Friday, June 17, 2011

Mexican Feast

Dinner @ Eight Menu

Mexican Feast


Chips and Guacamole & Pico Di Gallo


Santa Cruz Mango Lemonade

Main Course:

Tortilla Soup

Mexican Coleslaw

Corn on the Cob


Mexican Hot Chocolate Mocha's (Decaf) with Whip Cream

I could hardly wait to get to prepare this date for Damion and I! We had so much fun last time, so we were both really looking forward to some concentrated time together! Plus, the menu is A-mazing if I do say so myself :) The Tortilla soup is a family recipe that we all love so much...I dare say that it is the best Tortilla soup that you will ever have. You have no right to argue with me unless you are actually Mexican...and even then...I really believe this is THE way Tortilla Soup should taste! Now, for you ladies who have husbands who love meat, I realize this menu may leave a little left to desire! Add in some grilled flank steak or chicken and you are good to go!

The How to:

1. I planned on Sunday, grocery shopped on Monday as well as cleaned up the house a bit.

2. Date Day: Early morning wake up for a quiet time, with emphasis on preparing my heart for tonight's date and a shower!

3. 8am began with cleaning the kitchen (My plan was to wake up to a clean kitchen…but it didn’t happen that way) I love to cook in a clean kitchen, just helps the creativity flow! I cleaned while my kids ate their breakfast…and then I cleaned it again after they ate…anyone know what I am talking about?

4. At lunch time I started cooking while my kids were eating:

Noah loves watching his sister, look how he is laughing at her! Love this!

While they were having fun...I got down to business setting out tortilla strips to dry.

and starting the soup base....

The beginning of awesome-ness :)

Here is the recipe:
6-8 Corn Tortillas
2 Very Large Ripe Tomatoes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
1 large clove of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7 cups of chicken broth
4 sprigs of fresh coriander (i use dried)
3 sprigs of fresh mint ( i omitted this)
1/2-1 tsp salt
4-5 dried pasilla chiles( I also omitted these)
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese cut into small cubes
fresh cilantro

1. Cut tortillas into strips and set out on a rack to dry for 1-2hours.
2. Blend Tomatoes, Onion and Garlic in blender until very smooth. In a stockpot put 2-3 tbsp EVOO and heat on medium high. Add soup base and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add stock and coriander springs. Heat to boiling and then reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Add mint and salt and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove coriander and mint sprigs.
4. Put 2-3 tbsp EVOO in a pan to fry the tortilla strips. Remove from pan when they turn a nice color of brown and place on paper towels.
5. Fry chilis the same way and place on paper towels until cool. Then break into small pieces.
6. To Serve: Serve soup very hot. Set out cheese cubes, tortilla strips, cilantro, and chilis to add to individual bowls. Enjoy!

Mexican Coleslaw
shredded cabbage
3-4 radishes
sliced green onion
Dressing (I made this up)
2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp Cumin

Mexican Mocha's
Abuelita's Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix prepared as directed
1/2 shot decaf espresso or extra strong brewed drip in each cup
whip cream and cinnamon sprinkles on top

Super Yummy Juice! I love the :) Oooh..and the white stuff is Mexican sour cream...not the lightest stuff in the world...but definitely a step up from the usual stuff!

This was a nice light salad..after enjoying chips and guac!
A little time to enjoy the atmosphere...

Soup toppings.. tortilla strips, cheese cubes and cilantro...can you feel the anticipation?

And there she is in all her glory: Authentic Tortilla Soup!! At this point we were thoroughly enjoying the meal and our conversation. Ava came down to "go potty" once and then left us in peace for the rest of the night. Her little face was so sweet...she just had to see what was going on in the kitchen. Ooh...which reminds me. I wanted to tell you all what I wore...this adorable little black dress with white embroidery. It was beautiful, and a perfect pick for the night, it did make me dream of a Mexican Vacation though :) I used my triple barrel curling iron and put a flower in my hair. I am confident that Damion was impressed! :)

To finish off the evening we enjoyed our Mexican Mocha's...although we were so full we only made it through about half! We are both loving our "dinners @ eight". It has been so special to lavish on Damion this way. After just two weeks I see the results of this concentrated time. We are communicating more, resolving conflicts more easily, and are just enjoying each other more. Can't wait to see where this road will lead!

I am excited to hear from all of you. Some of you have already told me about your dates...I would love if you would post along with me so others could hear what you did!

All my love!


Italian Night

Hi Friends!!

Warning: this is a really long post! This is the original "Dinner @ Eight" email I sent out, I included as many of you as I had emails for, but I missed so many that are dear to my heart, so I hope this blog finds you although I missed you on email. Here it is:

I am about to take a fun adventure and wanted to offer you the opportunity to join me (and Damion:)

I want to give you a little back story before I deliver the invitation :)

Damion and I recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! One trip to Iraq, a new job, two kids (and two c-sections) later and we find ourselves so blessed and honestly so "in the thick of it" :) We love each other deeply and so desire to live our lives as best friends and to parent our kids from that place and for ministry to naturally flow out of that. I firmly believe that Jesus uses our marriages to help us not just become servants of Jesus, but to actually become like Jesus.

