27 January 2016

Slow Cooker Beef Broccoli

Yum!


Well, it's been a while since I've posted a recipe, hasn't it? I've made this for the family a few times now and it's definitely a new addition to my repertoire. Don't you just love it when something new gets added to the mix? :)

When the girls get home from school and smell what's cooking, they get really excited about this one. Funny, because they've never cared for this dish at any Chinese restaurant. In fact, they don't even really like beef! Other than beef jerky, of course. :)

But this is different. The slow cooker makes the meat super tender and the sauce is delectable and slightly sweet.

What's not to love, right? Plus, it's packed full of my favorite vegetable: BROCCOLI.

I also love this dish because it's a one pot meal. No side dishes, salads, or extra veggies. Just pile it on top of your favorite rice!

And Costco makes it even easier with their big bags of organic brown and white rice in the freezer section.

Give it a try! I promise, it's better than take-out!

Slow Cooker Beef Broccoli
serves 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 pounds flank steak (this makes the meat more shredded at the end) or sirloin steaks (more intact pieces and equally tender) slice meat in pieces about 1/4 in. thick.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ⅔ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 4-5 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch + 2 tablespoons cold water

Instructions:
  1. Add steak, salt, beef broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and chili flakes. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low 4-5 hours.
  2. About 20 minutes before serving, uncover the slow cooker. In a small bowl whisk corn starch and water until dissolved. Add to slow cooker and stir. Cover and allow to cook another 20-25 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, place broccoli in a large bowl, fill with ½ inch of water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Drain, stir broccoli into slow cooker, and serve.
Notes:
For a bit of a spicy kick, add a full 1-2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes!
Additional options: sesame seeds, water chestnuts, other veggies, or even cashews.

Recipe adapted from mother thyme 

19 January 2016

Honoring Dad in Oak Glen

Snow on the ground!


Can these two be any cuter?


Morgan tries out the antique plow.


Sweet boy!


Wee!


Mama and her man cub.


Fun with sissy.


Halmoni and Gomo.

Even Halmoni played soccer.


Uncle Rich and his two little rascals.


Cutie pie.


Fun and games with the cousins.

We met up in Oak Glen to honor my dad on what would have been his 74th birthday. He loved this place. He loved picnicking, eating barbeque, and just being out in the fresh mountain air. Most of all, he loved being with his family and playing with his grandchildren.

I miss seeing the twinkle in his eye and the wide smile on his face whenever the kids were around. I miss his mere presence and his care over mom.


Dad,
Here, up in the mountains, we can feel you with us. You're watching as the kids play and in many ways, you're still taking care of mom. You've taught me that sorrow is only really sad when nothing good comes from it. Although we miss you every day, we're so grateful that our family has grown closer and more tender since you've been gone.

Many years ago, you brought us all here to these mountains. Time after time, we keep coming back... to play, picnic, and to make new memories but also to honor, remember, and to wait...until we can see you again.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

17 January 2016

The Living Desert


 Zachary's first time at the zoo.


 A full grown Burrowing Owl.


Discovering with daddy.


 Animal show.


 Giraffes.





 He loved playing the African drums.





 My two birdies.


 Brushing the goat.


 Learning to pet gently.





 Butterfly Exhibit.








Roar! :)




 Cactus slide.


Wee!!

We hadn't been to the Living Desert in years but we figured it was about time to renew our membership now that Zach's getting bigger. It was a fantastic cool morning to walk around and explore our local zoo. There was something for the girls as well as for the babe.

His favorite was the Discovery Center where he could touch everything as well as just walk around, explore, and play with dirt. The girls have always enjoyed the butterflies.

We'll be back!

14 January 2016

Trust in You


I'm loving this new song by Lauren Daigle. It's about trusting God, even when things don't go our way. I've always said it's easy to trust Him when life is comfortable but the Christian life has never been about easy living or settling in to the American Dream. In fact, Jesus says to take up our cross and follow Him. The cross is the very instrument of death. We read how ordinary people gave up everything to follow Him: their jobs, their possessions, their families, and even their very lives. They were not guaranteed health, wealth, prosperity, or even safety.
Faith is the confidence of things hoped for and the assurance about what we do not see. -Hebrews 11:1
We often want signs and clarity before we take a leap of faith but we have to remember that God has a bigger picture in mind. He not only sees everything, He is with us and He goes before us.

Do we really believe God is good? Do we trust Him in every circumstance?

