mama wears hot pants

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Iced Coconut Mocha Protein Latte

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy coffee in the spring and summer. I usually make a big batch either to share or I store it the fridge for quick afternoon caffeine and protein boost. Feed the muscles!

Enough to share:

1/2 c. canned coconut milk (full fat, not light)
1c. strong coffee
1/4 c. cocoa powder
2-4 scoops vanilla protein powder
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/8 tsp. salt

Blend all ingredients in blender or in thermos with immersion blender. Serve over ice.

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Mayan Mocha>Pumpkin Spice Latte

I don’t like the Pumpkin Spice Latte. There, I said it. It’s true. I have tried it many times thinking perhaps I would come to my senses and join the masses of devoted PSL lovers. Even still, my preference lies elsewhere.

When in the blink of an hour the steamy midwest summer turns to blustery winter I crave the warmth of a Mayan Mocha. Coffee, chocolate, cinnamon & smokey chilies…Perfect to sip by a fire and share with friends.

Mayan Mocha Mix
1 c. Powdered Sugar
2/3 c. Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/16 t. Ancho Chili Powder (can be found on Amazon or at your local global foods market-do NOT substitute another type of chili powder)

Sift all ingredients together. Store in airtight container.

Mayan Mocha Coffee Drink
1 c. fresh Brewed Coffee
2 T. Full fat canned coconut milk
2 T. Mayan Mocha Mix

Blend all ingredients together with immersion blender or in conventional blender.

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Clean Ranch Dressing Recipe

Recently I have been working towards amping up my kids veggie intake. One thing that has helped is something my friend has done for years. She makes a veggie tray each week to place on the table at every meal. This provides kids with choices and constant opportunity to try new textures and flavors. Honestly I have been quite surprised at the vegetables some of my pickiest eaters have been willing to try.

A couple of my kids really enjoy dipping their veggies in ranch salad dressing. But the long list of strange ingredients on the back of the bottle bothered me. So I started experimenting to find a combination of fresh, recognizable ingredients that satisfied our taste buds. Here is our favorite. I hope you like it too. If you try out the recipe let me know your thoughts.

-Makes approx 2 cups.
-Will keep in refridgerated in
an airtight container for 4 days.

3/4 c water
1/3 c canned coconut milk
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 ripe avocado
1 clove garlic, crushed & peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 c fresh basil leaves (no need to chop) OR 1 T dried dill

Place all ingredients except the basil/dill in a clear, 2 cup measuring cup. Blend with an immersion blender (aka stick blender). I use the measuring cup that came with my immersion blender so I only dirty one dish. Then add the basil or dill and blend to combine.

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Margui’s Pan Seared Chicken

I made this chicken last week after grocery shopping with no list (a bad, bad idea for me). I had very little time to shop and was just trying to fill the cart with many colors of fresh produce and a variety of protein sources. I got chicken breasts figuring I could surely find some yummy way to prepare them. As I stood staring at the spice rack the idea for the marinade came as my eyes fell on my favorite Creole seasoning left over from my former love of Creole red beans and rice.

As I got cooking the smell of the spicy chicken wafted through the house and beckoned my daughter, Marguerite. She stayed by my side helping with the chicken and Roasted Asparagus until they were done. She asked to have it for dinner, bedtime snack and then breakfast the next morning. She loved it so much I had to make it her namesake.

Marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Chicken:
2 lbs chicken breasts
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 c Chardonnay or chicken stock

Combine marinade ingredients in a gallon size freezer zip top bag. Use a knife to pierce the chicken several times so the marinade will soak in. Put the chicken into the bag. Seal bag then knead chicken to mix marinade and coat the meat well. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Heat pan to medium heat. Add coconut oil to pan. When oil is hot remove chicken from bag with a fork and place in hot pan. Do not move the chicken once it hits the pan. Leaving the chicken in place will create a golden sear. Cook 6-7 minutes on each side until center is no longer pink. Remove chicken and leave it to rest on a cutting board. Add Chardonnay or chicken stock to the hot pan. Stir and scrape bottom of pan to remove tasty bits (this is called deglazing). Once liquid is simmering turn heat down to low and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Turn heat off. Slice chicken in 1/2 inch slices and place in serving or storage dish. Pour liquid from pan over chicken. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to eat later.

