Thursday, September 15, 2016

Italian Parmesan Tilapia

I needed a quick easy lunch. And something not PB&J. I'm not supposed to have processed meat right at the moment, so my favorite grilled cheese (with real Swiss cheese, not processed American cheese and 5 slices of black forest ham lunchmeat, and fresh baby spinach and a sliced avocado over whole wheat bread. Yum. There's not a good substitute for the ham so that meal will have to wait.

So what else is quick when the fridge is out of leftovers?
Chicken or fish usually. I try to keep a bag of frozen chicken breast and a bag of frozen tilapia or swai fillets in the freezer, and have found that the fish makes a super quick easy and healthy meal. I opt for the fish first, because they are faster and easier than chicken.
The last fish I had, though, cooked up a little dry, so I decided to try something new. I had little inspiration. I opened up the fridge, wondering if I ought to try it with some of the Asian Zing we got at Buffalo Wild Wings. That'd probably have been good. But then I had already thought to make a roast with some of that for supper tonight, and thought maybe I shouldn't make the same thing for two meals in a row. I am not usually a fan of salad with italian dressing in it, but somehow we have two or three bottles of various versions of italian salad dressing in the fridge.
Olive Garden's is my favorite. It's the only one I'll ever actually use on a salad. The rest are yucky on a salad. Ha. (In my opinion anyway. If you enjoy it, then by all means continue. Don't mind me.)

I opened a few different bottles of dressing and smelled them to see what I was in the mood to put on my fish, and that Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing won today!
What followed was simply divine! Not at all dry, full of flavor, and a completely wonderful after-church treat while my kids enjoyed their PB&J. I may or may not have licked my plate. ;)

Here's how I fixed it:

Italian Parmesan Tilapia

1/4 C Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing
1 T. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 C parmesan
1-2 Tilapia filets (I use frozen, and thaw them in the microwave before cooking)

Heat dressing and butter until bubbly. Add garlic and parmesan. Saute 2-3 minutes. Add tilapia. Season with salt and pepper. Turn periodically until fish is flaky in the center and cheese browns.
When serving, there will probably be extra sauce in the pan. Drizzle it over top.

Want some of the dressing? You can order some today. Olive Garden does not sponsor this post, but I do get a few cents if you order from my Amazon affiliate link. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Avocado Lime Ranch Copycat Recipe

I love food. And flavor. And apparently all things processed, because I can’t seem to think of anything not processed that I can eat (right now until this baby comes I’m supposed to be avoiding sugar, and processed food.) I have lost weight without trying, just trying to follow those two rules, and I’m not supposed to be losing weight right now in the last stages of pregnancy, so I knew I needed to up my fat intake. 

Enter avocado.

I was being good and making myself a salad for lunch after church (why do the best food creations for me always come on a Sunday afternoon? Weird.) and started wanting some avocado lime ranch dressing to go over top.
But it’s Sunday.
Chick-Fil-A is closed.

Plus technically their dressing is probably considered processed, but I’d have let myself do it anyway. Because, Avocado Lime Ranch.

So I decided to make my own. Here's what I came up with. It was completely delicious and satisfied my avocado lime ranch craving, and got myself some good probiotics and good fats at the same time. Win-win.

Avocado Lime Ranch

1 avocado
3/4 c. plain greek yogurt
1/2 to 1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp ranch seasoning to taste (I use homemade- from here)
2-4 Tbsp water to texture

Use immersion blender to mix all ingredients together.

That’s it! Easy peasy! You’ll see from my pictures how thick it is. I did not use a ton of water because I wanted mine fairly thick. Just add more water if you want it more “pourable”.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Pulled this from my archive - I wrote it in September 2015 but it never got published. It blessed and challenged me anew today, and I pray that it does you too.

Today I had an almost audible question from God in the Spirit that lives in me.

I felt Him asking "Would you be okay if you never got to be the person to lead someone to the Lord?"
NOT asking if I would never partake in that process; not keeping silent; just being the one who plants the seeds and prays, where someone else may witness the "harvest".

