Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Trust Issues...

As I was spending time with Jesus yesterday (something that, in all honesty, I've been avoiding lately) the one thing that I kept telling him was that the biggest cry of my heart right now is to trust him. Because lately my distrust of him has become so painfully obvious to me.

As I've been struggling with an important decision I've realized something about myself. Can I be really honest? Seeing as how it's not like anyone really reads this blog, I think my secrets are safe lol. The truth is, I would much rather choose the path that requires the least amount of trust in God because I simply don't trust him. I would rather choose the safe, easy, and comfortable path because I don't believe that if I were to step out and follow the Lord's leading that he'd take care of me. How horrible is that? But it's the cold hard truth. And you know what? It breaks my heart.

I think a lot of us Christians if asked if we trusted God would probably say yes. If for no other reason than we wouldn't want to look like "bad Christians". But do we really trust him? Actions speak louder than words. Do we live like we trust him? I can tell you that I don't. And I don't know if I really ever have. So much of my life has been lived in the shadow of fear. I've allowed fear to hold my hand for so long that I barely am aware of it anymore. It's just become my life, my reality. I only become aware of the weight of my fear when I feel Jesus trying to pull me out of it. Whispering ever so softly and tenderly to leave fear behind, step out in faith, and follow him. I want to... oh how I want to. And in that moment with him, in the sweetness of his presence, I believe that I can. But it isn't long before fear comes back to stake it's claim on me once again. And the cycle continues.

When I think about the fork in the road that I'm currently standing in, it strikes me that the path that scares me the most is also somehow, in the strangest way, the one I have the most peace about. And the easy, safe path... well, that has just been making me cry. I've been upset and bursting into tears since I chose it. And it's like God keeps speaking to my heart telling me that I don't have to choose it, I don't have to let fear win and give up on the dreams he's planted in my heart. I don't have to settle for less than his best for me. I am a daughter of the King... so why am I begging for scraps at the table?

Deep down I know that he's a good God. I know he's faithful. I know he loves me. Why is this so hard for me to believe sometimes when evidence of his goodness everywhere? I just so easily let the enemy blind me to that. I think if my human mind, if even only for a second, could comprehend the extent of his great love for me... trusting him wouldn't be quite so hard. I long to put my life totally in his hands. To step out in faith and follow where he leads. I know that it wouldn't always be easy or fun... but in my heart, I know it would be worth it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chocolate Espresso Pots De Creme

Hey fellow foodies! It feels like forever and a day since I've shared a recipe here but since I've been ever so slowly getting my feet wet again in the blogosphere, thought I'd change that. I actually had forgotten that I had these pictures of this delish dessert on my computer that I meant to share like over a year ago. This Chocolate Espresso Pots De Crème is one of my favorite desserts and is perfect for the holidays!

Pots De Crème, the name sounds so French and fancy, doesn't it? But it actually just means "pot of custard" or "pot of cream". And from what I've read, also refers to the porcelain cups it's often served in. The texture is very similar to custard or pudding but just a little looser.

The first time I ever tasted Pots De Crème was at Elizabeth St. Café in Austin, TX. My sister always tries to come visit from GA at least once a year and it's typically in early July, just in time for our parent's birthdays. When she visits we always like to make a trip to Austin for the day. It's one of our favorite cities to just hang out in. We eat breakfast at Kerbey Lane, shop on South Congress, browse Waterloo Records, eat dinner at Las Palomas - our favorite Mexican restaurant, and get dessert and iced coffee at Elizabeth St. Cafe!

I love this place, you guys! For one thing it's so super cute and classy. And I'm always a fan of any place that has great coffee and desserts. We usually stop in the middle of the day after shopping on SoCo. Right when you are seated they serve you a complimentary glass of ice water.... which kinda just makes you want to hug them after being out in the scorching July heat all afternoon. My favorite thing to order is a glass of their Vietnamese Iced Coffee and their Coffee flavored Pots De Crème (yes, give me all the coffee, please).

They serve it with a generous dollop of whipped cream and a chocolate cookie. The coffee flavor is not overwhelming and the texture is silky and light. It was a simple dessert, really, but one of the best things I'd ever tasted. I became determined to recreate this at home. After testing out a couple recipes that didn't turn out quite right, I found this one! It's pretty simple and fast to whip up and is crazy good! With the holidays right around the corner it would make such an easy and impressive dessert! Hope you'll give it a try!

Some more pictures of our last visit to Elizabeth St. Café:

My sis and I in front of the colorful café.

Picture of the café as well as other desserts we ordered. Blueberry bread pudding w/ basil ice cream and a French Macaron ice cream sandwich. Amazing.

Chocolate Espresso Pots De Crème -

(Recipe originally found @ http://thespicetrain.com)

I posted this recipe as is but I did make a few adjustments when I made it. I didn't think the whipped cream recipe was at all sweet enough... well, at least not for my super human sweet tooth. So I used this recipe and added the instant espresso powder to it. Also, I didn't have any coffee liqueur for the drizzle so I just dissolved some instant coffee granules and sugar in some heavy cream. It worked just fine! You could also use the recipe for coffee drizzle instead.

