Dancing in Heaven

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One of my very favorite things about my dad is that he was a dancer. I’m not talking ballroom here. I’m talking middle of the kitchen after he served himself a GIANT bowl of ice cream, up from the couch after the 9ers scored a touchdown, or over my bed as he pulled open my shades and yelled, “RISE AND SHINE!” at 8am on a Saturday. And he wore hospital pants for his pajamas (because they were incredibly comfortable) so I picture those surgical green scrubs dancing around our house. It’s one of those images that my mind always goes to when I think of my dad. And when I picture him tired and weak and pale from the cancer, I squeeze my eyes shut and force that image to the forefront. And for a moment, I’m taken back to a time when both of my parents were healthy and alive and when the thought of that changing wasn’t ever present. When I think of my dad now, I like to think that he is somewhere, dancing. And now that my mom has left us, I hope that she is up there, too. I don’t really see her dancing. It is more like watching him and laughing and clapping gleefully. That’s my new image.

As a little girl, I was incredibly close to God. Seriously, he was my best friend. He was always with me. I talked to him all day long, just as I would with a tangible friend. As life happened, He was always my one constant. It wasn’t until the last 8 years or so that things changed. My friendship with God. My religious affiliations. My complete understanding in His plan. And I’m sure a lot of that can be attributed to the loss of both my parents. I get that. But it really is so much more. But today, that isn’t the point. Today I simply say thatI miss Him. And that I’m still, and forever, grateful.

Now I’m not looking for others to read this and immediately bear their testimony. I actually hope that doesn’t happen. I’ve started a new post on my relationship with God over the years and I’ll post it when I’m really ready. I wrote it with the hope that it will give some clarity to those who don’t understand my choices. But writing it did so much more for me. It made me start to feel His presence again. I love that. Anyway, more on that another day.

The point of this post is to address today. I woke up with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Seriously, like a heavy blanket over my soul. I have no doubt that it is because of today and what it means for my family. I know, with complete certainty, that families are eternal. We only get such a small time together here on earth and that is incredibly hard to understand. But one day, because of His ultimate sacrifice, we will be reunited.

The week before my dad died, he went to church with me.

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I should mention that he was completely against my chosen religion and had never attended a service with me. But he went and the opening hymn was “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” There is a line in the song that says,

He lives and grants me daily breath.

He lives, and I shall conquer death.

My dad broke down in tears because at that point, he was looking for a miracle and he took that line as hope that God would give him another chance and he’d conquer death and live. I knew that it meant that even if he didn’t make it here on earth, he would conquer death by receiving eternal life, BECAUSE of the resurrection. And in that moment, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Quite like today.

Now, I’m not one to preach but the thing is, THIS knowledge is what holds everything together for me. It is the idea that one day I get to hear my mom’s laugh and see my dad’s smile. And that lights me up and carries me through. So on really hard days, I picture all of us, together. Dancing it out in surgical green hospital pants. Free of pain. Free of heartache. Full of joy. Forever. That is what today means for me.

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I know that my Redeemer lives.

What comfort this sweet sentence gives!

He lives and grants me daily breath.

He lives, and I shall conquer death.

He lives my mansion to prepare.

He lives to bring me safely there.

 

I hope that we can all feel this peace, today and every day.

Salsa Zucchini

Do you need a way to spice up your veggies? This is perfect! My mom used to make it for me when I was stressed because the cheese does something for my soul! 😉

Serve it as a side or as the main course over a pile of brown rice! Just remember, you can’t skimp on the cheese! 

Enjoy!

Salsa Zucchini
A tasty alternative to boring squash
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 or 5 medium zucchini
  2. 1 C salsa (I prefer Costco's organic salsa)
  3. 8 oz swiss cheese, sliced (the more, the merrier)
  4. 1 C mozzarella cheese (again, MORE is better!)
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Boil water zucchini until al dente (about 8 minutes). Be sure not to overcook. Let cool. Slice in half, lengthwise and blot dry.
  3. Place zucchini flesh side up on a baking sheet. Salt and pepper, to taste. Add mozzarella cheese. Place in oven for 1 minute, just long enough for cheese to melt. (This helps the salsa stick.) Douse the zucchini with salsa. Top with swiss cheese. Broil until SUPER crispy. Seriously. Don't take it out too soon. 5 minutes? Be sure to keep a careful eye on them!
  4. Let cool and enjoy!
Notes
  1. -Be sure to blot dry. You want to remove as much excess water as possible before baking.
  2. -Use a lot of cheese. I'm serious. If you are looking for a clean zucchini recipe, just eat it boiled. Or roasted. THIS recipe should be stretchy, and crispy, and oh so delicious!
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Pork Roast

Roasts are one of my favorite things to make because they are simple AND versatile. Serve this bad boy as your main course but be sure to shred what you don’t eat on night one and use it for another meal. Check out my other posts using this roast, especially my crock pot chili.

