Strawberry Kale Salad {Raw, Gluten Free}

salad kaleI cannot take all the credit for this salad. Last weekend, I visited my mom and sister in Texas and learned this yummy recipe from them (of course, I changed it a tad to my taste).

Raw food is so good for you and so is kale. So, this little cold, refreshing salad is a homerun.

This strawberry kale salad is perfect for a side salad at dinner or just an addictive lunch bite. The sunflower seeds give it a little crunch and the apple cider vinegar really erases the potent taste of the rich kale.

You will need: 1 bag (or head) of kale, ½ cup raw sunflower seeds,  ½ zucchini, 1 avocado, 5 tbsp. Newman’s Own Raspberry Vinaigrette, 5 strawberries, 5 tbsp. apple cider vinegar.

First, dump your kale into a large mixing bowl. Pour your apple cider vinegar on top of the fresh kale leaves. This is an important part – massage the vinegar into the leaves with your hands. This may take about 10 minutes. (No joke, do not skip out on this part).

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Look at this beautiful salad!

After massaging the vinegar in, add in the raspberry dressing and massage once again for about 5 minutes.

Mash up aw hole avocado into a green paste. Once, it looks like unseasoned guacamole, add this into the kale mixture and massage once again.

I used a vegetable spiral slicer to make zucchini noodles. You only need about ½ of a zucchini; but feel free to add more to the salad mixture. Mix these in with your hands.

Add ½ cup of raw sunflower seeds. These do not have salt in them (so way better for you!)

Lastly, chop up tiny pieces of strawberry and gently fold them into your salad. Set in the fridge and enjoy for dinner, chilled. Or box it up for a little yummy work lunch the next day.

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Turkey Avocado Parmesan Burgers {Gluten Free}

This past weekend, my dad came to visit me in Washington, DC. Not only did we venture out to a great, unique Thai restaurant, I also made him a little homemade dinner one night. Yummy burgers! They were gluten free of course. But, so great and moist.

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Who does not love fresh avocados and Parmesan? I found a little gem recipe on Pinterest and created a fresh, healthy alternative to a juicy, greasy burger. And, drum roll please – my dad actually liked it!

These sweet little burgers are great. You can make them in no time at all. The ingredients are simple and it takes like 5 minutes to make your patties. Use the grill or a stovetop. I used a stovetop, because; unfortunately don’t have a backyard for a grill. But, we got to enjoy the outdoor balcony while dining.

You will need: 1 pound ground turkey (or chicken), ½ chopped yellow onion, 1 mashed ripe avocado, 2 tbsp. garlic powder, ½ cup fresh grated parmesan, salt and pepper and (this is optional) some gluten free bread crumbs.

I needed the bread crumbs to use as a binding agent, because turkey does not hold together as well as ground beef…etc.

All you need to do is dump the ground turkey (thawed out, if frozen) into a mixing bowl. Chop your onions up in tiny pieces and add them to the meat mixture. Then add chunks of chopped avocado to your mixture as well. Use a fork to mash up the blend.

Sprinkle in the garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix these in again. Use your hands to make little round hamburger patties.

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Set the oven stovetop to high and spray a big cooking pan with some cooking spray. Slowly add your patties to the hot pan and cook for about 8 minutes on each side (or until lightly brown). You want to make sure the patty is cooked all the way through.

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After your patties are done – add them to a gluten free hamburger bun with all the fixings. And enjoy your little slice of gluten free summer heaven! You can also pair this meal with a great glass of Red Zinfandel and a homemade salad!

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DIY: Chalkboard Table {For Kids & Adults}

This little table was so easy to make. It barely cost me any money at all. For one, I found the table on the side of the road. So, it was free. If you are looking to make homemade furniture, sometimes checking at various dumpsters is the way to go.

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I would also suggest going to thrift stores like Goodwill for some cute, inexpensive furniture. You can find real gems at places like that. Though, the top of this table was weathered, it did not matter (because I was going to paint over it anyway!).

All you need to do is purchase chalkboard paint for this little craft. You can get this at any craft store for about $6. Or you can buy it online, here.

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Chalkboard paint is super easy to use. Benjamin Moore has a good little instructional write-up on just how you should use this type of paint.

All I did was wash the weathered surface of the table. Let it dry and applied about 3 coats of this chalkboard paint. You want to apply about 2 coats and let the table dry for about an hour and then apply your last coat.

I let the entire table dry overnight before I attempted to draw anything on the surface with chalk. Somewhat skeptical of the promise of a functioning chalkboard, I was super surprised at how well this works.

Kids and adults will like this little table. For kids, they can really geat creative and draw pictures with multicolored chalk sticks. For adults, have a wine and cheese party – and label the cheeses with chalk on your little table. Or use it for an herb garden and outline the pots with chalk and/or label one.

You can even paint a wine bottle with the paint – and use it as a vase. Your choices are really endless. Have fun with this little project.

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Barefoot and Brave

water feetSometimes stepping out into the blessings of God requires sheer bravery. I think on Peter, who walked on the water. Upon seeing Jesus in the ocean, he cried out to his Lord and said, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus called out to him in the middle of violent waves – and said, “Come.”

