Sunday, March 1, 2015

Gather Around Our Table is now

Friends!!! I have been MIA here because I've been working hard to get my new site and blog up and running for you. I can not wait until you see it. I think it is a much more purposeful expression of this online space and I hope it blesses you a million times more than it does me!

Today is LAUNCH DAY over at! Click over to read our new blog and join the community already forming of women who want to live a slower life around the table with the ones we love. 

This blog will stay active but I will no longer be posting here. If you want to keep reading and stay connected with what I'm up to (hint: a little shop is opening it's doors soon! ;)) then head over to the new site and sign up for our newsletter!

Join me there!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Spinach Cheese & Mushroom Quesadillas

Denton is pretty well known for the coffee shops and small eateries around town, of which there are many to choose from. It feels like every month a new restaurant goes up for business! But I love the old school ones...the ones that have been in business for years and years and who's families run them.

Right off the square there is a great restaurant just like that called the Greenhouse. It's been my favorite since college, when I tried their spinach and mushroom quesadilla. It sounds so plain but it is actually incredibly flavorful........

.... catch more + the recipe over at My Cooking Spot today! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Goals

I cannot believe it's February. Jordan and I walked around Barnes & Noble yesterday and I saw a big bucket of Christmas stuff on clearance. I thought "really?! Christmas was sooo long ago, that is so weird!" then quickly realized it was only the last day of January. Wow. 

I'm feeling a little in between the lines right now regarding my goals. I accomplished what felt like a lot this month, in a span of time that felt so short. At the same time, my self doubt creeps in and tells me I'm totally behind. I'm working on speaking truth into that :)

Mapping out and deciding before hand what mattered most to me and then laying out actionable steps to get me there totally freed me up to just DO what I had set out to do from the beginning, which felt so good. 

So, let's review January's goals:

Email a friend about discipleship Yes! I'm excited to get to know her more and see where this leads. 

Schedule haircut It wasn't 6 months coming or anything... 

Clean out garage I'm thinking this is either a husband only job or a long Saturday job for the both of us. We had a lot going on inside our garage with wedding projects for a friend and then selling my car, so it's been occupied. Onto February's list it goes. 

Shoot 10-15 recipes for the book I seriously cannot believe that I got 13 recipes shot for the book. Car-az-ay. I thought this was going to be the biggest most monumental task with a toddler but in all reality it made our days at home so much easier. Cooking your dinner at noon is the best. Or at the very least it beats trying to make dinner during witching hour. 

Plan Jan. + Feb. date nights with Jordan Y'all, we had the most fabulous date last month. It wasn't fancy at all. In fact, it was at an over crowded restaurant (not my scene) with ice cream afterwards. The special part was that I feel like we really moved forward on some hard things and I left feeling secure in that. 

This month we're planning to go on a "progressive dinner" around our city! There are tons of new restaurants down town I can't wait to try. 

Solidify vendors for shop  Yes! And so excited to begin working with them. With my crazy question asking self, they are already so helpful! I'm so grateful this part is over. Let's just say searching online for things is my #1 energy drainer. I can't wait to order all new business cards and more for the shop! Eek!! 

Find parenting resources for Feb. I'm feeling super pressured to read a book for some reason. Books feel like the most obvious choice here, but right now I don't have time to add another book to my list. I get a little crazy when I have too many unfinished :) 

I did download podcasts including: God Centered Mom, Inspired to Action (fave!!!!), Focus on the Family and Nancy Lee DeMoss. I think that will give me plenty of mama meat to chew on for a while. 

Now, this month's goals (a.k.a intentional things I'm going to make happen): 

Big or small, what are you hoping to see happen this month? 

Linked with Goals with Grace

Friday, January 30, 2015

Reaghan's First Birthday!

Well, our sweet Reaghan turned one in November, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about her birthday! It was a sweet day filled with friends and family who love our girl and made us feel so special with their presence. 

