brings you a sense of right in your world, you are probably fine. Throughout history, people have always feared what they don’t know and what they don’t understand, that doesn’t make it wrong, so consider that when you consider the skeptics.

    -Amber

Why I started my spiritual journey

 

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The start

Recently, since the beginning of the year I have embarked on the craziest, and wildest journey I have ever thought to take. Spirituality.
I am reading and trying to learn as much as I can on different religions, and different spiritual concepts.

I started small, with meditation. Something I never thought was for me, and until recently never cared to even attempt. But I found myself desolate, crying over the drop of a dime, full of anxiety and thought’s that were toxic to me and knew that something needed to change. So I implemented a meditation regiment. Even if it meant waking up even earlier for the job that caused a lot of my anxiety, because it also meant having 15 minutes alone in my car in the parking lot to meditate.

So far, through meditation, intentional gratitude practices and journaling I have had happier moments, and moments of lightness and clarity. I lost those moments when I veered off the path recently, and began to doubt all that I was learning. And have found myself again, riddled with anxiety, crying at the drop of a dime, frustrated and feeling like I am stagnant and that my life around me is controlled by everyone except for me.

What a way to feel. I felt the exhaustion returning, my limbs heavy and weighed down by the energy around me and inside of myself. And the need to just lay down and do nothing.

My spiritual journey has awoken in me, understanding and clarity especially towards past hurt in my life that I had thought and assumed was healed but is not.

 

The Past

When I was in middle school, I was sexually assaulted by a boy a few years older than me. We had just moved to a new state and I had started an entirely new school. I was alone, and lonely and young. I didn’t understand fully what was happening, and allowed it to happen for longer then I should have. When I did come forward along with another girl, we had to speak in a courtroom.
A cold, sanitary room, with everyone’s eyes on you, passing judgement in ways that they don’t even realize. What’s worse is that my mom couldn’t make it that day, and my dad had to take me. I had to explain to everyone, in front of my dad how this boy had touched me in places that I never gave permission to be touched, and how long it had gone on for, while I simply did nothing.

I had said I was fine; I had told them I moved on. And I thought I had. It was no big deal. All he did was touch. It was no big deal, I just tried not to think of looking at my dad while I talked about it in that courtroom. I truly and honestly believed this to be a hurt that I had simply brushed off and was lucky enough to not have had emotional ramifications from. But I was wrong.

My mind has buried this memory. Blurred it, and tucked it away to keep me safe from emotions I didn’t want to face. Shame. Anger. Pain. Hurt. A loss of innocence. A loss of trust. Sometimes when the memory would come up, it’d feel so distant, like I was watching a tv show, and watching another girl. So much so, that I’d brush it aside. No big deal. It was no big deal. It was someone else’s past dreamed nightmare and I never had to confront it. I would think things like “maybe I made this all up.” Or “maybe it was my fault, maybe I did something that made him think it was ok. And if I did, what right do I have to cry about it.”
Did I say no? Did I even know I could? Doesn’t that sound crazy? But when your young, you don’t always understand your power. You don’t always understand you CAN say no.

It dawned on me, while meditating that I had not and have not healed this hurt. It dropped into my lap like a pile of burning coals, searing my skin, and leaving behind a painfully scarred and charred skin beneath the surface of what anyone could see.

I don’t believe that this event in my life defined me. But I do believe it’s a pain filled energy inside of me, eating away, needing to be healed and that I never would have figured that out without taking my steps into my spiritual journey.

I also recently discovered that I had not fully healed from my father in law’s suicide the way that I thought. I uncovered so much anger. A different layer, that I didn’t know of. I had forgiven and put aside so many other layers in the past years since he’s been gone. But didn’t realize there still remained more. The anger of a parent. Becoming a parent brings with it new emotions, new perspectives, and my anger towards him as a 2nd father figure in my life was seeping, like a festering wound. Anger that he had let his children find him like that. Anger that he took away any of our choices in the matter. Anger that he took away future memories. Future birthdays, holidays. Future love.

Anger, so red, so fucking hot that it was cold. Icy, and torturing, and crippling.

I have also learned, that some hurt’s will never fully heal, they will simply bust their stitches, and begin to bleed again. Needing to be re-cleaned, re-sterilized and re-stitched. There has become a lightness in me with that realization. That despite what so many think about suicide and grief, I do not have to just get over it.

My conclusion

We are all made up of the universe. The energy, the love and hope, and sorrow of the world is what makes us. I have always always believed that in my heart. I just didn’t know how to utilize that, I didn’t know how to heal myself, or deal with the hurricane of constant emotions inside of me. These are big reasons of why I started my spirituality journey. A process of healing had to happen in order to find my true potential and happiness. I started this path to find that clarity, lightness and happiness that I so longed for. I haven’t regretted it.

