Monday, October 21, 2013

Fakin' It

As a working mama I some times have to "fake" it. By that I mean that I don't always have time to make something fully homemade for a party or get together. I sometimes feel guilty as I went to Culinary School and many times people expect a lot from me. I have learned that using short cuts like using a box cake(gasp) is a huge help. Even just displaying your food in a fancy or clever way really adds to a dish.

I recently had three different groups of people over in one week!!! It was so much fun. I felt like I was an Event Planner again. One night I had my girlfriends over for a craft night. I made Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup(minus the tortillas, sorry girls totally spaced it). I also made an easy pumpkin dessert. Soups are great because they just require a little bit of chopping and then it all goes in one pot and you are done. I knew that I would be working and they were coming over just an hour after I got off. So to make it a little easier I added a rotisserie chicken that was already cooked for me! I normally cook the chicken myself, but there was just no time. The dessert was super easy too. You make a pumpkin mixture, sprinkle a yellow cake mix on top and then some butter and pecans and you are all set to bake it!

The next night I had some of Scott's friends/clients over for dinner. I had leftover soup so I just added some more chicken stock to it and set out some toppings and in minutes had dinner for them. Then on Thursday I had a group of Realtors and Affiliates over to our house for appetizers and drinks. This was a little tricky as I needed to have a variety of appetizers but, nothing that took a super long time to prepare. I wanted it all to look really nice and wanted them all to enjoy what I prepared for them. I decided on Shrimp & Chesse Wontons from a great site I found through Pinterest called: High Heels to Hot Wheels. These took a little bit to assemble but since they were a little "fancy" I thought that was ok.

Take your wonton wrapper coat three edges with egg whites and put a tsp of the shrimp and cheese mixture in the center

Fold over, making a triangle and then press edges with a fork to seal in the filling. And then they are ready to bake. I forgot to take a picture after they baked but if you go to the like you can see how they look baked:). Yum!  

Next I decided to make a cheese platter. I love cheese platters! I think cheese is beautiful on its own but then when you add salami, crackers and grapes it can look really elegant. It only takes minutes to put together and everyone always enjoys it. I add some rosemary to fancy it up even more!

Next I needed some veggies. Veggie platters can be beautiful too. They don't take a whole lot of time to put together either. I know a lot of people like the pre-made platters but I prefer the real deal.  To make it a little more festive for the fall season, I carved out a hole in a pumpkin and took out all the seeds. I used a sour cream container that I made my dip in and used the lid as my guide to cut the hole. Once I was done carving the hole I dropped in the container and had a cute dip container.

Finally I needed something sweet. I wanted to keep with something fall but didn't have time to bake anything. I decided on caramel and chocolate dipped apples. Instead of dipping a whole apple I dipped slices. It is easier for party guests to enjoy. I dipped some in just caramel and some in just chocolate. Others I dipped in both and some in chocolate and chopped peanuts!

With a little cheats and box help I managed to pull this all off and was able to enjoy my company. It is always a joy to be in the kitchen. Fall usually means a lot more baking which makes this girl happy!

***Note I add 1 red bell pepper chopped and a jalapeno, chopped and de-seeded to the garlic, cilantro and onion mixture. I also add a can of corn and black beans when I add the chicken in. You can crumble some tortilla chips on top or if you have a bit more time I like to julienne corn tortillas and fry them in oil. Sooo goood!

Friday, October 18, 2013


I have a disclaimer before I get started. Disclaimers usually mean to me that I may say some things that not everyone will agree with so, I am diffusing what I am about to write with a disclaimer. This is my last post in my "respect series"(sounds like I am all professional and stuff). I want to talk about people respecting themselves. I will focus mainly on females as that is what burdens me the most and well I am a female! So my disclaimer goes as follows: I too struggle with respecting myself. I hope I do not sound too judgmental as that is not my intention in this post or in any of my posts. I try to have humility when I write. People are more responsive when I write that way, than when I am just ranting and writing out of anger. God has given me the gift of discernment. I have know this for years, but a few years back I realized I was using my gift wrong! I was using it to judge people. I was losing a battle of right and wrong and became angry and had no compassion for people who were living in sin. God gave me a wake up call. I found out I was not perfect! What??? How can this be? Yes, He basically told me to check myself before I wrecked myself. I love when God gets all ghetto with me. So, I hope this post does not sound judgmental.

