Saturday, March 31, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I am a huge fan of broccoli cheese soup but rarely eat it. When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to give it a try because it looked EASY and yummy....and it most definitely was.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 cups chopped, lightly steamed broccoli (I used frozen)


1. First, you need to steam your broccoli. You can use either fresh or frozen but if you use frozen, I recommend removing the "stumps" before cooking. The broccoli doesn't have to be steaming hot, just soft.
2. Simmer chicken broth and onion for 15 minutes in a small covered saucepan until the onions are soft
2.  Warm the milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes.
3. In a medium-large pot, melt the butter then add flour, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly for 2 minutes then whisk in warm milk.
4. Heat on medium until soup starts to thicken (5-8 minutes)
5. Add chicken broth/onion mixture and stir until blended
6. Add cheeses and stir completely until melted
7. Stir in cookd broccoli
8. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve warm
*If your soup is to thick, add more milk or chicken broth. If it is too thin, simmer over low-medium heat and stir until it thickens up.



Friday, March 30, 2012

Experience


A week from today is Good Friday and it has been weighing on my heart lately. Our church is hosting a Good Friday Experience next Friday night and has been showing the promo video the past couple of Sundays. I really cannot wait to attend and be fully immersed in God’s love on the day His son was crucified. If you are an Austinite, I invite you to this experience and would be thrilled if you came. There will be music, art, communion

Even if you aren’t local, I encourage you to watch this short promo video


Every time I watch the video, tears well up. The look on Jesus’ face is so calm, humbling, yet so scared and full of pain. One of my current favorite songs is What a Savior by Laura Story. Perfect for the Easter season. Jesus You are stronger, more than any other, Hallelujah what a Savior. I think about his love and passion for his people and His father. What He did for us is so incredible. The Lord sent His son to die so we could live. 

You are the way, the truth and the life
You are my joy and my salvation
Stood in my place, taking my shame
Upon your shoulders

I have been thinking a lot about the end of Jesus’ life lately. Jon and I are reading the bible (we are still in the Old Testament but constantly talking about the life of Jesus) and I can’t help but to think about Jesus in the flesh. I look at my husband, almost 29 years old, and think about Jesus walking this earth, just like my husband does. Smiling, laughing, eating, sleeping. It’s hard to believe sometimes that He was here on earth. But when I do think about it, I feel so convicted. So blessed. My heart cries in thanks to the Lord for saving me. What a tiny offering…compared to calvary.

In Him,

Ruthie 


"For those who know and follow Jesus, Good Friday presents a unique opportunity to connect at a deeper level to the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. This year, we’ve creating a self-guided, multi-sensory experience in multiple venues across the McNeil campus in order to help connect hearts and minds to this profound event that occurred 2000 years ago. As you move from station to station, you’ll experience the sights, sounds, and passion of the day that Jesus was crucified and will also be given the opportunity to pray, reflect, and receive communion as part of your overall Good Friday experience. Come at your convenience between the hours of 5 and 9 pm, but be sure to allow yourself at least an hour. " www.gatewaychurch.com

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Talking Marriage

Morning y'all. I was at a loss for blog ideas today...between packing, moving, working, living...I didn't have a solid idea. But I did want to share with you a guest post I wrote for Jane @ In The Pink and Green a couple weeks ago. She asked me to talk about my marriage so here we go...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am Ruthie Hart and I blog over here.


I am a Christian wife, puppy mommy, marketer by day, and blogger/crafter/dreamer by night. We live in the greatest city in the US of A...Austin, TX!




One thing that I know Jane and I have in common is our goal of a Christ centered marriage. Hey no one's marriage is perfect but mine rocks because we are committed to a solid foundation based on the bible. Jon and I just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary last month and continue to thank the Lord for sending us to each other. I never thought I would say this but....



my wedding day was NOT the best day of my life.



Crickets.....




Don't get me wrong! Our wedding was perfect. It was so beautiful and more than anything I could have ever imagined in my life.  Jon and I became one in the eyes of the Lord and celebrated with a huge party with our family and friends. Oh and getting your hair and makeup done...hard to top that! So back to the best day of my life. I can't say that because everyday, life gets better. I fall in love with my husband even more. Marriage is so much greater than any flower arrangement, fondant cake, or 5 piece band. 



