Tasty Thursday: Veggie Enchiladas

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Happy Thursday everyone!
I know, I know…it’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you but I’m baaaaack! With a recipe!

Lately I’ve been exploring vegetarian meals. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl BUT I want to lower the amount of meat I eat because it’s easier on the body and wallet! Trying new recipes has been fun but it has been a challenge to get my picky die hard carnivore boyfriend to jump on board. He’s been hesitant about eating vegetarian meals but I’ve been wearing him down. 😉

The other night I made some vegetarian enchilada stuffed zucchini! The recipe can be found here:
http://www.5dollardinners.com/aleas-vegetarian-enchilada-stuffed-zucchini/

I stayed true to the foundation of the recipe but made a couple of adjustments. Here is the recipe!

I washed and cut the zucchini in half, length wise. I then scooped out the seeds and lined them up in a glass baking dish on top of a layer of enchilada sauce.Prep1

I mixed together about 1 cup of cooked brown rice, 1 can of black beans, 1 diced tomato, 2 cloves of minced garlic, ground red peppper, and flavor god’s garlic lovers seasoning (guys…these low salt seasonings are THEE bomb! They are healthy, fresh and tasty! You can find these seasonings at www.flavorgod.com).

*The original recipe calls for taco seasoning but I used my own seasonings instead. I also excluded the onions and peppers that the recipe called for. I love onions and peppers, but didn’t want the “enchiladas” to have a “fajita” like taste. I left out the corn on accident.

Prep2

Then I stuffed the zucchini with the rice mixture

Prep3

and topped it with more enchilada sauce and cheese! I mean, how can you go wrong with cheese??

Prep4

Popped these babies in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes and got this…

Finished

I admit, my picture of the final product is pretty plain Jane but the dish came out great! The zucchini was tender and the stuffing had a nice punch of heat from the red pepper as well as the enchilada sauce (I used “medium”). This recipe serves 4 and is nice and filling. I added a bit of sour cream on the side which made it even better (you can use plain non fat greek yogurt for a healthier alternative). Both my boyfriend (yes, Mr. Picky) and I give it a thumbs up! I would definitely make this again. 🙂

Give this recipe a try if your heart desires! Let me know what you think!

Later gators! Enjoy your weekend!

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Single Mother’s Day?

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"Father's Day"

There is something that is weighing heavily on my chest and I need to get it off. May I vent, yall?

Father’s day, as Hallmark of a day it is, was created to celebrate all of the fathers in our lives and community. It is a day to tip our hats off to them and to pay them respect for all of the love, attention, and protection they give to their children. It is a day to honor the fathers for all of their hard work and the sacrifices that they make for their kids. It’s a time for dads to be celebrated! But sadly every year I see more and more posts on Facebook and elsewhere (including the father’s day card section) praising single mothers. First and foremost, I respect single mothers to the fullest! Being a parent is not an easy feat and to do it on their own with no help from the father is commendable and they deserve recognition, respect, and love…on MOTHER’S day (and every other day of the year!) NOT FATHER’S DAY!

It’s a known fact that there are a lot of father’s out there who aren’t in their children’s lives (for one reason or another) and this has especially become a problem in the black community but this day isn’t about them. Give the attention to the dads who are actually stepping up to be the dads that their kids need and the partner (whether still romantically involved or not) that the mothers need.

My dad didn’t know his father at all, and because of that he made a point to be in his kids lives no matter what. He didn’t want us to go through the pain that he went through. He loved us more than anything and worked hard to be the best dad that he could be. This day is to celebrate dads like him. They don’t deserve to be overshadowed by the “deadbeat dads” and “single mothers who do it all”. A mother, no matter how good they are and how hard they work to be the best parent that they can be, can never fill the shoes of a father.

So from here on out please give fathers the love and attention that they deserve on this day. Mothers have their day, let the dads have theirs. Let’s uplift our dads, not downplay their importance.

Happy Father’s day!

Until later,

Kristyn B.