I tend to look back at generations before us and think about how they acted. I look at what they wore and really just how they reacted to situations. I think there is always room for improvement. You can probably see that in your own family as your parents learned from their parents mistakes and you learned from your parents mistakes and so on. There is still a part of me that wishes I did not live in this "era". Even more so I am afraid of what my child will have to face in his lifetime. Back in my don't remember there being so much pressure for me to dress seductively. I graduated 13 years ago and I really don't remember it being a struggle. I have to say it has become a more recent struggle. I am 31 years old, have been married for 10 years and am a mother. Why is it a struggle now? I have two words: Carl's Jr. Yep, it is all Carl's fault! By Carl's Jr I mean media in general. I mean leave it to a burger chain to make you think eating a cheeseburger needs to or can be sexy! I mean there is nothing sexy about eating a cheeseburger. Especially a Carl's Jr cheeseburger. Their slogan is: "If it doesn't get all over the place, it doesn't belong in your face" ! Yet, somehow by getting a super gorgeous girl taking a bite makes us feel guilty for not being able to stuff our face in a sexy manner. Those commercials are just ridiculous. It shows just how disgusting the media can be. It shows the lack of respect for girls and also the lack of respect for guys.Guys are visually tempted daily. They don't need a burger commercial to add to that temptation. This may seem like a silly illustration about respect, but I wanted to show you that disrespect is everywhere these days. I am disrespected as a woman as other women sell themselves on tv and around town. I am disrespected by other females for trying to push their sexiness on my husband on tv and around town. Have you been to the mall lately? The Hubs and I love to people watch. It is so sad though. Girls, who can't be more than 12-14 years of age have shorts on that show their bootie!!!! Sometimes they are even walking with their parents! Ugghhh, I have been known to be a prude but come on girls, don't disrespect yourself like this.

Halloween is coming up soon. Yay! National time for girls to dress like a prostitute day! I wonder how girls choose their costumes. I imagine it going a bit like this: "let me see....I really want to be a bumble bee...but bumble bees are not let me get some knee high yellow and black striped socks and a little tutu and a leotard. Oh, and of course bumble bees don't have boobs but let me show all of mine. Yes, perfect! I will be a sexy bumble bee!" The costumes that bother me the most are the ones that are manly costumes that a girl turns sexy. Like a sailor or a soldier. I was looking at Pinterest and there was a picture of a "sexy jungle soldier". Hahaha...who comes up with this? A jungle soldier? I am sure they thought they were being very creative...bless their heart. Now, before I start to slam all these young girls I really do feel sorry for them. They have been blasted with images of sexy women all over the tv and in magazines. As a woman, I feel the pressure too. The world is saying you need to be a piece of meat and lure your prey. Instead of being a prize to be won and cherished. When we dress immodestly we are "luring" in our "prey". Guys are visual. You are sending out a message of come get me and then you wonder why you are surrounded by a bunch of sharks! Dressing modestly is a sign of self-respect. I am guilty of trying to dress up in order to lure my husband but guess what married girls this also lures the eyes of other men. I need to be respectful not just of myself and husband but other men, married or not. I get attention but at the end of the day I may have caused others to stumble and as a sister in Christ I have failed.

Bottom line is this: If you don't respect yourself, do not expect anyone else to respect you. There are still plenty of ways to look beautiful with out showing your lady parts and making guys stumble. You may think, yeah, but you are married, you don't have to "lure" anyone anymore. Although, I am not in the dating scene any longer(thank you Lord) I still need to look good for my man, right? But, just my one else. Put on some red lipstick and high heels. Take your hair out of that pony tail and curl it. Put on a cute dress. You can still be fashionable without being trashy. And you can be beautiful without looking like you are working on the corner...mmmkay. I am being super sarcastic but this is something very heavy on my heart. I pray for my husband daily and for my other brothers in Christ. I also pray for young girls and women. It is hard times to live a life pleasing to God, we do not need any more distractions. So, girls don't lure, be pure.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

