Saturday, November 12, 2016

"It's a Shame a Girl Like You..."

It's November, which means it's the beginning of get-togethers, gatherings, and meals with friends and family, you only see once a year.  For my single (I dislike that term, but we'll roll with it) girlfriends, we know what that means.  It's time for the yearly, inevitable question, "So, do you have a boyfriend, yet?"  This cues the response we gave them, last year (I, personally, choose to wait on the Lord and I believe His timing is perfect...this is usually met with a blank stare or a few rapid blinks). "Well, it's such a shame that a girl like you isn't married or at least has a boyfriend," they say.  These questions and responses come from well-meaning friends and family, but they imply that our achievement or position in life is tied to our relationship status and I have to agree, but they are talking about the wrong relationship.  :)  We live in a culture where 7 year olds are praised for having girlfriends or boyfriends and a society that evaluates you by your Facebook relationship status, so it's odd to most when teens and 20-somethings choose to wait on the Lord and not date for recreation.  I'm a huge proponent of Godly marriages and relationships and I look forward to the day that this will come to fruition, in my life (believe me, I love a good, God-honoring relationship story...ahhhh), but the ultimate relationship status is our one with the Lord (even after we are married).  A season of singleness isn't a time to be looked down upon, pitied or to be noted as a less-than moment. On the contrary, it can be a beautiful time that brings glory to our Father (just like all seasons of life).  So, instead of focusing on your single friends' relationship standing, this holiday season, I have a few suggestions on comments you can make that will offer encouragement...

Compliment them on an area in which you see them serving the Lord... 
-"It's such a blessing to watch you serve the Lord in..." 
-"Your dedication to honoring the Lord, in every aspect of your life, is beautiful to see."  

Be interested in what they are doing, here and now...
-"How's life?"
-"What are you up to?"

If you see something in their life, that will indeed bless their future families, then by all means, offer them a compliment in a genuine and positive way.  
-"I know ______ will bless your future husband and family, some day."  
-"Your (character trait) is so _____...your future husband will be a lucky guy."  (We can all tell when people are sincere!) 

Marriage isn't the end all of end alls.  It's a wonderful thing to desire and to prepare for and that is something I try to do.  But, I also pray for contentment, because I know the Lord is sovereign and His plans are what are best for my life...even more so than anything I could conjure up or settle for.  Each stage of life offers it's challenges, so let's strive to be an encouragement to the single girl ("You're such a blessing"), the young mom ("You're doing a great job with your children...keep up the good work"), or the empty-nester ("The way you have raised your children has been such an inspiration to me").  It will mean a lot.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Recipe Love - Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo (Gluten Free Option)

When we went gluten free, I had gained quite a collection of pasta recipes.  In my gluten free newness, I thought we'd never again use them, because (obviously) pasta equals gluten and so forth.  I didn't know they had yummy gluten free pastas (and some of which we won't mention, because they were an utter failure)!  Lately, I have been taking a few of my previous favorite pasta recipes and simply subbing the noodles for a gluten free variety and they evoke the same flavors we used to love.  (We prefer the Barilla brand, so far.)  Pasta is such a treat! Today's recipe love is for Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo from here.  (Note: I'm not a fan of the blog name, but this girl has great recipes.)

When I first tried this recipe, years ago, I was just branching out in my ingredient list, as I had never tried roasted red peppers.  Where had these been, all of my life?  (By the way, you can usually find them near the pickles, in the grocery store.)  Today, it was all I could do not to eat all of the peppers, before I tossed them in the sauce.  (So good.)  The charred outer parts are the best!  This recipe calls for goat cheese, but as I had cream cheese on hand, at the time, cream cheese has stuck as our go-to.  The sauce is eat-with-a-spoon delicious and I usually do (eat it with a spoon, that is, in the name of "I must taste it to see if it needs salt," a thousand times).  So, on to the recipe!  You can find it, here.  My changes are as follows...