What makes life and marriage so great?



I strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and Jon respects that



We strive for a Christ centered marriage, with the Lord being our #1 focus






We look to the bible for help, advice, and tools to improve our relationship 



We bring the Lord into every aspect of our relationship...even sex!!! (insert gasp and giggle)


I am fully committed in being a Christian wife.


We pray together.  




Oh and not to mention...we have SO MUCH FUN together! Like the time we threw a wig party for Jon's birthday, or the time we went to the wax museum in LA. Or maybe last summer when we were fed up with the Texas heat so we celebrated Christmas in August?



(yes my husband was dressed like a girl, and no it wasn't the first time haha!)


Marriage is a gift from God. Yes it is work, but it is fun work! I look up to my husband in so many ways. I love who he is as a Christian, friend, son-in-law, sales dude at work...I couldn't ask for anything more in a mate and head of our household. So the moral of the story is, faith does wonders on a marriage. Our marriage is solid, fulfilling and will be everlasting because we honor the Lord, who created this wonderful covenant for man and wife!
Cheers and blessings!


  
I'd love for you to tell me what makes your marriage/relationships/friendships strong. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend in iPhone pics


How was your weekend?

Ours was full yet super relaxing. We did a million things yet I feel rested and ready to go this week! Be sure to check out the 2 recipes I posted this weekend- inside out pizza pie and cake batter blondies.


Friday night my parents took us out to celebrate our anniversary a little late. My dad's parents take out each of their children every year for their anniversary and my parents started that tradition with us. We went to an awesome interior-Mexican restaurant called Fonda San Miguel. The atmosphere and ambiance was so beautiful and romantic. 

Love this necklace from The Yellow Peony

Queso asado with chorizo...mmm mmm

My parents will be celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary this summer!

We finished dinner at none other than Yogurtland (we are trying to go at least once a week until we move since we won't be close!) and then spent the evening at our house watching basketball (okay that was the men, my mom and I were going through paint colors) and playing hearts. I learned the game 2 weekends ago and have been obsessed ever since. I recently downloaded an app on my phone so I can practice :-). 

Ernie got in on the fun

Saturday we ventured downtown to the South Congress area for lunch at a famous Austin burger place, Hopdoddy, with some friends. Traffic was bad, the streets were packed and we waited in a line outside that wrapped around the entire building. I instantly got annoyed by these frat guys behind us in their tiny little neon tank tops blowing their cigarette smoke everywhere and little did we find out...it was fraternity round up. If you aren't familiar with what that is...you are lucky :-). Sorry frat guys, you are not my thing.

Jon's double patty bison bleu cheese burger

Only in Austin...(y'all I will drink out of a hose!)

We mosied around the funky SoCo area and spent too much time in an antique shop called Uncommon Objects. Words can't even explain the merchandise they sell...if you're ever in Austin, you have to visit this place.


owls/love the chandelier/ernie bug eyes!

me and bailey girl

surprisingly this is not Shawn White, it is Bailey's rockstar bf Ed! (who had an obsession with the massive Bill Nye lightbulbs)

The frenchie smile

Hey! I know Him!

Can you hear me now?

My life would be complete if I owned a card catalog...

We spent the rest of Saturday evening furniture shopping around the town. We LOVE secondhand and antique shops and Austin has plenty of those. We live near tons of furniture shops and decided to check out the fancy shmancy Louis Shanks because they were advertising a huge sale. No lie, we parked, took one look at all the $5k oriental rugs and got right back into the car. It's just not our style. At ALL. I am on the hunt for an antique Queen Anne style desk for my craft room and we happened to find the perfect one that had a big ol red sold sticker on it. Boo.

Tiniest little armchair ever

We had never been to Z Gallerie and popped in there Saturday night at the Domain and ended up buying a couch. Y'all...this couch is divine. We didn't want leather for our family room (Jon is a hot body from Ohio and leather makes him sweat!) so that narrows down the search and makes it very difficult. We wanted to stay away from browns and wanted something gray. Here is a sneak peek of the sofa that will be here in 2-3 weeks! (it looks brown bc of Instagram but it is gray)

Jon has a thing for tufted furniture
(do you love Jon's Ohio State shorts and metal tee?)