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Roasted Asparagus

I love asparagus. Truly. I love it so much I’m willing to overlook its flaws and enjoy it for what it is…delicious! Just the sight of it in the market gets me pumped as its presence on the produce shelf announces the sure arrival of spring. I have been making asparagus this way for 13 years. It’s simple, quick and flavorful. I think it’s about time to share.

1 lb fresh asparagus stalks
Olive oil
Salt
Ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350*. Wash and dry the asparagus and trim the woody ends off. My asparagus usually comes rubber banded at the top and bottom. I wash it while its still banded and shake it dry. Then, while its still banded, I use a chefs knife to cut off the bottom 1.5-2 inches of the stalks. Place the stalks on a jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides) and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss to coat and arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and as heavily as desired with ground black pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Asparagus is done when the end of the stalk can be pierced with a fork. Thicker stalks may take longer.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Last weekend one of the things I cooked for the week was a big batch of chicken fajitas in the crock pot. Throughout the week we simply heated a bowl of the fajita chicken and veggies and topped it with some sliced avocado.

4 Tbsp coconut oil (divided)
2 lbs chicken breasts
3 Tbsp Taco Seasoning
2 c salsa
3 bell peppers (any colors)
1 white or red onion
Ripe avocado to garnish

Heat 2 Tbsp coconut oil in large skillet on medium high heat. While the skillet is heating up rub taco seasoning into all surfaces of the chicken breasts. Add chicken to the skillet and sear on each side for 1-2 minutes until the outer surface is nicely browned. Remove chicken from skillet and put it in the slow cooker. Add salsa to hot skillet. Stir and scrape bottom of skillet to remove tasty bits. Simmer salsa for 3 minutes stirring/scraping constantly. Pour salsa over chicken. Cook in slow cooker for 6 hours on low.

After the chicken is good to go in the slow cooker chop the bell peppers into large bite-size chunks and cut the onion into wedges. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp coconut oil in skillet on medium high heat and sauté the bell peppers and onions so they are hot but still pretty crunchy. Remove from heat and refrigerate until chicken is done.

When the chicken is done shred it with two forks and add the previously sautéed bell peppers and onions. Stir to combine. Store in airtight container in fridge or serve immediately.

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Hate & Forgiveness

I’m at a coffee shop plugged in to my favorite playlist sipping a Mayan mocha. I came here to reflect. I came here to write. I came here for a yummy cuppa. And full truth be told, I came here for the opportunity to use the restroom without an audience of hungry, hobbit sized cabin fever sufferers.

Personal privacy issues aside…something has been on my mind for several months. Late last year I was speaking to a group of young women about my story and I was asked a difficult question. Several of the girls asked if I hate the person who raped me. As I answered the question I was surprised by the words coming out of my mouth. I guess I had not given much conscious thought to the answer I was presenting. Hearing it put into words was humbling.

I don’t hate him. Not at all. At some point early in my healing process I remember choosing to forgive. It was definitely a choice. It wasn’t a warm fuzzy moment. It was an ordinary moment on an ordinary day. And I’m pretty sure I did it just because its what the Bible says to do when you have been wronged. I know I did not fully understand the reasons or the effect of what I was doing.

I told the girls that it would have been a waste of my time and energy to keep nurturing ugly feelings of resentment and anger and hate. Those things were only going to hurt more, sink me deeper into depression and keep me from growing and thriving. I told them that I had discovered that my hurt wasn’t as much about the rape or the rapist but about deep, painful beefs I had with God.
“Why would God let this happen?”
“Where was He?”
“Why didn’t He protect me?”
“Did He abandon me?”
As I asked God these questions He showed me the answers (which are an entire series of posts to come). Simply choosing to obey His instructions to forgive, even when I didn’t fully understand what I was doing, cleared the negative fog so that I could ask and get answers to the questions which truly seared my insides.

This is what I want you to know. You are a game changer. You have a purpose and its not to be victimized or beat down. The sour feelings and thoughts you deal with are a roadblock to being who you’re meant to be and doing the things you’re meant to do. Forgiveness doesn’t only pardon the offender. It also frees the offended from crippling darkness. Ask God to help you forgive and leave justice to Him. He takes what’s wrong and makes it right.

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