 

Pork Roast
Flavorful, juicy, versatile!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large pork roast, boneless
  2. 1/2 C low sodium chicken stock
  3. 1 T coconut oil
  4. 1 T butter
  5. 1 yellow onion, chopped
  6. 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. 2 T Italian seasoning (or fresh herbs)
  8. 2 T salt (Himalayan is best!)
  9. 1 T black pepper (crushed is best!)
  10. 1 can chopped green chiles
Instructions
  1. Turn on crock pot to low. On the stovetop, heat butter on high.
  2. Season roast all around and be sure to press it in. Be sure to wait to sear roast until it is room temperature.
  3. Add roast to HOT pan and sear on ALL sides (even the ends.) Once the entire roast is dark and crisp, add half of the onions and garlic with the coconut oil. Baste for a couple minutes.
  4. Add roast and veggies to crock pot. Top with remaining veggies, including the chiles. Pour chicken broth over meat.
  5. Cover, and cook on low for about 3 hours. Let cool before slicing.
Notes
  1. If you do not want to use the crock, cover the pan you used to sear it and bake for about 70 minutes (depending on size of roast.) Be sure to add another tablespoon of butter or oil.
  2. If you are using this recipe as step one for another recipe, be sure to shred the meat while it is still hot. Simply beat on high with a handheld mixture right in the crock pot!
  3. If you want REALLY tender meat, add a can of beer to the crock pot and omit the broth. I promise it won't taste like alcohol. 😉
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Egg Muffins

These tasty “muffins” are perfect for crazy mornings because you can just pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds (preferably with a turkey meatball! See previous post) and you are good to go! Plus you can pretty much add whatever you want to them.

Here are the cups I use. They are a lifesaver. The muffins pop right out and clean up is a breeze!

Enjoy!

Egg Muffins
Muffin style frittata
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 10 eggs
  2. 1 T coconut oil
  3. 1/4 C unsweetened almond milk
  4. 1/3 C spinach, chopped
  5. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  6. 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  7. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  8. 1 T ginger, grated
  9. 1 T italian seasoning (or fresh herbs!)
  10. 1 t salt (Himalayan is best!)
  11. 1/2 t black pepper (crushed is best!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with muffin cups. (See blog for link to the cups I use.)
Eggs
  1. Beat eggs and milk with a dash of salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Set aside.
Veggies
  1. Season and sauté chopped veggies (except spinach) in coconut oil until al dente. Let cool slightly.
  2. Poor egg mixture into cups. Add about 1 T of sautéed veggies to each cup. Add in a pinch of spinach to each. Gently mix with fork.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cups do not jiggle.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Add whatever you'd like! Mushrooms, zucchini, spaghetti squash. It's all good! I make these when I have left over veggies. You can also add cooked sausage, crumbled bacon, or cheese. These reheat very well. Make a dozen and reheat a couple in the morning. If they seem dry, drizzle with a bit of water before reheating.
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs
Yields 32
Simple, tasty, and healthy!
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Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3lbs lean ground turkey
  2. 3 eggs, beaten
  3. 1 C rolled oats
  4. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  6. 1 C shredded carrots, chopped smaller
  7. 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  8. 3 T organic ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  9. 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  10. 2 T Italian Seasoning (or fresh herbs!)
  11. 1 T avocado oil
  12. 1 t salt (Himalayan is best!)
  13. 3/4 t black pepper (crushed is best!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Cover baking sheet with foil and coat with avocado oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. - Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Mix with hands. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
  3. - Form into 1.5" balls and place on baking sheet. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. -Sprinkle with salt. Let cool. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Tip: Chop all of the veggies ahead of time. Also, feel free to add more veggies! Sometimes I use chopped mushrooms and spinach. 60 minutes IS a lot of time if you're making these to eat them right away. Plan smart and cook these bad boys ahead of time. The quantities are large because you should freeze half. 😉
Exercise Through Grief http://exercisethroughgrief.com/
These meatballs are simple, healthy, and delicious! Eat them with a couple eggs for breakfast, with quinoa and veggies for lunch, or over whole wheat noodles + pesto sauce (with a spinach and strawberry salad!) for dinner. Make a big batch and freeze half. So versatile. So filling. SO good!