Chocolate yogurt pancakes

 

 

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My kids are big fan’s of pancakes, and I find myself always making pancakes or having them ready in the freezer, sometimes both.
So, naturally I have a pancake recipe for you, and its delectable.
What a WORD. Delectable It’s just a super fancy way to say delicious, but I am super loving that word and how it rolls off the tongue.Here’s what you’ll need:1 egg
1 cup of plain yogurt (you could try flavored, but mine was plain and I have no idea how flavored would turn out)
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted if not already)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (too much chocolate happening for you? these are totally optional and you can skip them)
2 cups of flour
coconut oil for the skillet (you can use butter but I like the way the coconut flavor transfers)In one bowl combine all wet ingredient’s, egg, yogurt, water, coconut oil, vanilla and sugar. Mix well.
In another mixing bowl combine dry ingredients, baking soda, powder, cocoa, flour and saltSlowly add in the dry ingredient’s to the wet ingredient’s mixing as you go.20200403_094027

Don’t mind my messy AF counter. Everything just gets shoved up their throughout the day, my entire family thinks we hire a maid to clean up after them (it’s me, the maid is me.)
You can add the chocolate chips at this point, or not, up to you. I love chocolate so we for sure added those little cones of joy.Add coconut oil to a skillet and on medium heat (if the pan get’s to hot, bump the temp down, or your pancakes will burn but be runny in the middle) spoon your batter onto the pan, for pancakes of whatever size you desire (maybe not like, face big though, we aren’t doing crepes)
Leave them be.I’m serious.When they have a good amount of bubbles, like when you were a kid and stayed at a hotel with friends, and one of you would hop out of the Jacuzzi and rush to push the button, and a rocket of bubbles would cover the Jacuzzi, those kinds of bubbles, but…pancake kind.20200403_095153That’s when it’s safe to flip that bad boy. When you flip pancakes, you cannot be timid. They smell fear, they will flop and make a mess EVERYWHERE if you don’t scoop and flip that pancake like the bad-ass we all know you are.Once you have that first flip, your pretty solid, just don’t forget about them. Pancakes aren’t a set and forget kind of thing, they take patience. You can’t walk away, because you may need to adjust the heat so they don’t burn. You have to really listen to what they want, they are a little needy. But after the first flip, let it cook a bit, and you can use the spatula to peek a little to see if that other side is good and done yet, that’s why after the first flip it’s pretty easy. Although once you master knowing how many bubbles till a flip, your pretty good throughout the whole thing. It just takes practice. My kids eat them like it’s the only thing they can eat for breakfast so I’ve had a lot of practice.20200403_100253-Amber

Jalapeno popper stuffed chicken

Ingredient’s:
1 medium jalapeno
2 chicken breasts
2 oz cream cheese
1/2 tbsp of butter
1/2 cup of cheese (I used a mixed blend, it’s the mexican blend but you can use any cheddar or cheddar mix)
1/4 cup of Parmesan
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper

For breading:
breadcrumbs in one bowl, (about 1/2 a cup to 1 cup)
1 egg mixed up in another bowl

To start your going to want your butter and cream cheese to be room temp. That way you can easily mash all of it together.
Chop the jalapeno, the size is up to you, I cut mine pretty small, it’s also up to you if you want to keep the seeds or deseed the jalapeno, if you keep the seeds it will be spicier.
Place your chopped jalapeno, and ALL other ingredients (except the chicken breasts and the breading ingredient’s) into the bowl with the jalapeno, mash it all up really good, this will be your filling for the chicken so your going to want to make sure it’s all mixed together.

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Unfortunately my phone was having issues and I don’t have in between pictures.  Also, in my picture there’s three chicken breasts, that’s because one of the breasts was so massive I cut it in half, so really you could probably do 3 medium to small breasts for this recipe vs 2. Take the chicken breasts and with a knife on the side, cut the chicken ‘in half’ but not all the way through, you want it to be able to open like your opening a book.  Stuff the cream cheese filling into the chicken breasts.
The next part can be a little tricky, because you will be dipping your filling stuffed breasts into the egg and breadcrumbs, but will be trying to keep a hold on it in a way that doesn’t let the filling fall out. You could go ahead and place the toothpicks along the edges now, but I didn’t want mine to be full of the batter.

Dip each breast into the egg mix, then into the breadcrumbs, coating thoroughly (always salt and pepper your egg and breadcrumb mix)
Then with tooth picks, about half an inch apart, join the two sides of the chicken breast together, somewhat closing the breast up, the better you can get those to hold the chicken closed the less filling will spill out.

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It’s looking pretty spikey, but trust me, it helps keep the filling in.
I sprayed each breast with some spray oil on both sides, then placed in the air fryer at 400 for 25 minutes.
You can always cook your chicken at a lower temp for longer.
your chicken will be done when the outside is golden brown, and the juices run clear. If you are in doubt, you can always let it rest then cut into it as small as you can to get a look, this may dry it out if you have to put it back in though.
I found the 25 minutes in the air fryer at 400 to be plenty of time.

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Also, on lighter news, amidst all the chaos of life, my oven has decided to no longer turn on.
Air fryer recipes a plenty may be coming.

-Amber

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