  • 12 ounces linguine (I use Barilla gluten free spaghetti)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I use 1 clove)
  • 1 onion, diced (I use 1/2 an onion)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use 3/4 C.)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (I use 3/4 C. of half-n-half)
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (I use 8 oz of cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish (I eyeball this...I love Parmesan, so it's usually more)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
As you can see, I add more liquids and cream cheese, because I prefer more sauce.  I usually end up having to add more water, anyway. (Tip: save your pasta water...I normally forget to do this!)  Too, I don't have an immersion blender, so my food processor works great (you could use a blender, as well)!  This recipe is super simple and is full of flavor.  It has been a favorite of ours, since we first had it.  It's easy to put together and comes together quickly (it can be done in less than 30 minutes).  Add a quick salad and you have yourself a great meal (whether gluten free or not)! 

What are your favorite pasta dishes?


If you'd like to see behind the scenes, you are welcome to follow me on Instagram at  @taylor_forhisglory...


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Finding Joy in the Routine

Hi, my name is Taylor.  That piece of information you already know, but I feel I need to reintroduce myself, after such a long break.  Over the past few months, I've been in the process of simplifying my business endeavors and growing them, at the same time.  I felt led to solely focus on one passion (which can be a bit of a challenge for this "like to do a little bit of everything" girl), but it has been the greatest blessing.  It's always nice when things fall into place, after months of transition and growth.

So, what's new?  Not much, lately, except a haircut.  :)  Which leads me to my thought of the I okay with the that?  I am.  Don't get me wrong, we should always be striving for growth in our walks with the Lord and personal development, but I'm talking life in the general sense.  We often get caught up in the thrill of exciting events and waiting for the next big thing, but those times aren't the norm.  Most days consist of waking up to my alarm, if my cat doesn't wake me up, first (I can usually feel her eyes watching me and begging me to pat her on the head...umm, good morning), getting ready for the day, collaborating with Momma on meals and trying a new gluten free recipe, running my home business, researching health and wellness, corresponding with customers and friends, working on projects (I usually have at least one thing I'm working on...currently, it is the Pillow Case Challenge), helping around the house, and the usual "life" stuff.  Pretty normal, eh?  I'm sure your days consist of much of the same (laundry, meals/meal planning, cleaning, family time, errands, etc.).  It's easy to get discontent with the normal, but it's really an opportunity to find joy.  I'm finding joy in this season, because the normal doesn't always stay "normal."  Are we faithful in the mundane?  Are we joyful in the most basic tasks?  Are we patient, if we are in a waiting stage?  I haven't arrived in this area, but I'm closer than I was, several years ago.  It has taken time and the Lord's patient work, in my heart.  There are times I wish the next stage of life would come, but I know with it will come excitement, but also routines that will need to be carried out with joy.  So, I'm using this time to pray for a joyful heart and make the little things special (fun shopping trips with Mom and Leah, grocery shopping days equal iced coffee runs, and cleaning days are a good excuse to pull out Michael Buble's Christmas album...yes, I know it's August.)  :)

What's the Lord asking of you, in your season?  Is He asking you to find contentment in the everyday or is He teaching you to trust Him, in a new and exciting season?  Each season brings its own set of challenges and opportunities to grow.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

(Gluten Free) Cupcake Success!

I admit it! I struggle greatly in the cake department. I usually attempt a cake every six months, because it takes that long to forget how unsavory the last one ended. I've tried many recipes and they all ended the same...too grainy, too oily, too flat, etc. I had almost resigned to the fact that if I ever wanted a cake, I'd have to ask Margaret Barry to make me one. Since we started gluten free, I haven't attempted a cake. But, seeing as my mom's love language is spelled "CUPCAKES" and seeing as we never get them, I decided to be brave and attempt cupcakes (gluten free, that is). If you're a gluten free fan, then you already know that gluten free baking can be very different, so I was prepared for these to not go as planned. I scoured Pinterest, reading tons of cake/cupcake recipes and finally decided to use one that called for Bob's Red Mill 1-1 baking flour. So, I mixed them up and popped them in oven. Hmmm...this might work after all! After consulting my taste testers (a.k.a, my family) the vote was to go for buttercream icing, while the cupcakes were cooling. Do you know how many buttercream icings there are on Pinterest? Um, several. I decided to go for the one with less sugar and it was still too sweet, so I added more butter, vanilla, half and half, and a pinch of salt. Now, to ice and taste!