Confessions of An Insecure Girl: Part 1

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Fall 2001

When I got into 6th grade, I thought that boys would finally start to notice me. Well, besides the one boy who has liked me since 3rd grade. He stalks me but I don’t like him! Ugh! I wish he would just go away! Anyway, all of the boys I do like are in love with my friends. I’m always one of the best friends, never the girlfriend. But why? I thought I was pretty too, but I guess not. I talked to my mom and grandma about it. They said that I’m a very cute girl and I shouldn’t worry about what the boys think. They told me that I don’t need a boyfriend at this age anyway and boys will eventually come around.  I want to believe them but I don’t feel very pretty. Maybe they’re just saying that because they’re family and want me to feel better. Why don’t the boys like me?

Spring 2002

In media class today a boy told me that his friend liked me and wanted to ask me out. He said that he thought I was cute. He’s in 7th grade. I think he’s cute too. I sent him a note asking if what his friend said was true and if he wanted to go out with me. He circled yes! It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest! I have a boyfriend now! He’s not my first boyfriend but I feel like this is special and he really likes me. I told my mom and grandma that I was going out with someone and they asked me where were we going and laughed. Ha ha they think they’re so funny.

Fall/Winter 2002

Me and my boyfriend broke up. We didn’t talk to each other enough. I was sad and we almost got back together but now he’s going out with someone else. I don’t like her. It was clear that she schemed to make sure that we didn’t get back together so that she could have him. She gives me mean looks all of the time. No one sees it but I do. It seems like she throws their relationship in my face. We went on a skiing trip today at school and they were together the whole time. On the way back from the trip, I saw them making out. We’ve kissed but never like that before. I cried the whole way back.

 Spring 2003

One of my friends (she can be really annoying sometimes) asked this boy if he thought I needed a boob job. He said yea because I was too small. She laughed. I was so embarrassed! Why would she even ask him that? Of course he said yes. 😦 She asked another boy (who is sort of my boyfriend) the same question and he said no. I think he only said that because he likes me. I bet he secretly wishes I had bigger boobs too. I wish I had big boobs, a prettier face, and a bigger butt…then I would be perfect. My dad says that boys are too immature at this age and they don’t see how beautiful I am inside and out yet but they will one day. He says boys will be coming from left and right and I won’t know how to get rid of them. I hope he’s right.

Fall 2003

Sometimes before class the teachers let us watch music videos. Today Beyonce “Crazy In Love” came on. All of the boys were talking about how fine she is and of course they liked all of the video girls too. Man…I wish I looked like them. I want to be a ” 10 ” like they are. They get so much attention because that’s what all of the boys want. There are girls at my school who get attention like that too. Some of them are pretty but some of them are just OK. At least that’s what I think but the guys still like them. Probably because they have “womanly” bodies. The boys that I like always like me as a friend. I don’t think they think I’m pretty enough and I don’t have a nice enough body. If only I was thick then maybe I’d be more attractive. I’m too skinny.

Summer 2004

It’s summer and I’ve been hanging out with my friends a lot because I won’t be seeing them at my high school. 😦 More boys started liking me this year which is good but sometimes I still don’t feel as pretty as other girls. My best friend is still liked more than me and every time we go somewhere boys talk to her while I stand in the background. It seems like I don’t even exist. I don’t want to feel jealous because she’s my best friend but I do. I can’t help it. I want all of the boys to like me too. My mom says that I might intimidate boys because I walk around with my arms folded and I seem stand offish. People do think I’m mad a lot but I’m not it’s just my face. But still, that shouldn’t matter. If boys thought I was super pretty, that wouldn’t matter. I can’t wait until high school starts. I think things will be a lot better.

High school, here I come!

 

 

Disconnect to reconnect

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all-technology

 

When I wake up in the morning, what is the first thing that I do? Brush my teeth? No. Stretch? Naw. Eat breakfast? Nope. I reach over, grab my phone, and check my Facebook and Instagram. Hey now, don’t look at me like that. I know I’m not the only one!

We live in a society that thrives on technology and social media/networks. We’re constantly plugged into something, whether it be the TV, internet, our phones (which appear to be glued to our hands), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, video games, and the list goes on! Believe me, I’m guilty as charged. Over the course of the day, I watch enough TV to make my head explode and I’m always connected to the internet through my phone. It’s absolutely ridiculous, yall. I love all of this stuff as much as the next person but it’s draining and quite frankly bumming me out. I want to get back to the days where family time means enjoying each other’s company without staring at our phones, falling deep into our own cyberspaces. Or while on a date your significant other gives you full attention with their phone nowhere in sight. The days where going outdoors and enjoying the sunshine isn’t a foreign concept. As a matter of fact, just take me back to the 90’s! Overalls and all! 🙂 Seriously, I’m itching for a change.