RESPECT: In Marriage

“I, Summer, take you Scott, to be my husband, to have and behold from this day on, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”
Scott and I said our traditional vows and also vows we wrote on our own. I have to be honest I rarely think about what I promised to my husband ten years ago. The Hubs would tell me "words have meaning" and he would be correct. I was only 21 when we got married, but I did know that I wanted a marriage that was built on trust and would last a life time. I still had a lot of growing up to do. It was a hard adjustment. I needed to be a grown-up. I needed to be trust worthy and I needed to respect this new man in my life. I have to say not until recently have I taken my marriage seriously. Yep, it is true. I have a very laid back personality. I am pretty sure I should have been Hawaiian. I have a very passive thought process. I don't think much about what I do. In some areas of my life that works, but with relationships that does not all.

I began to not talk about my feelings..because it would just cause trouble and who wants to cause any conflict. I held everything in. This caused me to lie about my feelings and compromise or let certain things go that in reality bothered me. Compromise is good in a relationship, but not sharing your feelings for a long period of time causes some resentment. I have a husband who is always open with me and wants me to be open. He encourages me to talk to him. There was nothing he was doing that was making me hold back. It was my own insecurities and fears.

So, what does this have to do about respect? I was not being truthful about who I was. I became a very fearful person. I honestly didn't even know myself. This caused me to not want to be involved in anything outside of our home. I became depressed and lonely. The Hubs would go and do things on his own. We were living our lives as two and not one. It hurt, but it was also hurting The Hubs and that was the worst! I decided that I needed to wake up! Ten years had passed me and although I would say we had a wonderful marriage it really was mediocre. Not engaging in activities with The Hubs and living in this fear was disrespectful to my husband.

"To have and behold". Ok first of all I always thought it was "to have and to hold"??? Maybe that is another version or maybe I really do not pay attention. Words have meaning Summer! I do like the word behold though. It means to "see with attention". I think of "Behold Christ". It is not just.."hey look when you get a chance there is that Christ guy". No, it is" LOOK...right now, it is JESUS CHRIST...the SON of GOD!" I needed to "see with attention" in my marriage and I thank God for grabbing my attention. I am battling through some growing pains, but I see that The Hubs is so proud of me. He even said "It seems as though the longer we are married, the more you love me". It is true. I told him truthfully...that I am learning to love and respect myself and it is allowing me to love him and others more.

I feel all grown up now. It is so weird!!!! I still have a ways to go, but I find so much joy in respecting and loving my husband. I thank God everyday for putting The Hubs in my life. He has been patient and he loves when I open up to him. I only hope that I am what he needs as well. Marriage is such a beautiful thing when God is involved. There are ups and downs...but thanks be to God, my marriage has been filled with mostly ups:). Every husband and wife needs to be respected and loved in different ways. I challenge you to think of ways you can love on your wife today and wives think of something you can do to show respect to your husband. It could be something as saying thank you for all you do or husbands taking on a chore your wife does everyday. I am sure it will be greatly appreciated!

***As promised next up I want to write about respecting yourself. This is a hard one for me!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

RESPECT...find out what it means to me

You know you are singing Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T now, aren't you? She meant business in that song! Have you ever read the lyrics? I just did and first off I was totally wrong on a few lyrics. This is no longer a shock to me as I have absolutely annihilated many a song in my day. One line that was funny to me was the one that goes like this: "Your kiss is sweeter than honey.
Guess what? So is my money". You tell em girl! You can tell that she was disrespected and unfortunately for her Boo she was a famous singer and put this guy on blast! When I am disrespected sometimes I wish I had a bullhorn.  I would make everyone aware of the disrespect that occurred. But I am assuming that is not the way I should react.

