Archives for March 2012


Pork Tacos

Lately its been Mexican dishes coming out the wazoo at my house! We hosted a wedding shower at the house for dear friends and made pork & chicken tacos with a whopping 8.5 pounds of meat! I obviously missed the memo that there were only 15 people coming! So as you can imagine, we’ve had lots of tacoy type dishes for the last week.

Here is the base recipe I used for the pork…I cooked the chicken in a separate crock pot and just altered the amount of ingredients. The meat was very tasty, juicy, and well flavored.

6-8 pound boston butt (about the smallest you can find these is normally7 lbs.)
3 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups salsa
2 bay leaves

Place chili powder, oregano, cocoa powder, salt, salsa, and bay leaves into the bottom of crockpot and stir to mix. Remove excess fat from pork and rinse off. Place pork on top of the liquid mixture in crockpot. Cook for approximately 8 hours on low heat. When the pork is falling apart and is extremely ford tender, it easily pulls apart, it is finished.

Discard liquid from crockpot and pull pork apart with two forks and don’t be afraid to use your hands if necessary. I completed this task on my cutting board but you might find it easier to do it directly in the crockpot. Just make sure you discard the liquid prior to this task! You could save the liquid as a sauce for the tacos, but I found it to be greasy from all the pork drippings and just too much liquid.

Heap up your tacos with plenty of pork and lots of side fixings…salsa, limes, cilantro, cheese, & guacomole.



I forgot to take a picture of an actual taco with all that meat, but here it is in a quessadila.


Who’s special day is it really?


It’s my kid’s birthdays today and I am SO estatic!!! It means that I’ve somehow survived the last 4 years intact….or rather, the kids are still intact. And I’m sure you’re asking yourself…I didn’t realize she had twins. Well, I don’t….they just happen to have been born on the same day, 2 years apart! Crazy, right?

So if you don’t know me personally, let me explain what I think of birthdays…I think they are the most awesome, most wonderful day in the entire year. It is a day devoted to YOU and you get to do WHATEVER you want. So naturally, I love my kids birthday…almost as most as mine. It’s a day for cupcakes, popsicles, balloons, playing at the park, and favorite dinners…oh wait, that’s probably pb&j,and  not the roast chicken I had in mind.

So here’s to a preschooler & toddler who light up my world, drive me crazy as often as they make me smile, but who I wouldn’t give up for anything in this world.

Happy Birthday to all the birthday kids out there today!



Ann Voskamp, Part I

Wow, what a weekend I’ve had. So emotionally wrent, so uplifting and recharging, so much to give thanks to God for, and so much to think about. Lucky & Blessed… me and about 1000 other women who were able to hear Ann Voskamp this weekend at a local church’s women’s retreat. If you aren’t familiar with Ann’s work, check out One Thousand Gifts….

Once again, Wow. That is about all I can say. On one hand, I feel so emotionally exhausted and on the other, I feel like I can’t stop from smiling and picking up my pen to write my gratitude list. As I sit in Starbuck’s right now, I’m sure I could be getting quite a few curious stares…I’ve got a smile plastered to my face and keep seeing all these moments right in front of me to be thankful for….the teenage girl laughing as she runs through the pouring rain, the mother & daughter sharing small talk over chocolatey drinks…and all I want to do is shout and say…you are all beautiful and God loves you so much!!! Think they’d let me back in Starbucks if I did that???? Probably not….so I simply hope my smile will shine on those around me and hope they know how much God really does love them.

So you’re probably wondering what type of women’s retreat this really was…so to start off, I’ll try to give a brief description of Ann’s book and how much it has impacted my life…

Ann’s goal is to impart on people how to live their life full – with all the joy capable of receiving from God. The most amazing part of the book is that its not like Ann has had this easy life, with everything going her way, and she simply walks on untested faith and skips along merrily in the clouds. Rather, this most miraculous lady who so generously allows God to use her and her life experiences…has been through hell & back. She’s lost those dearest to her, suffered from numerous trials, and yet, she has found a way to rise above and to let her life exemplify what she believes. And along the way, she asks the tough questions…and most importantly, gives thanks to God. For as she said this weekend…When I am thankful for His gifts, it is as if my afflictions are eclipsed by the glory of God….