And though the water was raging around him, Peter stepped out in beautiful faith – barefoot and alone.  He did not focus on the circumstances around him. He fixed his eyes on Jesus. And, when he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, he was a walking miracle, defying the impossible. He was the depiction of brave. (Matthew 14:22-33)

Let it be our aim to display this type of bravery! When we are barefoot and alone, let’s look to Jesus, as Peter did, and walk out in faith. Our Father will always be there to catch us and carry us.

– PRAYER –

Jesus,

I want to be brave and look to you. When I am afraid, I will trust you always because you have my best interest at heart. You will never abandon me or leave me alone. You are the light in the violent storm. Thank you for your love, protection and hand of direction.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Let Us Boldly Approach His Throne of Grace.

ImageIt’s hard to think that a little baby – born in a manger, in a lowly stable –is sitting at the right hand of the Father as a King. However, Jesus, in all His glory and splendor, is seated on high. It humbles me to think that our everlasting King bled, suffered and died on earth just for me.

And, now, he allows us to approach his throne boldly!  As Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need.” Wow. A King – in all His riches and honor would tell me, a servant vagabond, to approach his throne? I tremble to think of that thought.

Can you imagine it? You walk, hands calloused from working and feet muddy from walking, into a jewel incrusted throne room.  And, the King calls out your name – and with a compassionate voice says walk forward so that I can grant you my mercies everlasting! This is the love of Christ for us. He accepts us just as we are – in rags of this world – and gives us new clothes and new name. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your cares on him – because he cares for you.” Let’s sit at the feet of the King of Kings and give him all glory, honor and praise today!

– PRAYER –

Lord,

I am humbled that you would call me your child and invite me into your throne room of grace. I want to seek out your mercies – that are new every morning and receive the goodness from your right hand. Please grant me the courage to step out in you and speak the truth to a darkened world. I need your strength to go about my days. Thank you for your promises that bless my life.  May I reflect you in my actions, words and deeds always! I cling to you, Father. You are my vine.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bind My Wandering Heart To Thee!

ImageI’m guilty of it – so often, I think we forget to cry out to God. We get busy in day-to-day life and praying is not the first thing on our agenda. We make to-do lists in our heads, brace ourselves for the trying day ahead and forget to call on the Maker of All Good Things. 

This is a tragedy; because, He is the one that sets our life in motion. He is the one that blesses his children beyond compare. We get too busy scheduling all our blessings that we forget the Blesser! 

We need to challenge ourselves every morning to praise our Father in Heaven for His hand of provision – for without his  protection we stand undefended. Thank you Lord for your mercies every morning and at night. You make the sun rise and set. We will praise you for your abundant goodness!

Sweet, Sweet Sound

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God, like rainbows through the clouds, you capture my attention.

Like a euphonious tune – you shatter dark, coarse tension.

May my life reflect the majesty of your robe’s matchless hem!

When others look into my eyes, let them see priceless gems!

You have called me out, dear Lord. Hold my hand, and speak.

I wait in sheer anticipation for your mercy and water deep.

Engulf me in your pool of tenderness. You, my God, are bold and firm.

Yet, God, your love is like a replenished basin. Your love is vast – my life affirms.

-Kimberly

Glitter Veins

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“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1

Glitter –it’s an essential in a little girl’s life. We like things that sparkle and shine. The idea of fairy dust and glistening crowns of jewels light up our eyes. What is it about this sparkle that sets our hearts afire? Things that sparkle are generally beautiful. Glitter is an embellishment to something plain or ordinary in the eyes of others. Therefore, we are attracted to beauty!

However, it is amazing when we realize that as – daughters of the true King – God had made us with glitter in our veins! The source of our life-flow comes from Christ – and this flow is radiant. This sparkle is internal. We are not painted faces or thick sparkly nail polish. The glow on our outward appearance comes from within.

Let’s go forward today – thinking of the glitter veins God has given us. We don’t have to fake royalty. God has chosen us – his daughters – to let our inward light shine forth. Now, that’s beautiful!

Let raw, unfiltered beauty overwhelm

ImageOur society is obsessed with covering up the natural. We sell make up to hide blemishes. We sell creams to conceal wrinkles. Every grocery store has an entire aisle dedicated to beauty products. Finger nail polish, eye shadow, bronzers and mascara – all of these products are made to “enhance” the natural.

However, with God, he does not want to see the stuff that we use to cover up our “everyday” appearance. He looks at us with loving eyes. He sees through the cover-up products to the freckles on our face!  And, the wonderful thing is – he thinks we are the prettiest in this state.

God did not make us to obscure our originality. He is actually celebrated more in our uniqueness because his power and wonder can be magnified! Let’s look in the mirror and celebrate who God formed us to be – a precious gem, gorgeous and utterly original!

Let us live, love and laugh often.

ImageI ran across a quote today by Henry Ward Beecher. I absolutely love the quote – because it is very true.

“I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.”

Gorgeous.

I think a lot of us use the term “LOVE” to describe our affection for MANY things. However, it’s important to realize that we can never truly “LOVE” in a Christ-like fashion without knowing the supreme love poet, God.

Let us take today – Valentine’s Day – to reflect on the true LOVE of Jesus. For, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! What a marvelous and a spectacular love that is!