Let me back up a bit. Three times in my life before I saw fruit on something I deeply desired, I had similar conversations with God - Wrestling. Begging and bargaining sometimes.

"Would you be okay if it was just you and Me? If you remained single your whole life, would I be enough?" The same thing before we had our first child, and again with our second. It has not really gotten easier to surrender. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I wanted to be married. I wanted a sweet baby. I wanted a second child - really a whole houseful.

My physical flesh craves these things, and it is no small emotion.

So each time when God asks me if I'll be okay if I never get those, it is difficult.

You can imagine how that question seemed out of the blue today. I believe I was pondering over a recent Bible conference I had the privelege of serving at. Because I was a volunteer, I had to get up and leave before the audience was fully dismissed so I could be at my post when they came out. I have covered this event in much prayer and began to get excited that maybe, just maybe, I would finally be able to walk someone to the Lord.

Not only did this not happen, but I also missed seeing the hundreds of women come forward in the invitation or respond from their seat. I saw none of this.  It was not until two days later when I was listening to my friend, who was also in attendance that day, recount how marvelous an experience it was to witness all those women with their hearts touched, changed, broken, mended. And we got to be a part of that!

But as I thought over this today, I felt disappointed that I wasn't "in on it" so to speak. I didn't help lead those women to the Lord, and didn't even get to witness it from a distance. As I felt disappointed, I felt God asking me that question.

Would I be okay?


This is one I didn't realize was so fully rooted. As of right now I would not be okay. I will be thoroughly disappointed if I get to the end of my life and havaen't gotten to lead someone to Jesus and watch them be redeemed.

Late last year I accepted a challenge to ask a given number of people "Do you know what Jesus has done for you?" and I have not done so well.  So at this question, and my unwillingness to be okay I realized I need to step it up. Not even just for that challenge, but if it means so much to me, I need to act on that. Make it a part of my routine.

Sometimes on my way home I'll see a beggar on the side of the road with a cardboard sign. Typically I have nothing to offer them readily available. Today, however, I had some breakfast bars in the pantry, and as I brushed my hair, I felt God telling me to put them in my purse, along with a little Bible, so that I would be prepared in case I saw someone in need today.

I forgot.

I realized it when I was about half-way to my destination. How had I gotten more wrapped up in my life - little socks and shoes, fresh diapers and blankies that I forgot someone's eternal life?

We are on the heels of Jonah - a new Bible study that I have really had trouble connecting with, that is until it has been finished. Principles we studied and I glossed over have been tugging at my heart this week. Jonah. The one who wanted to pick and choose who he shared God with, and where, and when.

I am that man.

Here is a quote from a recent homework assignment from that Bible study:
"When I'm excited by my own need being met but not nearly as anxious to see God's purposes served, it's apparent I've got some work to do."
-Jonah, Pricilla Shirer

Will I be okay if I don't get to play the role in serving that I'd like? Will I be okay serving and obeying God, and trying and praying and never seeing any results?

Will I obey even if I don't get to pick who I share God with, and where, and when?

Am I okay being disappointed?

Appointed - Psalm 104:19 Watercolor by Nicole Rethmeier. Available on Etsy

I've been marvelling in accounts of appointment, and they seem to be on a God-parade lately! I studied in Psalm 104 (read it!) and how all the creatures and everything in the earth, heaven and space is appointed and brings him glory by fulfilling their purpose - and lately in Jonah, we're highlighting all the divine appointments - the wind, storm, sailors, fish, Ninevites, plant, worm, sun, scorching wind - and yes, Jonah - were all appointed, and filled their mission, and God's plan was carried out.

So disappointment feels like un-appointment, and rejection and that God's will is not carried out. But maybe the dis-appointment is my own appointment being left unfilfilled, so that God's may be. So disappointment need not be disappointment at all, but rather Divine appointments, provided I'm obeying and not running.

Will I be okay?

Will I continue to obey?