So what have I taken away from all this??? Quite a lot. The need, the importance, of getting back to chronicling my own daily gifts from God and slowly proclaiming to the world how God has helped me in the midst of the trials I’ve been through in my life.

So I’ll start with my list of thankfulness…

#1. Those girlfriends that inspire me in my Christian journey, those that pray with and for me, those I can have really deep conversations with about the Bible and what it means to me and them…the women that sat by my side during the weekend and lifted their voices in praise to God…so thankful for women like that in my life.

#2. And I’m just as thankful for those girlfriends who share a different faith or hold different beliefs…these women keep me grounded, remind me of how special we all are in God’s eyes…no matter what you believe God to look or be like. These women stretch me, make me ask tough questions, and really think about what truly matters at the end of the day.


#4. The joy in that little girl’s eyes as she looks at the sand like its ice cream and tries to cram as much of it as possible into her mouth, all at once


#6. The sweet sounds filtering through my ears….you are never as thankful for the senses until you lose one

#7. Raindrops on a tin roof

#8. The opportunity to teach children about our need to share God’s love with others

#9. For bringing me through the rain, through the valley, up the mountain…just so I could be thankful for seeing all the beauty from the mountaintop

#10. Being able to look down from the mountain and see everything you’ve been through and knowing you’ve made it through…all thanks to God’s grace

Thanks for letting me share the journey of this weekend with you. There will be more, much more, to come as I reflect…

May God bless you, right where you are, and show you the cherish-able moments all around you.



“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18


Coldframing It

So as you now know, I am (just a tad) obsessed with germinating seeds. For years now I’ve turned my kitchen into a mini greenhouse every January – March but I’ve always wanted to have a Cold Frame so I could grow additional seedlings outside. There are many benefits to having a Cold Frame such as the plants get lots of sunshine directly from the source and it allows you to extend your outdoor growing season. But my main reasons are more self-centered…it looks really neat to me and it gives me more space to grow MORE seedlings! Also, I would give anything for a real walk-in cedar sided greenhouse but on this stay at home mom budget, that is not happening. So, in the mean time…here is my version of that fancy.

Happy Gardening!



Gardening Update

One of my greatest loves in life is planting seeds and watching them germinate. Wait, its not yours too? You don’t love the feel of dirt in your hands or feel immense awe at watching something sprout to life? My dream job would be to do this every day! I actually have grand plans to plant heirloom seeds for plant sales when I retire…but shhh, its my secret!

A few weeks ago we got our seeds in the mail and I cannot explain the joy, the elation, the pure delight in seeing them. I also get extremely excited when the seed catalogs appear. If you’ve never seen a seed catalog, you are missing out! The pictures are a delight, as are all the descriptions about each plant….the taste, the texture, the flavor….oh, and don’t forget all the great gardening advice they give out. As you can see, I could go on & on.

Many of our plants will be seeded directly into the garden but we start our cucumbers, tomatoes, and for the first time – some of our herbs indoors. This is the part I LOVE most. You get to plant the seeds in little containers and watch them come alive. And they start from nothing but this small seed. It blows my mind each and every year, each and every planting.

Then once they sprout, you have to thin some out. This part seriously makes me so sad and I can barely stand it. So I try to plant as few seeds as possible, praying for a good germination rate. (Germination rate is how many seeds actually sprout versus how many you planted…I just know you couldn’t make it through the day without this knowledge!)

So without further adieu, here is a photologue of how our seedlings are coming along!

Yes, I am aware we have a mold issue in some of the tomato plants…we’ll talk about that in a later post…for now, just focus on the joy of watching things grow!

So dirt beneath your nails really isn’t your thing? Turning your kitchen window into a mini greenhouse isn’t your idea of decor? Luckily for you, there are a few local options for buying plants already germinated and ready for the garden…

Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry…a really neat non-profit in McClellanville where you can get veggie plants in March and April.