I took a little look in my ever so handy B-I-B-L-E. There are actually quite a few scriptures that talk about respect. Respect towards your parents is one and respect towards the elderly is another. I really wanted to find a verse that spoke about a more general respect. I believe this is something that is lacking in our culture. More on that later, but for now this is the verse that I really enjoyed:

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free man, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone:Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king".
1 Peter 2:13-17

The word submit ruffles many feathers. We live in a world that has very little respect for authority. You see that with our President, past and present. You see that with children and their parents. You see the lack of respect for Police Officers. And you even see it among believers. Not just towards non-believers, but even among their fellow brother and sisters in Christ. I love Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Peter. I have to say many times I get even more confused as to what a certain verse means after I read his commentary, but this one I got!

"As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gathered in their long and loose garments, that they might be ready in their business, so let Christians do by their minds and affections. Be sober, be watchful against all spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate in all behaviour. Be sober-minded in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves. A strong and perfect trust in the grace of God, is agreeable with best endeavours in our duty. Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people. We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined. The written word of God is the surest rule of a Christian's life, and by this rule we are commanded to be holy every way. God makes those holy whom he saves".

This was actually the commentary for the verse that preceded 1 Peter 2:13-17. I wanted to dive in a little deeper than finding one verse with the word respect in it. I wanted to know how to show respect to everyone. "Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people". Man, that is a tough one to swallow. I kind of want to stomp my feet like a little girl and say, "I don't wanna". I don't want to show respect to our current President. I don't want to show respect to my husband when he is not showing it to me. I don't want to show respect to that lady who cut me off or that guy who didn't open the door for me. Respect is about humility. There is nothing more refreshing than someone who is humble. Forgiveness is also a big factor in respect. My Mother in Law always says " Maybe they were just having a bad day". We make fun of her but it is a great attitude to have towards those who wronged you. This is not to say we need to let people walk all over us., but we need to show mercy and not be so quick to anger.

I write mainly about things that I am convicted about. Respect is something that is very hard for me. When you have a kid there are little ears listening at all times! You become very aware of the nasty words that come out of your mouth or if you have a little more control you are aware of them before they fall out. I was driving the other day and someone was driving super slow. I was saying something like: "Hurry up dude! Are you kidding me"?  Pull over"!!!! Then honked at him. Shane, who was in the backseat, says "Mama, maybe that is as fast as their car goes". Oh my! Talk about feeling like a big meanie head. Although, I know this guy could have gone faster, I also know that I did not need to be quick to anger and that I just need to show him some grace.

I was in an accident when I was younger. It was my fault. I was driving my sister to school. I looked over for a second to see if I could park somewhere and bam, I hit the car in front of me. I was barely moving so it wasn't a huge accident, but being that it was my first accident I was so embarrassed and scared. I got out and the lady was so nice to me. She reassured me that it was just an accident and that it was ok. Nobody was hurt and that everything would be taken care of. She displayed so much respect. What could have been a moment for her to be super angry, turned into a moment of grace and mercy.

Now fast forward to a time I felt the most disrespect. I lived in Orange County. I could probably stop my story right there as many Orange Countiers(??) are not known for thinking about anyone but themselves. I was at Mervyns(oh how I miss that store). I was going into the dressing room. I had one of those small carts and my purse was stuffed on the very bottom. I walked through the doors and at the same time I am trying to grab my purse from the bottom. It is stuck and these doors had one of those bells that dings to alert some one to come help in the dressing room. It probably dinged ten times. I was so concentrated on getting my purse out that I wasn't  aware of anyone near by. A fellow customer looked at me with the most annoyed look. She didn't have to say a word. If looks could kill! I said sorry and quickly moved away from the sensor. I still got a eye roll and a head shake.  To this day I still get so upset about it. I thought about pretending I was deaf to make her feel really bad.....but....remember that part Matthew Henry writes about: "We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined". Yeah, that part. In order to get respect, you need to give it. I may have not received any respect from that annoyed lady but my inclination towards shaming her was not the correct response. I have been shown respect though many times over. It is so refreshing. Try it. It usually throws people off who are usually prepared for disrespect.

There is so much more I can talk about on respect. I plan on breaking this up into a marriage post, a parenting post and a respecting yourself post. Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions on upcoming posts let me know. I haven't done a whole lot of cooking/baking posts. With Fall here I am hoping to have more posts on my favorite recipes. So, what you want? You know I got it. Oh man, that was all kinds of cheesy:).