I wanted the details to be feminine and sweet, like our little girl! I incorporated two of my favorite colors.....surprise and peach :)

People joined us in reading a dedication of Reaghan to the Lord. Our church is so large that they don't do individual baby dedications, but encourage home groups and communities to participate on their own. We took some scripture we liked from a resource from our church and had everyone read along with us. It was a sweet time. 

There was even a photo booth! One of my favorite parts :) Here's the backdrop I created from a stick I found outside and some yarn. I cut the yarn double long, folded it in half and then looped it around the stick. It was super long for the party to cover an armoire we have for pictures. After the party I cut the yarn much shorter and hung it above her crib.  

Reaghan was much more interested in the markers for the photo booth frames than her toys! Of toddlers... 

We served a few snacks to guests and gave everyone a baggie full of homemade kettle corn as a thank you! I could have eaten that entire basket of kettle corn...mmm...

Photography by the amazing Casandra Hawkins...except for that last one, totally iPhone quality ;)

Did you throw your little one a first birthday? What are your favorite themes? I can't wait for some fun ones in the future: ice cream party, little chefs, tea party, oh my! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gluten-free Dairy-free Cilantro Lime Crock-pot Tacos // Ali Wren

Y'all, I'm so excited for you to hear from my friend Ali today!! I met Ali at the Influence Conference when she hosted a cute little meet-up for gluten-free/dairy-free folks to eat some allergy-free cupcakes from a local bakery! It was so fun and thoughtful. I loved even the short time I got to spend with her in sessions and just talking about failures and hopes. I knew she was a special person with so much to offer! 

Ali blogs about healthy minded eating and whole hearted living, truly being present where you are and loving people well, while being conscious of the food you eat! She has GREAT tips for traveling with allergies and even offers an e-book to her newsletter subscribers (available at the top of her homepage!) with in depth information on national chain restaurants and how they cater to allergy specific needs. It's incredibly helpful. 

Enjoy this recipe from Ali!! I'll definitely be making this for dinner next week! 

 Gluten-free Dairy-free Cilantro Lime Crock-pot Tacos 

Tacos are pretty much the greatest main dish. People with food allergies or special food needs can feast on the same meal as their friends and family. This chicken is a super easy and tasty crock-pot recipe. You can eat the meat hot and ready for dinner one night, and eat it cold on a salad for lunch the next day, or even scoop it up with chips and guacamole. 

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or breast pieces
  • 1 16-ounce jar gluten-free salsa (some gluten-free brands include: Chi Chi’s, Frontera, On the Border, Newman’s Own, Old El Paso, Pace, Taco Bell, and Tostito’s)
  • 1 packet gluten-free taco seasoning (gluten-free brands include: Trader Joe’s, Old El Paso, Ortega, McCormick, Penzey’s, and some Frontera packages)
  • 1/3 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro (feel free to go lighter on the cilantro or eliminate if you are not a fan)
  • gluten-free corn tortillas *optional (gluten-free brands include: Mission, Rudy’s, and La Tortilla)
  • gluten-free corn chips *optional (gluten-free brands include: Snyder of Hanover, most Tostitos, Mission, and Xochil)
  • condiments of your choice
Place chicken in crock pot. Combine salsa, taco seasoning, lime juice, and cilantro. Pour combination over the chicken. Cover and heat on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for approximately 4 hours. Pull the chicken apart with two forks and mix everything together. Scoop into your favorite shell and Enjoy!

grain-free: eat as a taco salad
corn-free: eat on a salad or flour tortilla, or with sweet potato chips
optional add-ons: beans, cheese, sour cream, corn, salsa, guacamole

Monday, January 26, 2015

Guest Post: Elevated Tomato Soup

Yay! I'm so excited to introduce you to my friend Madison! She was my very first friend in this whole blogging world and has been such an awesome influence in my life. She loves to cook and create in the kitchen, so I thought it would be fun for her to share a recipe with you! Here it is, I hope you enjoy it! 