We hit up Fry's to check out some TVs and appliances and buy an external hard drive. Funny as you get older what you spend your money on haha. We watched the movie My Week With Marilyn Saturday night...it was good but I wasn't totally blown away. 

Sunday was so beautiful!! We spent the morning at church, grabbed lunch, then did some work around the house. I've started packing up the kitchen and call me crazy but I get such a high from it...I am weird. We also watched some Baylor basketball...wish they would have won but we are happy to be cheering for Ohio State! 

We had dinner with friends at a Mediterranean place right by our house that they had been raving about. We won't live in Central Austin much longer and all the funky/quirky restaurants are right in our neighborhood so we want to soak it all in. Moving farther west won't totally shield us from coming into downtown/Central Austin but we definitely won't be as close. This place was awesome. We sat outside under a bunch of lights and after dark, the owner came out and did a full belly dancing show. Jon gets so embarrassed for other people and he couldn't keep a straight face...


For you Austinites, the place was called Phara's on North Loop. And it's BYOB which is fun. I had lamb and it was the most tender lamb I'd ever eaten and we are pretty picky when it comes to good Greek food.

I know this post is getting long but one more thing...we watched Frozen Earth last night. Have y'all seen it? It is similar to Planet Earth but all about the arctic/antarctic. We were hoping Sigourney Weaver was narrating (I LOVE her voice) and were pleasantly surprised to hear Alec Baldwin's voice. Check it out on Sundays on Discovery, I was floored to see the footage they got. God sure made a masterpiece out of our world.

Thanks for reading today friends!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cake batter blondies

When I eat dessert (which is quite often), I prefer it to be dipped, covered, or layered in chocolate, with the exception of pumpkin pie. For some reason when I came across this recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. And I am glad I did. It does have some white chocolate in it, so my chocolate craving was satisfied. Very very yummy y'all!

Ingredients
1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 cup white chocolate chips 


1. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl
2. Add the milk slowly and mix
3. Mix in the rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges start to brown at 350 degrees


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inside Out Pizza Pie

The original recipe called this dish Zesty Italian Crescent Casserole but I wanted to give it a more fitting name. This is a yummy and EASY Italian meal I will definitely be making again.

Ingredients
1 lb  ground beef/turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1  can crescent rolls (I used crescent rounds, new from Pillsbury, and they were easier)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Cook the meat and onions with seasonings and salt/pepper until cooked through (about 8-10 minutes)


2. Drain and stir in 1 cup spaghetti sauce 


3. Meanwhile, mix together the sour cream and mozzarella cheese in a separate bowl
4. Pour hot meat mixture into un-greased deep pie dish (or baking dish if you don't have a pie dish).
5. Spoon the cheese/sour cream mixture over the meat
6. Unrole the crescent rolls over the cheese mix. I arranged the crescent rounds in a lattice pie fashion. 
7. Melt butter in a small bowl and mix with Parmesan cheese
8. Top the unbaked pie with the butter/Parmesan mix


9. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until dough is golden brown

Enjoy!





Friday, March 23, 2012

Silhouette baby onesie


If you recall, I am going to be an aunt in October! My sister and her hubs are due on October 15th with their first bambino (I am just telling people she's due on my birthday which is the 14th hehe). This is the first grand and great grand child on both sides so it is a big deal. My sister was barely pregnant and we started buying the babe a wardrobe. Never too soon right?

My sister is a fur mama to a sweet lab named Athena and I knew I wanted to make the baby a gift that had to do with her. Making silhouettes of Ernie was fun and super easy so I decided to make a onesie with a silouhette of Athena.

Supplies
Baby onesie (I chose a long sleeved one since the baby will be born in the fall)
Picture of Athena (I printed it from the computer but you could use an actual picture)
Fabric (very small amount, I chose black because they don't know the gender of the baby yet)
Wonder Under
Fabric scissors
Iron



Step 1- cut around the picture you want to silhouette 

Step 2- trace the cut out on the fabric and the Wonder Under and cut those out

 (I spot a chunky man foot)


Step 3- iron the wrong side of the fabric to the bumpy side of the Wonder Under

(trim off any excess Wonder Under)

Step 4- peel off the paper backing on the Wonder Under and Iron onto the center of the onesie (be sure to follow Wonder Under directions!)