I also sometimes leave off the drizzle and just garnish it with a chocolate covered coffee bean (one of the best treats in all the world).

However you choose to do it, trust me, you will love it! Chocolate and coffee are a match made in heaven, one of my favorite dessert combos. Silky, creamy and surprising not overly sweet. Elegant and simple all at the same time.


For the pots de creme:

•3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

•3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

•1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

•¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

•1 cup whole milk

•⅔ cup heavy cream

•4 egg yolks

•4 tablespoons sugar

•⅛ teaspoon salt

For the espresso-flavored whipped cream:

•½ cup heavy cream

•1½ teaspoons sugar

•½ teaspoon instant espresso powder

For the espresso drizzle:

•¼ cup coffee liqueur

•¼ cup heavy cream

•1 teaspoon instant espresso powder


For the pots de creme:

Be sure that the chocolate is finely chopped (1/4 inch length or smaller). Put chocolate, espresso and vanilla in a blender or a food processor. Whisk milk, cream, egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a saucepan until well combined. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the saucepan to almost a simmer and keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

Pour the hot milk mix into the food processor, put on the lid and process until you have a homogeneous mix (this only takes a few seconds). Pour into ramekins or glasses and chill until set (2-3 hours).

For the espresso-flavored whipped cream:

Whip all ingredients to stiff peaks.

For the espresso drizzle:

Add coffee liqueur, cream and espresso powder to a saucepan and bring to a very low simmer. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon keep the mix simmering until reduced to about ⅓ cup. Let cool to room temperature.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Be a Light...

With all the hate in the world today, especially after the election, all I can think is that I just want to be a light. Even though it's oh so tempting to scream and shout my opinions, I will not add to the noise. I will not add to the hate and fear mongering. I will choose to put my hope in Christ. The only thing worth hoping in. And I want to keep my joy, knowing that the joy of the Lord is my strength.

My heart is to be a light, a spark. To somehow in some way... albeit however small, bring light and joy to the people in my life and to people I come in contact with. Even if it's just as simple as a smile and a kind word. Giving of my time and attention. To really look someone in the eye and see them, hear them. Show them that they are significant and valuable. Showing compassion and understanding even to those I may not understand or agree with. My desire is to radiate the love and light of Christ where ever I go and in whatever I do.

Anger, hatred, bitterness... they are a cancer to the soul. I've seen up close and personal how it can eat someone alive. Consuming them and turning them into the very worst version of themselves. I've been that person... and I didn't like who I had become. So I refuse to give into that again. I want to have my heart open for God to work in. That He would do what ever pruning and weeding that needs to be done. I want for Him to continually fill my heart to overflowing with love, peace, joy, grace, and mercy. To have a soft heart that is slow to anger and quick to forgive. A heart that spills out love and light... not hatred.

I've often thought about this in terms of romantic love. How I just cannot wait to be my future husband's (who ever he may be... ya know, if he even exists ;)) light. His reason to smile at the end of a long, hard day. His soft place to land. His biggest cheerleader and supporter. His prayer partner/warrior. His comfort in this crazy world. I want to be the crazy, joyful, happy spark that lights up his heart and life. To be able to pour out the love that God has put in my heart. Okay, okay.. enough with the cheesy sappiness, I get it. But my point is, I hope and pray that I do have a husband to give that kind of love to someday but even if I don't, I can certainly try to be this for the people God places in my life. I mean, romantic love aside, that's the way I hope to love others in general.

"I want to be loved, and have love, and give love. And not just that romantic kind either." - Bradley Hathaway

I know that I fail at this time and time again but it's my goal. As the dark gets darker I think it's imperative for us as followers of Christ to not forget that we are called to be salt and light. The light of the world. The enemy would love for us to lose sight of that. And how being a light to this world is so much more satisfying and fulfilling than the alternative.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wonderful Joy Ahead...

Just a few thoughts I wrote in my journal on my birthday a couple days ago (on the 5th) that I thought I'd share here.

This sweet scripture is my 32nd birthday declaration. Instead of focusing on the things that are missing, I choose to focus on all the joyous things ahead. All the beautiful things God has in store for me. I may not be where I want to be but at least I'm not where I used to be. I look at this past year of my life and I see evidence of God's sweet faithfulness to me everywhere. He is good... and that's reason enough to be glad.

I want to wake up everyday and speak this scripture first thing in the morning. As a reminder that there are good things ahead. In anticipation of all the wonderful joy ahead. The joy that comes from knowing, following, and trusting Christ.

Truth is, my life may not have turned out the way I planned. And the future may not end up looking like I thought it should. But I'm alive.... still living and breathing in this 32nd year of my life. And whether it feels like it or looks like it or not, God is here with me, in the midst of all of it. He is good. He loves me. He is for me. He does see me. He hasn't forgotten me. And I refuse to ever believe otherwise again.