Hi friends! I'm so excited to be sharing with you guys today! My name is Madison and I blog at The Wetherills Say I Do, a faith based lifestyle blog where I share everything from recipes to marriage to blogging tips! When Natasha asked me if I would be interested in guest posting I was all for it! Natasha has become a great blog friend over the last few months. I admire her cooking and life mottos so much!

I have always been a soup and salad kind of girl. It's the perfect lunch combo in my eyes. Personally, my favorite soup of all time is tomato soup. A lot of people may turn to that only when they are sick, but for me it's my go to always.


I've made the copy cat version of Panera's tomato soup, but I wanted to try something a little different. See, you probably would feel weird serving plain old tomato soup for dinner to guests, or at least I feel like I would. However, you can add a few simple ingredients and have an elevated tomato soup recipe that will make them forget about any seemingly "boring" tomato recipe they've had in the past.


Literally by adding two extra ingredients, you've completely changed this dish from the-soup-you-eat-when-you're-sick to a gourmet soup experience.


For clarification, I don't believe that food needs to be showy. Food can be simple, but elegant. Recipes should be easy to make, but have a hard-to-make kind of taste!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 large super-ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
4 leaves fresh basil + 1 tablespoon chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 slices of bacon
1/4 cup crumbled feta


-Warm the oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook until soft but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
-Add the tomatoes (with juices), sugar, basil leaves, salt, and black pepper.
Increase the heat to high and bring the tomatoes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam from the surface.
- While the soup is simmering, cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Remove and place on a paper towel to remove any remaining grease, then chop into tiny pieces.
-Puree the soup in a blender or with emersion blender, in batches if necessary; then pass the puree through a medium-mesh strainer, pressing on and discarding the solids. Return the soup to the pot to keep it warm.
-Use a ladle to separate into individual bowls, top with chopped basil, feta and bacon.

I'd love for you to comment below with your favorite soup recipes and stop by my blog to see what it's all about!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kitchen Basics: Slicing and Dicing an Onion

I've been wanting to put together a series of posts explaining some kitchen basics for a while now, and for some reason I've never gotten around to it! I get a lot of questions regarding some of the easiest skills in the kitchen. For me, these seem basic and easy, but as I've had conversations with many, I've realized that not knowing how to do these tasks keep women out of the kitchen and intimidated of cooking! 

Because of this I'll be sharing some practical how-to's with you through this series! I'll be posting periodically (weekly? bi-weekly?) with simple skills to make your cooking experience more enjoyable and boost your confidence as you learn! 

I know I've had my share of light bulb moments when reading recipes or cookbooks and noticing something being done differently. I've been taught by so many, and have picked up a lot over the years. So let's get started with the first topic: how to slice and dice an onion! 

Here's what you'll need:

A regular ole onion and a large chef knife. I'm using an 8 inch knife. You could use a smaller knife, just be a bit more mindful of your fingers and how close you're getting with the blade ; )


Step 1: Turn onion on it's side and cut off tops. I always save veggie scraps, including onion tops for when I make homemade chicken broth. Just throw them into a plastic bag and freeze them until you need them. 

Step 2: Turn the onion flat on it's top (or bottom) and cut down the middle. 

Step 3: Peel onion. 

Step 4: Lay each onion half on it's flat side and run your knife along it length wise, from right to left. You can differentiate with how thick you would like your slices to be. Just remember, go SLOW, no cook's a happy cook when she slices her me. 

Simply do Steps 1-4, then...

Step 5: When you are slicing, hold each sliced piece together with a free finger so they stay together. Move so the cuts face horizontally, and run your knife through it again in the same manner, creating small diced pieces! 

See, easy peasy! Sliced onions are great sautéed or caramelized and topped on a burger, or used in sauces. Diced onions are great in just about anything else. My forever motto is that anything good always, always, starts with onion and garlic.....In fact, I'll cover garlic next time! 

Share with me in the comments or on Instagram if you have any requests for kitchen skills that you'd like to learn. I want to share what will be helpful for you! : )