Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Amazing Family, Delicious Food, and the Love of Christ!

It's a another cold day here in Kentucky, as I woke to a heavy dusting of snow as more fluffy flakes fell to the ground.  It was one of those keep your robe on, lights some candles, and get an extra large mug of coffee kind of mornings! 
We've had a few of those lately despite the rumor that spring is here!  I don't want to complain, because I do love snow and the excuse to keep my fireplace on all day.  But, where was this over Christmastime??
My husband has the day off, as he worked 'till 3:00 am last night and deserved at least a morning to sleep in!  I thought it would be a perfect time to make some homemade Good Morning Blueberry Muffins and surprise him with the smell of cinnamon and sugar when he woke up!
We enjoyed our muffins and coffee.  We talked about some uncertainty in our lives, but my hubby was quick to remind me of how the Lord is sustaining us and has given us amazing peace when we aren't for sure what the future holds!
I won't go into details in this post, but most of you who have read my blog for a while now know that we're praying and believing for children.  We have actually tried for almost 7 years now, and while it feels like we've been running a marathon of a race for years without a break, the Lord has been faithful.  He has truly accomplished a miraculous thing in us by taking away constant fear, anxiety, stress, discouragement and hopelessness that I felt for a long period of time.  I still have difficult days when I miss our baby girl in Heaven, but God helps me manage those with His love and peace that is no less than unexplainable!
The more I read His Word, the more I trust Him.  The more I trust Him, the easier it becomes and the better I hear His voice.  
He is showing us the way and giving us direction, but that will be for another blog post! :)
I have a big pot of chili simmering in the crock pot and should be ready tonight just before worship team practice at church!  I can't wait for practice tonight!!  We're singing in the ensemble this week on Easter, and I'm really looking forward to it!  Praising His name on Resurrection Day is my honor!
So I'm going to back up to last Friday, and let you in on my weekend that was full of family and food!
Since we were having complany, I bought a lovely bouquet of delicate tulip buds that were too pretty not to photo! 
I haven't seen my family in a while, and I've been missing our "girls time", so Mom and my sister Faith, came up for a quick visit!!!
When they arrived and after all the hugs, I made us a pot of delicious French press coffee to enjoy in some spring tea cups.  We love being girly!
They delivered to me a spring/summer wreath that I ordered from my really good friend, Sarah from Wreaths By Sarah.  She made it custom for me, and I just love it!!  The gorgeous "C" in the middle is my favorite part, and it looks beautiful on my black front door!  It makes a statement, even from the street.
Now my door is officially ready for Spring!
We decided to stay in Saturday night and make some homemade pizza.  Oh my goodness, we had so much fun!!!
Here you can see a variety of things including, Roma tomatoes, green and kalamata olive, red and orange bell peppers, red onion, fresh basil, turkey pepperoni, parm cheese, fresh mozzarella slices, more grated mozzarella and Colby-jack cheeses. 
Everything looked yummy!
Here I am trying my best to roll out and pat fresh pizza dough from Trader Joes (garlic & herb fresh dough) into the pan.  It kept tearing and giving me trouble, so I had a frown-y face!  (hahaha!)
Success!!!  Thanks to us all working together, we built two gorgeous pizzas!
This one is half margarita, which is sliced fresh mozz, Roma tomatoes, and basil leaves with a drizzle of olive oil.  The other side was grated mozz and turkey pepperoni. 
The other one (that you don't see here) is a veggie pizza on fresh whole wheat dough with red and orange peppers, olives, thinly sliced onion, tomatoes, basil and mixture of mozzarella and Colby-jack cheese.  We showered both pizzas with Italian seasonings and dried oregano.  YUM!!!
We're excited to put our masterpiece pizzas in the oven! 
Please don't mind the "every day-around the house look" about me.  I originally didn't think about all these pictures going on the blog. :)
Like I said, delicious.
Oh, and the pizza sauce is my own that I made from scratch! It's really easy to do. I don't have the measurements, but it consists of:
crushed tomatoes
tomato paste
minced garlic
onion powder
Italian seasoning
dried oregano
pinch of sugar
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

I make it a few hours ahead of time and store it in a mason jar in the fridge. It bakes on the pizza, but isn't cooked before so the flavors are bright and fresh! It's so delicious!!
We had a green salad of English cucumber, romaine lettuce, and baby spinach to go along with the meal.  We all agreed that making the pizzas was the yummiest idea, and the memories we made were just as good as the pizza! 
The next morning, Mr. Cozy actually didn't have to go into work which was a surprise.  He fixed us one of our favorite breakfast treats, Delicious Sticky Buns to go along with eggs and bacon.  These sticky buns filled with raisins, pecans and cinnamon and are some of the easiest and best little things a person can eat!
It was a very special way of starting off Palm Sunday before we headed to an awesome service at church.