I read recently about a man who went to work with Mother Theresa. Upon arriving, she said, 'Is there anything I can do for you? And he said, ‘Yes, you can pray for me. You can pray that I have clarity.’ And she said, ‘No, I am not going to pray that you have clarity because clarity is the last thing that’s holding you back.’ He said, ‘Mother Teresa what are you talking about? You have had clarity your whole life.’ She said, ‘No, I’ve never had clarity. I’ve only had trust.’

This is my greatest prayer. 

That being a Christ follower would mean more than just a label or a lifestyle. That I would learn to trust God and follow Him, even into the dark places. Places I would never go without Him.

Will it be hard at times? Undoubtedly.
Will it cost us something? Perhaps everything.
Will it be worth it? He promises us so.

Lord, I will trust in You!


11 January 2016

Karen's Birthday Lunch

Janette, Karen (the birthday girl!) and Hailey.


Jill, me, and Melissa.


Fun as well as practical gifts. Pioneer Woman knives! :)


Jill made us all carrot cake in a jar. It was scrumptious!




My girlfriends and I gathered for lunch at the French inspired La Quinta Baking Company in honor of Karen's birthday. We're loving this new tradition of getting together on a Sunday afternoon to celebrate each of our birthdays. We also try to pick a restaurant that most of us have not yet tried. Fun!

Karen is as sweet a friend as you could ever ask or hope for. She is kind, loving, loyal, generous, and one of the most thoughtful friends I've ever known. All of us are so blessed by her friendship. We love you, K!

Warrior Wife Hike to the Cross


This weekend, 40 of us wives of all ages hiked to the top of the cross in honor of our husbands and marriages.
I loved being in the company of these sweet sisters in Christ!

We hiked and we laughed. We worshipped in song and we heard a teaching from the bible. Then we praised our Father in heaven and prayed over our husbands and our marriages. It was such a sweet and powerful morning!

What a privilege. I enjoyed every minute of it.

"Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” -Matthew 18:19-20


08 January 2016

The #1 Must-Read Book of the Year

His and Hers.

We're already 8 days into 2016 and boy, were we ready for a new year!

There's no doubt about it, 2015 goes down as one of our most challenging years. Come to think of it, 2014 was hard, too. Don't get me wrong, we were absolutely blessed with times of immense joy and abundant blessing but for much of the year, it felt like we were in survival mode. I know that often comes with the territory when you have a new baby but it was compounded by other factors as well.

Morgan was the busiest he's ever been. As usual, his plate was packed full of responsibilities; at work, home, tending to other family members, as well as managing the remodel of the family Big Bear cabin (which we finally COMPLETED right after Christmas and rented by New Year's weekend... YAY!!). I know they say, "You can't do it all" but over the last 2 years, it sure seems like my husband has. God bless him. He's one hard worker. 

We've also seen more sickness (and death) in these last 2 years than we've ever experienced in the last 20 years together. So yeah, it's been a tough couple of years.  

Of course, God doesn't promise us an easy or comfortable life, does He? For believers, He does, however, promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. Let's face it, this world is full of trials and upheaval. Everywhere we look, there is illness, discord, violence, and sin.  

It definitely makes me long to see Jesus return and His Kingdom come.

Although we'd love to experience a restful and rather boring 2016 (not really) something tells me, God has other plans. Life doesn't seem to get any easier.  

We spend much of our time trying to avoid suffering but this is the very place where we see God so clearly. He gives us perseverance, perspective, and breath. It makes me think that perhaps we should fear complacency or if we never suffered, instead?

Whether you've just come out the greatest year of your life or you are incredibly glad to see the year is finally over, one truth still rings clear no matter what...We need God more than ever.

What better way to have a deeper understanding of His character than to read His Word. I don't know about you but sometimes, the storms of life have a way of tossing us to and fro. In good times or bad, I want to be anchored firm to the Rock of Ages.


I don't have the luxury of leisurely reading just yet but the bible is my #1 must-read book of the year. I've been spending the first part of my mornings with my new One Year Bible. So far, it's been a great new habit and I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do in and through me this year.

So yeah, welcome 2016!

No matter what this year holds, may our souls be ANCHORED FIRM in the HOPE of all that is JESUS.

02 January 2016

New Year's Day Hike

Morgan's idea of "layering." Funny thing is, he already has a beard under that beard!


Here we come!


 It's pretty much a straight up climb.


 Kids taking a break. Only because we asked them to wait up for us. :)


 Who is this bearded man?


Grace loves to take care of her little friends.


 Oh, there's my husband! :)



The girls enjoying the view.


Zach liked playing in the dirt at the top.



Rory and Zach sharing rocks.


I guess he was hungry.


The kids!


The whole crew.


Good friends and a 3 mile hike to the Cross...
I'd say it was a FANTASTIC way to start the New Year!  

Welcome, 2016!

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