Love Yourself

Social media tends to encourage us to believe physically we are less than we really are. The word “botox” is thrown around as the consistent Hollywood trend, and we’re told that tanning is how to look golden and young. I, myself, find it hard to ignore the perfect skin of the models on billboards and commercials.

But, the scars we’re so ashamed of are the battle scars of life. They tell stories of each point in our lives. Each night and day filled with laughter, love, and strife and the encouragement of new experiences. It tells of our friendships, our loves, and the moments spent within their arms. The scar that you have hated all this time, suddenly has a whole new set of meanings behind it. What about those freckles you’ve always wished would just disappear? Each freckle has a unique pattern, they are not simply circular in shape. The freckles gracing your face represent summers of beach trips, hiking with friends, and sitting around a campfire. They represent the times you’ve spent in the sun or the genetics you happened to inherit from those you hold dear.

Let’s talk about body shape. So many men and women are trapped by the idea that there are two types of beautiful. Most women feel that either you have to be a vivacious, curvy beauty, or a thin, sassy model to fit the definition of beautiful. In contrast, men are confronted with one image, the image of a chiseled, bearded gentlemen with striking eyes. As much as we wish that everyone could walk around with one of these stereotypes, more often than not, no one comes close. We have curvy hips, chiseled jaws, extra body weight in areas we aren’t exactly comfortable with, non-symmetrical features, and uneven body parts. The things that we mistake as flaws allow us to be vastly distinct and riveting. They allow for each individual to fall in love with a little piece of the other, to remember the small details of each individual they encounter. They are not flaws, they’re strengths.

We are poised to believe that we are meant to be able to reach an unattainable goal of society’s form of perfection. When in reality, we’re made to be incomparable to those around us, create memories that we can’t recreate, and breathe with a sense of growth. We’re meant to be soulful and loving, overbearing and outspoken, and intelligent and encouraging.

We are important and lovely. Love yourself, you are beyond worthy.

Strawberry Strudel Pie W/ Coconut Whipped Cream

Hello again my dear, dear friends!

I’ve got another tasty treat for you today that is light, airy, and decadent! I wanted to come up with something a little different than the recipes I’ve posted before, so I spent two days drafting this pie and going through rough drafts! This one is worth the effort and the time, it doesn’t feel too heavy and it has a smooth, satisfying texture. Now, the flavors of this are pretty rich, so one piece is more than enough to curb that sweet tooth.

I’m not going to chat too much before I present this to you, this recipe takes up enough of your time. Even though it takes a while longer than most pies, it’s definitely worth it in the end. Now, the way this pie is made is a little tricky, so the format for this recipe is going to be a tidbit different than a typical blog recipe.

Let’s get started!

  1. For the beginning of these steps you’re going to want to purchase a Mi-Del Gluten Free Pie Crust from your local grocery store. Set this aside for later, it’s the very bottom of your foundation, you definitely don’t want to forget it!

Gather these items:

  • 4 Cups of quartered strawberries
  • 1 Cup of water
  • 1 Medium sized pot
  • 1 Potato masher tool

2.  Pour the water and strawberries into the pot and bring the water to a medium heat. After bringing the combination to a low boil, begin to smash those strawberries! I like to leave little bit of chunkiness to the mixture, you want to have a bit of texture to the filling. After smashing the strawberries to your desired texture, allow them to simmer on medium with the occasional stir for 10-15 minutes.

  • 1 Cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 Cup coconut sugar

3.  Add both sugars to the pot, stirring them until they dissolve. You’re more than welcome to dial back that sweetness or add more. I liked how the tanginess came out within the sweetness!

  • 1/2 Cup of WARM water
  • 2 Packets of unflavored gelatin

4.   Mix the gelatin into the water and allow the mixture to stand on it’s own for five minutes. Add the gelatin mixture to the filling and remove it from the heat for five minutes! Place the mixture into the fridge until it cools. I didn’t bother removing the filling from the pot because you’re going to heat it a bit later! The mixture should begin to thicken a small amount as it cools.

  • 1/2 Cup of water
  • 1/4 Cup arrowroot powder

5.  Mix the water and powder together to form a white liquid. Place the pot on the stove once more and begin to reheat the filling to medium heat. Once the filling is warm once more, stir in the white liquid until it is completely dissolved! The arrowroot powder will act as a thickener, making the filling perfect for the crust. You want to make sure you simmer the filling until it gains a gel-like consistency.

6.  Once the filling has gained a gel-like consistency, pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate until it cools completely.