With that said, I wanted to share what Jesus is doing in my heart. Over this past weekend my heart and eyes were truly opened in a new way to my husband and our marriage. He was becoming a priority in my life rather than my top priority (only second to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ). I love him deeply, but I have also taken him for granted. The simple truth is that I am really I am sure many of you are. Oh, my heart is so grieved. Praise Jesus, Damion looks at me with gracious eyes. So how did I end up here? I believe it is because I wasn't being intentional. He would speak to me, but did I intentionally listen? No, I missed it, and it is a big thing to miss. So what does repentance look like? Intentional focus on Damion and our marriage relationship! My heart is in a place of repentance, and I have a few action steps to walk out my repentance. I am talking to you as my sisters. I know you may not be in the same place as me, but I am assured I am not alone in this. It is so easy for kids, and girlfriends, and family and ministry, and can I just say couponing:)...all good take up so much space that our marriage relationship starts to feel more like a business relationship than that of two lovers.

There is much more to the story as we are starting an exciting journey in our marriage as well as one of discipline for me. This includes learning to say the word "no" more often as led by the Holy Spirit, responding to what Damion says and asks for with much more intention likened unto my heart to serve Jesus as my Lord, and focusing on building our marriage in this summer season!

This is where the fun adventure part begins! I want to DATE my husband..... and I bet you want to DATE yours!

How can we date our husbands when money is tight, babysitters are scarce, and we have to spend another night in at home?

I read on a blog a while back about an idea called "dinners @ eight"

The basic idea is that you put your kids to bed early (or just on time) and have dinner at home. I am talking tea lights and cute little dresses and yummy food...right at home! We are going to have "dinner at eight" every other week for the summer months. Our kids are going to be disciples as to what it looks like for a mommy and a daddy to treasure one another as they help me prepare for our dates. I am really excited because this is a way I can be intentional and purposeful in my season of life.

Maybe this is really resonates with some of you...maybe not...but if it does I would love for you to join us in this adventure.

I am going to be planning my "dinner at eight" nights and would love to share them with you so that you could share my ideas. I have included pictures and the menu of our first "dinner at eight" It was really simple and so relaxing and wonderful! This is definitely not about being perfect...more about being intentional :) And now the much anticipated first date :)

Dinner @ Eight

A Night in Italy


Artichoke with Garlic Aioli

Bread with Olive Oil and Vinegar

Main Course:

Garden Salad

Linguine with Chicken Sausage and Red Sauce


Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream


Simple white and Blue Table Cloth with Tea lights

and a vase of lilacs from the yard


Artichoke: trim 1 inch of top and discard and trim stem even with base. Rinse with cold water. Place in 4 cup glass measuring cup. Add ¼ cup of water and cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave for 7-10 minutes or until leaves pull out easily.

Garlic Aioli: mix 2-3 tbsp of mayo with 1 clove of smashed garlic (I love Trader Joe's cubed garlic in the freezer section-these will change your life!) and a smidge of lemon juice.

Chicken Sausage: grilled for 15 on Cuisinart indoor grill

How to: I prepped everything I could early on in the day…made the salad, prepped the artichoke, made the salad, assembled the decorations. We told the kids what we were doing and had some good family play time before we put them to bed. We started about 15 minutes earlier than normal just to make sure we didn’t get a late start. Damion took the kids up to bed while I did the last minute prep which took about 10 minutes since I had most of it done!

We had a really enjoyable time. It was super relaxing to just sit across from one another in our own home, without even the distractions of a restaurant. Damion left me a sweet note in the morning telling me how much he enjoyed the evening! How did your evening go?

A New Adventure!

Hi Friends! It is such an honor to me that you are here, at my blog, and spending your valuable time to read this! I am fresh off some beautiful time with the Lord this morning and am excited to share with you.

Confession: I am not really a blogger. I am a passionate servant of Jesus, a wife, a mommy, a daughter, a sister, and a friend to all of you. I wavered as to if I was to send out "Dinner @ Eight" emails or if I was to make them into blog posts. My lean was to just keep sending out group emails. Then, in my time with the Lord I felt him urging me to make this adventure He has me on into a blog. I was so encouraged by all the emails that I received in response to the first "Dinner @ Eight" email I sent, that I just couldn't keep it all to myself. You all have such beautiful hearts and such amazing things to share. My hope and my desire is that this will be a place where you feel safe to continue to share. I LOVE your thoughts and ideas and NEED them in my life! Consider this a forum to be spurred on in your relationship first with our Lord Jesus Christ, and second with your Husband.

With that said, I will be posting my first "Dinner @ Eight" soon after this. Please think of any women who you think this might bless and invite them to come check it out. Also, a little disclaimer: like I said, I am not a blogger. This may not be pretty, but I will be faithful! I am not quite sure how to format pictures and make everything flow a little grace please :) I will send out a group email when I post a new "Dinner @ Eight" post.
With much love and respect!