Plantasia…a wonderful plant sale by Charleston Horticultural Society for those of you with a flower gardening thumb.

No room for a backyard garden? As long as you have a sunny window or porch stoop then you should give some herbs a try. Basil, thyme, rosemary…just a few plants that grow well in potted containers and will generously supply all your culinary spice needs.

Happy Gardening!



Keegan-Filion Farm Meat Share

A good friend of ours, author Aaron Newton of A Nation of Farmers, has a rule for his family. They only eat meat if they know the first name of the person who raised the animal. When he first shared this new way of eating, I thought – wow, what a great idea…but is it all that realistic? Is it really possible if you’re not extremely entrenched in your local farming community? I could understand the desire but I just wasn’t sure about the realistic possibilities.

I’m pretty lucky and blessed that my Fisherman Husband catches all the seafood we consume but what opportunities were there for meat consumption from local farmers? A few local cattle farms offer meat shares or packages but these were only for beef. And while I love beef, I have to admit that I always dreamed of a farm that could offer a variety of meat choices.

Luckily for me, my dream came true! Keegan-Filion Farm in Walterboro, SC began an assorted meat share program this January which runs similar to a CSA. Each month you receive 20 pounds of various cuts of pork, beef, and chicken. The meat is pasture raised, antibiotic free, and you can feel good knowing it has been humanely processed.

They have 3 and 6 month shares available. The 6 month share comes out to $110/month which is only $5.50/lb. I think this is a fantastic price! You can get to know the farmers, Annie & Marc, visit their farm, read their newsletters, etc. It makes you feel great to support a local farm, it allows you to have healthier cuts of meat for better health, and it gives you a clear conscious that the animals had a good life. If you don’t believe me on the importance of a good life for animals, watch Food, Inc. and then go visit Keegan-Filion or another local farm. It’ll make you see the drastic difference in how these animals are treated. And, if that wasn’t enough, the meat simply tastes better. It has more flavor and depth than anything you’ll find at the grocery store.

We got quite the assortment in our share this month…beef roast, pork chops, ground pork, whole chickens, kielbasa, flank steaks, ground beef, and the list goes on!

Click here to learn more or visit their website.

If you are interested in other Lowcountry livestock farms click here. Cordray Farms in Ravenel, SC offers an 1/8 side of beef share which is a great way to get about 50 pounds of beef at a very good price. The smallest size many farms offer is 1/2 a side of beef, so the 1/8 of a share is a great option.

Don’t live in the Lowcountry and interested in finding livestock farms near you? Eat Wild’s website includes 1,300 farms throughout the US and Canada, so there is a good bet you could find a local farm in your area.

So here’s to more of us eating meat from farmer’s we know on a first name basis!



I can hear!

Hello! I am sure you’ve all been so worried, wracking your brains as to where I’ve been…Well, after two weeks of strep throat and double ear infections with complete hearing loss, I am finally back in the land of the living and hearing!

Before this hearing loss, I always thought it a bit trivial to thank God for birds tweeting or water twinkling through a stream. Well no longer! These are precious sounds that I give huge thanks to God for and even includes the shrieks & shrills of young kiddos.

I’m also hugely thankful for my mom coming to stay with me for a week. I seriously was in tears last Sunday morning trying to figure out how I was going to make it by myself with two Danish Papoose’s running ramp-id thru the house. My wonderful fisherman had already taken care of the kids for a week by himself, and understandably, was chomping at the bit to get out of the infirmary and have conversation with people who weren’t constantly saying, “I really can’t hear or understand what you’re saying.”  So my mom cleaned my house, washed my dishes, and read books to kiddos. And I have the most wonderful friends who brought me meals, tasty treats, and ferried me to Dr’s offices. Even if I couldn’t hear, I was very much taken care of.

My hearing still comes and goes, but all in all I am much improved from where I was. This experience was a great reminder to be thankful for those senses we (or at least I) take for granted way too often.