I wish I had taken pictures of the process, but I wasn't confident they would be good enough to share. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised, to put it mildly. (Actually, the "Hallelujah Chorus" chimed, after the first bite.) Yum! I've been asked to make these weekly, so I think we've found a winner! The crumb is super soft and has a wonderful texture. You would never know they are gluten free! Really...they are so good. Thanks to Erin (the lady who came up with this recipe) for sharing her "perfect" cupcake secrets!

Here are the links to the recipes!

Cupcakes - Click here!

Notes: The only change I made is that I used arrow root powder, instead of the cornstarch.

Icing - Click here!

Notes: I halved this recipe for 12 cupcakes. It was too sweet, for my taste, so I added an extra half stick of butter, more vanilla, milk, and a pinch of salt. I didn't measure my extras, as it was to taste.

I hope you will give these a try! Meanwhile, there are more cupcakes sitting on our counter, so I will be having a good lesson in self-control. (Hopefully!) Cupcakes don't come around often, so who knows?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Take My Dreams

Growing up, we all have a mental image of how we think our lives will turn out.  It starts with a young desire to save all the kitties of the world, so you're going to be a veterinarian.  Then, your five year old whim evolves into a nine year old desire to be a famous ballerina.  (Or, was that yesterday's goal?)  A few years later, a more mature desire takes hold of being a wife and mom, getting a degree, serving on the mission field, or something of the sort, in the future.  Living in the country, on a farm, as you get older and grandchildren would be nice, if you think that far in advance.  You know the pattern!  We call them dreams or aspirations and they set the course for which we follow.  But, what happens when those dreams don't play out and the road swerves from our projected destination?  What happens when it's time for something to happen according to our schedule (whether it's getting that scholarship from your dream college, getting married, or it's time for a bigger house)?  This subject has been on my heart, lately, and I have been reminded of the following verses.

"There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." 
Proverbs 19:21

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." 
James 4:13-14

I think foremost, we should be reminded that although this is our life, it's not really ours.  If we profess to be Christ-followers, then our lives are His to use.  (I have a tendency to get caught up in little ol' me and my ambitions.)  Now, this doesn't mean we can't dream or have desires, but ultimately He is the one Who leads and charts out the map of life.  Sometimes, He even gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4)!  Knowing that He is ultimately in control, helps keep discontentment at bay, although it's not always an easy battle.  Keeping this our focus enables us to live life according to His time-table and not our own.  We are never overdue for things, as His timing is perfect and best.  This is something I know in my head and have to consistently pray through, so my actions follow suit. "If the Lord will..."  Too, we oftentimes believe if a dream is Godly or even Biblical, then it's guaranteed to happen.  "Children are a reward from the Lord and I desire a big family, so I know my quiver will be full."  Or, "I use this talent for the Lord's glory, so I know I'll be this or do that."  However, we often forget that even though it might be a worthy desire, sometimes the Lord has something even better in store or He is using this time to prepare or work in us.    

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."  
Isaiah 55:8-9

I'm reminded of how many times I have longed for something to happen, but it didn't.  Looking back, I can thank Him for sparing me from my wants, because He had a better plan.  I can take comfort in the fact that He sees the big picture and even though my view might be hazy or short, I can trust Him.  So, what do we do with our dreams?  We offer them to the Lord to do with what He wills and allow Him to become bigger than our dreams.  For then, He will fill those crooks and crannies that make up our longings and He, Himself, will be enough (no matter the outcome)!