If there is still air in my lungs, if I continue to wake up to new mornings, there must be a reason. He must have a purpose, a plan. I know whatever it is He will work it all out for my good because He is good. I can trust Him with my future.

Though getting older is a little frightening, I know that I have so much to look forward to. So I will choose to be glad. Trusting and believing that there is wonderful joy ahead. So this year I celebrate that hope. And with that in mind, it's a happy birthday indeed.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Note to Self....

Do nothing half way... dive in head first. Be all in or all out.

Talk to the guy that you can't get out of your head... he just might be worth the risk.

Choose the career path that seems the least practical but fills you with the most passion. So much so that it makes your heart beat faster when you think about it.

Talk to and befriend interesting people even when your inner introvert is cringing and just wants to run away.

Carve out your own path, go against the grain, and dance to the beat of your own drum.

Dance as much as you can whenever you can... even with two really left feet.

Know that taking care of the body that God gave you is more worth it and more rewarding than the chocolate cake. But don't forget to have the chocolate cake every now and again... that way you don't end up hurting anyone.

Listen to all the music all day if it brings you joy and makes your world feel even the slightest bit more magical.

Explore and discover all the beautiful places that happen to be right in your own back yard.... that you often take for granted.

Get your cute little behind off the computer and out of the house. Because no filtered photo on Instagram or Pinterest can compete with the way the sun dances over water right before your very own eyes.

Sit in the café and sip the coffee just because it makes you happy.

Pour your heart out to God but don't forget to sit and be silent enough to hear Him speak.

Let your creativity run free and don't discredit your ideas no matter how big or crazy they may seem.

Let the naysayers tell you that ordinary people don't actually do what you want to do. Smile to yourself knowing that you are anything but ordinary.

Don't live as though you have to impress or prove anything to anyone. This is not a race. Find the joy in surprising yourself with just how capable you really are.

Bloom where you are planted and be where your feet are. But sometimes have the courage to just burn it down and walk away. Shed a few tears for the places and people who loved you well that you are leaving behind. They deserve it. When you need to leave, then leave.

Don't worry if you make a mistake... it's better than doing nothing at all. You will learn from it and it won't be in vain.

Never forget that your dreams and God's plans are often two very different things. But God's plans are always better than anything you could ever dream up.

And when the way looks impossible and all seems lost, know that God can make a way in the wilderness and streams in the dessert.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wants vs. Needs...

I think I'm in the middle of learning the hard lesson that sometimes God doesn't always give you what you want but instead gives you what you need. I swear I can be such a brat sometimes. Getting frustrated with God because He's not giving me what I want. Thinking, "God, for once, can't I just have what I want?". Thinking that He's forgotten me or holding out on me for some reason. I'm so focused on what I don't have that I'm missing it. In spite of my brattiness, God, in His loving kindness is trying to protect me. He sees the big picture that I can't see. He knows that what I want might bring me more harm than good in the end. That what I want might just turn out to be what I didn't really want after all.

I have to trust His heart for me. And that His heart for me is only good. I have to trust that He will not withhold any good thing from me... but the thing is, I don't always know what really is good. I have to remember that His ways are higher than mine. I don't have to understand what He is doing in my life, I just have to trust. And act... stepping out in faith and doing what I feel He has put in my heart to do. Having the faith that He will illuminate the path little by little as I walk it. Trusting His timing. I know He makes all things beautiful in it's time.

I want to stop focusing on all I want and all I don't have. I want to somehow find a way of embracing this season. I want to appreciate and have a heart of thankfulness to God for his protection and provision. Being thankful that in spite of my bad attitudes and short sightedness, He still sees fit to guard me. Protecting me and shielding me from all I want but don't really need. Protecting me from going down my own destructive path. Saving me from myself.

"For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." - Psalm 84:11

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Road Trip Playlist

Hey lovelies! With Summer quickly approaching it's the perfect time to start planning out a road trip and get ready to make some awesome memories with your friends and family!

Some of my favorite road trips have been traveling to awesome concerts with my sister and cousin. Chatting and listening to music the whole way. If you know anything about the three of us you know that we love music... and cupcakes. So we would often times try to find the best cupcakes in every city we traveled to lol. And in case you're wondering, in Dallas that means Society Bakery, in Austin it means Hey Cupcake or Sugar Mama's Bake Shop. But anyway, cupcakes are totally beside the point, ahem. ;)

And if you're thinking of transportation for your road trip might I suggest renting a car from Turo. Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental company. You can rent from local car renters at your specific destination and also put your car up for rent. Pretty cool concept, I think! And if you happen to forget your tunes for the road, no need to worry, as people often leave their own road trip playlist behind for the next renter!

To get more info and rent from Turo click here!

What is a road trip without some good tunes, right? Below are some of my favorite road trips jams! Hope you enjoy listening and have fun on your next adventure!

(Was having a little trouble embedding the Spotify player so if it's not working just click here to listen!)