Coconut Whip Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (placed in freezer for two hours)
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tsp. Mexican Vanilla
  • 1 Container So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk
  • Hand mixer
  1. Carefully open the refrigerated can of coconut milk and skim the cream out of the can. Combine the cream with the maple syrup and the Mexican vanilla. Beat on low for five minutes, then swap to the high setting for an additional five minutes.
  2. Slowly add the Culinary coconut milk as you go, allowing the ingredients to be evenly combined.
  3. Refrigerate the whipped cream for 30 minutes, allowing the cream to thicken. When it sticks to a spoon’s surface, scoop an even layer of the cream on top of the strawberry pie filling and place back in the fridge while you melt down the chocolate drizzle.

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 1/2 bag of Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate morsels

  • 1/3 cup of Rice Milk (or your favorite dairy free alternative!)

  1.  Place the rice milk and chocolate in a microwaveable container (I used a coffee mug!) and microwave in 30 second intervals until they are fully combined! Remove the pie from the fridge and drizzle the chocolate in a cross hatch pattern across the top of the pie. Less is more in this instance!

LAST STEP!: Refrigerate overnight! This allows not only all the flavors to absorb into each other, but it allows for the filling to set and solidify completely! The next day be sure to remove, cut, and enjoy! And there you have it! It’s a bit labor intensive, but the payoff is worth the time. There is a tangy moment from the strawberries, a yum moment from the coconut, and a small bite from the dark chocolate! All in all, it’s delicious!

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Tropical Chicken Kabobs W/ BBQ Mayo Sauce

When the temperature is high in Louisiana, we break out the barbecue pit and jump in the pool. What goes perfectly with those hamburgers and hot dogs we already have on the grill?

Kabobs!

These tangy, sweet kabobs are a perfect pairing for summer days full of watermelon and sunshine! The bell peppers, onions, and chicken give this kabob a savory, salty kick and is paired with bits of fresh pineapple that adds subtle sugary notes. The sauce makes this treat! The sauce adds a rich, tangy taste to each bite that takes the kabobs right over the edge!

The prep time for these is roughly about 15-20 minutes, mostly due to the cutting up of the fresh pineapple. The pieces are large and chunky, so they don’t take much room for storage in the refrigerator. I was easily able to just throw the left over pieces in a Ziploc bag and put them away.

The cooking time was about the same as the prep time, I let the kabobs cook a little while longer since I like my chicken a little more on the dry side. You are more than welcome to remove them earlier if you prefer a chewier chicken.

Chicken Kabob Ingredients:

1 Onion

1 Green Bell Pepper

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Pineapple

1 Chicken Breast

Wooden BBQ Skewers

Weber Salt-Free Chicken Seasoning

McCormick Garlic Powder

BBQ Mayo Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. Head Country Organic Homestyle BBQ Sauce

3 Tbsp. Blue Plate Mayonnaise 

1 Tsp. French’s Honey Mustard

1 Tbsp. Pecan Liquid Smoke Flavoring

Let’s Get Started:

Step One:

I decided to dice everything at once, that way it was super easy to place everything on the skewers. I started with the pineapple, then bell peppers, then went to the onions, and finally the chicken. As I cut the veggies and fruits, I placed them into awaiting bowls so that whoever was making kabobs could have easy access.

Step Two:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I unpacked the skewers, and just began loading them up! I personally like to attach my items in a pattern. Having a pattern to your kabobs allows for a diversity in flavor, even weight distribution for the skewer, and honesty, they’re more aesthetically pleasing!

Step Three: 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the skewers on top. The skewers can touch, touching won’t affect the cooking process at all! When placed on the foil, I then applied a generous layer of Weber seasoning and garlic powder on top of the kabobs. Flip the skewer, and repeat on the other side!

Step Four: 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the kabobs to cook until the chicken is cooked fully through. Halfway through the cooking process, flip the kabobs over for even browning!

Step Five:

While the kabobs are cooking, combine all the ingredients listed above for the bbq mayo sauce. Mix them well together and set aside until the kabobs are finished cooking.

Step Six: 

When the kabobs are finished cooking, remove them from the oven and drizzle the bbq mayo sauce along the skewer. The sauce adds the sweet, tangy flavor we’re looking for and really brings together all the flavors on the skewer. Place on a dish, and enjoy!

When I first started this idea, I had a completely different idea in mind for the sauce and it was a gigantic fail! The original sauce didn’t mix well, was extremely bland, and didn’t have a smooth consistency. I wanted the sauce to be very hearty, compliment the kabobs, and be a sauce everyone could make from their pantry. Hopefully you like the combination and use it often!

Here’s some photos of the finished product:

 

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