It was cold and rainy on Sunday, and when Mom suggested we go to The Grape Leaf for lunch we agreed that was a terrific idea.
The Grape Leaf is one of our favorite local places!  It's an authentic Mediterranean restaurant in Louisville that serves everything so fresh and full of flavor. (As you can see, I ordered the beef-lamb gyro with lots of tzitziki sauce with cauliflower rice that was full of almonds and herbs and spices.)
The atmosphere is very cozy with candles on every table, warm golden colors and even a large fountain in the back corner that is so tranquil!  We sipped coffee and enjoyed the experience on a drizzly day.
The whole weekend was a blessing to us all! 
I am reminded of the good things the Lord has been so gracious to give me.  I don't deserve to have such an incredible family that loves one another so much, but I was born into that kind of stable home.  My praise and thanksgiving to God has power to help diminish the other things that I too often focus on not having!
I'm going to go now and check on my chili, but I hope you can also reflect on how the love and grace of God has been poured into your own life this Easter week. 
 Jesus Christ died on the cross because He loves us so very much (too much to comprehend)!  John 3:16-17
He actually carried all of the sins of the world.... all the sins that ever happened and will ever exist.  The perfect and blameless Jesus was carrying that load when He died, so that now we have eternal life and have a blessed hope of eternity with Jesus Christ!  We can boldly pray to God in Jesus name to forgive us of our sins, and we will be cleansed, set free and redeemed!!  Friends, I will tell you that I don't deserve that kind of love and grace.  But God thinks so! 
So when I have a moment of discouragement, I think about how much He loves me.
  When I comprehend that love--as much as my human brain can--I realize there is NO REASON for fear in my life.  If He loves me enough to die an agonizing death and bring Himself back to life, how much more will He do in my own life for His glory and praise!? :D   1 John 4:18, 1 John 4:4&5
He is Risen!!!
.... Now I really need to check my chili. :) 



NanaNor's said...

Hi Leslie, I am so thankful that we have access to Perfect Peace. I loved. Hearing about your moms visit with your sister. Your pizza looks so good, as does your breakfast. Have a blessed Easter week and resurrection day.
Hugs, Noreen

Bernideen said...

Your blog is a wonderful testimony of God's goodness. Food looks incredible!!!

Melody said...

I really enjoyed today's post. I loved seeing you with your Mom and sister. I lost my Mom in 1994 when I was only 33. But as you know God always has a plan and I have been blessed with a loving, kind "second" Mom. I am not sure why I am so very touched by your post today and I do not usually comment. You just never know when you write whose life it will touch. Thanks and God bless.

Lois' Laughlines said...

He is risen, he is risen, Indeed!
blessings to you.

Coffee Mom said...

Celebrating His resurrection with you!! So glad His perfect love casts out fear. What a fun time you shared with your family!

Maria said...

I loved your post! Your pizza looks delicious and how fun to get to spend time with your family!
And I was actually thinking the same thing today as I was reading my Bible - the more time I spend reading, the more I trust the Lord and the more I see His faithfulness and am able to get through moments of struggle and anxiety. It's amazing how God works and speaks to us! Your blog is so encouraging, Leslie, and I always love what you have to say!

Jen said...

Leslie, Enjoyed reading your sweet post. Thinking about you and know that my prayers are going up to our Heavenly Father for you and your hubby. His divine plan is always perfect! For several years I've really had to pray hard for that peace and some days I have it and then my human worries come out again. I question God why things have happen and then he speaks to me though things I hear or see. Music is one thing that really speaks to me and I often will hear encourage tunes that we keep me fighting on with such a simple truths...Just Trust, Have Hope and Faith...Sweet daughter just surrender it ALL to me He says.

The pizza look amazing too! Such a sweet bond you have with your mom and sister. Keep encourage never lose HOPE!

elizabeth said...

Beautiful, delicious, love filled post!

I'm praying and believing that God will lead you and guide you and give you the desires of your heart.

I told you the story of our oldest daughter who after 10 years of infertility and 3 miscarriages now has two miracle girlies. I think watching her go through all that was the hardest thing I've ever been through. I so wanted to take her pain away. BUT, GOD! Now the memory of that pain seems long ago and far away as I see her with her sweet girls.

Much love to you, dear Leslie, and I will commit to praying for you.

laurie said...

What a wonderful testament of your faith. Looks like you had such a wonderful time, God surely has blessed you with an awesome family. God's will is not always ours, or always in OUR time. I'll be praying He blesses you with children soon!

Jocelyn said...

You completely and totally inspired me this morning! God knew I needed to read this today!!! Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful things from your week. That pizza looks so delicious!!!

Joy said...

You and you husband are in my prayers. Your blog is such a blessing

Michelle said...

What a great time. I make homemade pizza all the time. I like it so much better then delivery. I am going to check out your sticky buns. They look so good .

Ali @ Jamhands.net said...

The pizza looks delish and you 3 girls are completely adorable! Love that you all wore shades of pink/purple. So cute :)

Beth @A Little Country House said...

Leslie, I just love you! Yes, Jesus paid it all! and He is gracious and loves us. I have been right where you are. Right in the middle of it. I am certain he has such special plans awaiting you and your husband. Press on and keep praising him, you are salt and light!

Dewena said...

Leslie, Ater reading this sweet post i read the comments above and I know that they have brought happiness to you. You have touched many with this post and with your previous posts as we get a glimpse not only of your cooking, beautiful photographs and home but also into your life and spirit. May the grace of God be with you on this special Sunday,

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Oh my ... those pizzas have me drooling. They look amazing.

I just stumbled across your blog tonight (this morning, technically) and while I don't know your story, I pray you will realize the hopes of having a child.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Happy to follow you back, Leslie. And I love your name. I have a beautiful niece with the same name.

Lois' Laughlines said...

What a sweet post. The food looks amazing. Even more amazing, that Jesus loves us... He is risen, he is risen, Indeed.
blessings to you.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Hi Leslie, what beautiful women you all are! I enjoyed seeing your pic and hearing about all the fabulous food you enjoyed. We don't know what God has in mind for our future. We'd like to be in control, but having faith in Him is our goal. Have a blessed week! xo

Shiloh Barkley said...

Pressed coffee is the BEST! Even better in the china.