And you're done!


I can't wait to see my little niece or nephew in this onesie! I think I am going to have to add a big bow or rosette if it's a girl :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hunger what?

Okay friends, please don't hate me...but I have one question...

Am I the only one who is not all about The Hunger Games right now?

Take a deep breath while that settles in. Now don't get ahead of yourself and accuse me of not reading the book because I read it. I read it over 2 weeks or so. Honestly I didn't want to finish it. It was so disturbing. And even more disturbing was the thought of elementary school kids reading it! When I watch scary movies I feel physically ill so it wasn't surprising that this was a tummy aching book to read. It was not a page turner for me. I made myself finish (I hated Harry Potter the first 50 pages I read and then became obsessed so I wanted to give it a chance). And yes the ending was intense but I didn't run out to get the 2nd book. And I still haven't read it. 


I usually am right there on the book/movie bandwagon (Harry Potter, Twilight...okay books NOT movies) but I just can't get into this one. I don't plan on seeing the movie in the theater (it takes a lot for me to go to the movies in the first place, I like watching at home), I will probably wait for it to come out on Netflix. Elizabeth Banks was on Ellen yesterday and said the movie is projected to make $100M this weekend! 

Please don't hate me and unfollow my blog :-) I just want to know what draws you to the book. I have heard of people getting mockingjay tattoos, camping out for days and doing some crazy things for this book/movie. So if you are a Hunger Games fanatic, tell me! 


Speaking of books, last night I finished Taylor Armstrong's memoir


I will now watch the show with such a different heart for Taylor. I cannot believe what she went through but her character all makes sense to me now. I am so grateful for a loving relationship with my husband and I pray for women experience what Taylor did. I highly recommend it.

Follow me on Good Reads to see what I've read, what I'm reading and what's on my list.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Soul Revolution part 2



If you recall about 2 months ago I posted that I would be leading my very first all women's small group. We read and studied the book Soul Revolution written by our church's lead pastor, John Burke. In short, the book is about how imperfect people become all God intended. We were challenged to spend time with the Lord every 60 minutes for 60 days. And that 60 days ended about 2 weeks ago. I have been praying about writing this post and today was the day I would post it. I wanted to share my thoughts and prayers I had along this journey and how this book changed my life.





The book is broken up into 5 parts (each with multiple chapters)


Part 1- Preparing for a Soul Revolution 

This is where we decided as a group we were going to embark on this challenge together. We were willing to open up our ears, open up our hearts and listen to what the Lord had to say. John encouraged us by saying that God wants to connect with each of us in a radical, ongoing conversation. He wants nothing more than to see us succeed, “If you remain in me, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). In part 1, we made lists of what the God of our dreams looks like. Here is my list

God of my dreams
- gracious, thankful, overwhelmed with joy, happy, generous, merciful, forgiving, listener, protector, giver of advice, friend, companion

We also talked about and explored the things in each of our lives that are keeping us from this connection with God. God gives us free will and the ability to choose because love requires choice. If we put things that are worth less than God before God, we begin to feel worthless. We were created to do life with God yet our lives can get in the way. We prayed for the Lord to reorient our spiritual eyes to see who He really is.

Part 2- Loving God


In part 2 we each set a stopwatch or time to go off every 60 minutes to remind us to spend time with God. This took some getting used to. It was definitely a thrill at first but got kind of annoying. I was lost and confused about what to say to God when I had already talked to Him 3 times that day. In many of the conversations I had with God in those first few days of the experiment, I asked Him to show me His will for me in that very moment. I asked him what He wanted from me right then and there. I also spent a lot of time thanking God for things I often forget to thank Him for. Little did I know those conversations would get deeper and more meaningful and change my life forever. I was amazed how hard it was for me to talk to God so often. All He wants is my love and my heart and I am wasting my day on the computer! "A
s the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" John 15:9. The bible makes it look so easy to be connect with God. Abide/remain in His love, follow His instruction, and love others as He loves you. Yet why is it so hard for us?!