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cheesecake Ice Cream and Mixed Berry Topping

Cheesecake ice cream...creamy, tart, rich, and topped with just plain yumminess.  "Cheesecake ice cream" is synonymous with special occasions, in our house. Such as it was, today.  It was my sister's spiritual birthday and we celebrated!  This is one of our favorite special treats.  I'm a huge fan of cheesecake, but if you are wanting the flavors, without the crust, this is for you!  It's definitely not on the nutritious list and contains white sugar, but celebrations call for splurges.  Am I right or am I right?  This ice cream is all things cheesecake...we're talking the traditional, velvety-smooth texture, a hint of citrus, and tons of richness!  And...oh, the topping.  You'll be tempted to just sit down and eat it with a spoon.  It's like berry preserves!  Yum!  I have had this recipe in my recipe book, for some time, and it hasn't failed me, yet.  The original recipe is by Emeril Lagasse (here), but I gave it several tweaks, after my first attempt.  (It didn't make enough and I didn't want to buy 10 blocks of cream cheese!)  So, let's get down to the good stuff...


Ice Cream Base:

2 - 8 oz Cream Cheese (softened)
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Sour Cream
1 Cup Half and Half (or Heavy Cream)
2 Cups Milk
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Mixed Berry Topping:

(+/-) 2 Cups Mixed Frozen Berries (Mine had blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.)
1/3 Cup (less or more to taste) Sugar 
1/4 Cup Water
Splash of Lemon Juice


Rock Salt for Ice Cream Maker


Mixed Berry Topping:

In a saucepan, combine ingredients and bring to boil.  Lower heat and let simmer until thickened and desired consistency.  Make ahead and chill.  

Prepare ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.  Set aside.

Ice Cream:

In a mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until soft and smooth.  Gradually add the sugar, beating well.  Beat in the sour cream, half and half, and milk (cream cheese may stick to bowl, so scrape down sides with spoon).  Add lemon juice and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Transfer ice cream mixture to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions.  I have a traditional ice cream maker and cover my ice cream maker with ice and let it sit for several hours, after it is complete.  (You can store left over ice cream in freezer, but be sure to slightly thaw before re-serving.)

I always make this ice cream, several hours prior to serving and let it sit under ice.  (It's too soft to serve immediately and it's too hard in the freezer.)  I haven't made it to the patent office, yet, but making your ice cream in a cooler is the way to go.  :)  It makes it mess free and easy to clean up.   

And so, we ended a special day, with a special treat and made sure to get our T-Tapp workout in...  ;-)

What is your favorite dessert for special occasions?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Grain-Free Fruit Crisp and Blog Beginnings

It brings back fond memories to have a blank screen staring back at me.  It's been years since I've blogged and I've missed it!  A lot has changed since my "That's Sew Taylor" days, but a lot has stayed the same.  Before I get all sappy, let's get on to the first of many recipes to come...

Gluten free has become a part of our lives, over the past few months and I have actually enjoyed it.  It's definitely trial and error, but we have been able to have the occasional sweet treat thanks to such sites as Pinterest (ahhhh).  With the warmer NC weather has come a little dose of spring fever and what is better than a fruit crisp?  Not much, I'd say.  I'm one to prefer a tart dessert, any day, and this fits the bill.  A medley of fruits is garnished with a totally grain free (but oh-so-yummy) crumb, that bakes into a crunchy, granola-ish topping.  It has become a make-often favorite, in our household (and I only found the recipe, a few days ago).  This crisp is simply sweetened with maple syrup, which gives it that flavor I so love!  Anyway...I adapted this recipe to make a small (4-person) crisp and just eyeballed the measurements.  You can't mess it up!

Original recipe in black (my changes in teal):

Grain-free Mixed Berry Crisp (Vegan)
serves 8-10
6 cups fresh berries –  I used a combination of quartered strawberries, whole raspberries, and whole blackberries.  (I eyeballed the amount of fruit and used what we had in the freezer...I would say it was about 3 cups of frozen blueberries, peaches, strawberries, and some raspberries, thawed and drained.)
1/4 cup arrowroot starch (tapioca or corn starch will also work)  (I prefer arrowroot starch and used a little over an 1/8th cup.)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (Halved)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (Halved the maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Halved)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Halved)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional) (Did not use)

Crumble Topping: (I used half of each of the following,..)
1/3 cup raw walnuts 
1/3 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds (I used pecans, instead.)
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds
3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
1/4 cup arrowroot starch (tapioca or corn starch will also work)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup coconut oil solidified or butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

I will definitely be making this, often, especially in the summer months!  Enjoy!