The only way in life is to walk with the spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
" Galatians 5:22-23. I prayed for the Lord to continue to encourage me and guide me on my walk with Him and in this experiment. I wanted Him to help me pinpoint the things that were keeping me from following His lead.

Part 3- Loving People


This part helped our group come to terms with conflict resolution and what the bible says about it. This was such a great tool for me and even though I am lucky to be in a season of minimal conflict, the bible is the perfect place to go for help. Something that really stuck out to me in one of the chapters was this quote from John Burke, "God wants to climb into the ring of conflict with us, to teach us how to fight for what's right, how to fight not to win the argument but to win the relationship." There have been two times since reading this part that Jon and I have been in arguments that ended in prayer. I honestly can't remember the basis for the arguments but I remember God pulling at my heartstrings to come to Him in the time of conflict. And guess what, it worked! Even though Jon didn't do the study with me, we are working on making prayer a way of life.


Another thing that was life changing about this part was how living in God's spirit will lead us to
...
  1. Grace-giving acceptance- come as you are grace (come as you are, but don't stay as you are)
  2. Authentic vulnerability- no perfect people allowed! (that is the mantra of our church)
  3. Healing confessions- healing one another through confession
  4. Speaking the last 10%-saying the truth in love. This was the most powerful for our group. Speaking the last 10% is about sharing your heart completely and genuinely. Not letting judgement scare you from coughing up your baggage. I can still remember the night when each of us spoke our last 10%. Through tears and laughter, we become stronger as a group and stronger as children of God.

Part 4- Building Character

The most important part to me from this section was being intentional with my faith. Every 60 minutes I found myself being in deeper conversation with God. Not thanking Him for things and not even asking Him for things. Just being with Him. Being connected. Letting my worries and worldly cares slip away to be in the moment with my creator. But it wasn't all kittens and rainbows. I still had work to do. We all kind of confessed to going through a slump during these chapters, finding ourselves annoyed and too preoccupied when our alarms would go off.  I prayed that God would help me tear down any hindrances or habits that stood between my radical connection with Him. Was it my behavior,  my attitude, a nasty habit, or a current event that was keeping me from being authentic with God? The book of Matthew outlines how we should pray. Don't babble. Don't pray just to be seen by others. Give thanksgiving, Supplication. Be authentic. Be intentional. The Lord knows the true desires of your heart.

Part 5- Being the Body

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." Romans 12:1-21

You will remember a few weeks ago I wrote a post about spiritual gifts. Well this part of the book is what inspired that post. It is so beautifully written in Romans. Just like each of our own bodies, we are a body in Christ. We each have different talents, functions and gifts...that work together to serve the Lord. 

I often times wonder what people mean when they say "Yes I am spiritual but I'm not religious" or "I believe in God but I don't go to/believe in church". It brings me back to this verse. If God created us to do life and to do church with others, how are those people doing it? Are they walking alone? God created the church and created religion for us to bind together, spread His word and share his wonderful gifts! If you aren't getting fulfillment from church, small groups, bible studies, reading the bible...how are you doing it? 

The two things we took away from these chapters are questions we are currently praying about...
  1. How can we be the Body of Christ with each other in this group?
  2. How can we as a group be the Body of Christ to our world?
I didn't go too much into detail about these chapters but I encourage you to read my post from a few weeks ago about spiritual gifts and being the body.

I have learned some beautiful things during this study and made some amazing, life long friends who I will continue to walk with in our faiths. But the most important thing I learned was spending time with God. Authentic, real, one on one time with my Heavenly Father. No I am not spending time with God every hour on the hour but I find myself wanting to call on Him. I find myself talking to Him on the way to work. And wanting Him to be the first person I tell (and thank) when I have something great going on. I am still learning and growing but this was a huge step in my spiritual growth. Another thing I loved in this book was real life stories and experiences of people at my very own church!! It was comforting reading about people who were lost, addicted, unhappy, skeptical, etc coming to faith after this book. It was pretty amazing.

I highly recommend this book to anyone no matter what stage you are in your faith. And I recommend you find a group or a running partner. Please please please let me know if you have any questions about this book, it changed my life and I hope it can change yours too.

In Him,

Ruthie
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