For the next week, I want to challenge myself to disconnect in order to reconnect with myself and those around me. During this next week, I will turn off my TV, phone, and computer for an hour a day. What will I do in that hour you ask? Meditate, read, write, hang out with a family member or friend giving them my undivided attention (which btw has become a lost art and annoys the heck out of me), cook, brush up on Spanish which I haven’t done in years, take a walk, sit and stare at the wall singing Kumbaya, whatever I am feeling in that moment is what I will do. The goal is to embrace the present moment without being distracted by all of my gadgets!

I’m inviting you to join me in this challenge. Yes, YOU! For a week, make a promise to yourself to turn off everything for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or two a day (whichever you feel most comfortable with) and enjoy some time in the real world away from those guilty pleasures! Report back on how things are going and I will do the same!

Ready? Break!

Until next time,

Kristyn

 

The day my heart broke

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September 14, 2013

My boyfriend Ryan and I hosted a house warming for our first apartment. When everyone left I thought about my dad; I still hadn’t told him about my new place. We played phone tag all week and that evening I decided to call him again. He picked up after a couple of rings and we had a brief conversation. He asked me what I had planned for my birthday which was coming up and when I reminded him of my age he made me laugh by saying “Dang, that means I’m getting old…but I’m still a G!” 🙂 When I told him about our apartment, he was happy for us and was impressed that we found a nice place with decent rent. He then told me that he was out eating and would call me back later but as usual, he didn’t. I figured I’d call him again if I hadn’t heard back in a couple of days.

September 15, 2013

While sitting on the couch playing family feud and relaxing with Ryan, I got a phone call from my brother’s mom (my dad’s ex wife). She was crying hysterically and I thought she was just playing around. When I realized that she was serious and I was finally able to decipher what she was saying, my heart began to pound out of my chest, my palms began to sweat, and I felt nauseous. In that moment, it felt like the walls were closing in on me. My father had passed away unexpectedly…6 days before my birthday. In a blink of an eye my whole world flipped upside down.

This was the day that my heart broke.

That night and the days that followed, I couldn’t stop crying, I didn’t sleep well, I barely ate, and I was in a state of disbelief. Despite all of this, my inner voice rang loud and clear, telling me to stand up and be strong. I needed to be there for my little brother and sister. I needed to be there for my family, I had to be strong for them.

As soon as I arrived in Minneapolis, my work had begun. My dad left no will and no instructions. The responsibility of handling his estate fell on my shoulders and it has consumed my life for the past 7 months. It has been a challenging and overwhelming learning experience. Most people don’t even know the half of what I’ve been going through and haven’t been there to find out. I have days where I want to just ball up in a corner and cry but I know that’s not an option. It’s hard but I continue to hold my head up and move forward because I know that’s what I must do. I’ve had to be brave, doing my best to do what’s right while trying to keep the family from falling apart. It has not been an easy feat!

Although my legal and personal struggles are tough, nothing compares to the pain that I feel when I think about the fact that my dad is gone. It’s still hard to see RIP next to his name because it makes it all too real. It hurts that he won’t be here to make me laugh with his crazy jokes, give me advice on life/relationships, walk me down the aisle when the time comes, or be here to see the birth of his grandchildren, and so much more. That is a hard pill to swallow. I think about my siblings and how our dad won’t be there to celebrate big achievements in their life and help them when they need him the most and I feel sad for them. My family is hurting…all we have now are memories, which is a beautiful thing but at times leaves us yearning for what we can’t have, which is the opportunity create more memories with him. It’s as if time has stood still.

When it comes to my relationship with my dad, there are so many things I wish I had said or done differently…but I guess that’s how it goes. I hold on to all of the good times and sometimes cringe at the bad, working to not let the feeling of regret consume me. It’s a work in progress. Bottom line…I miss him and wish he wasn’t taken from us so soon. My dad’s death has taken a huge toll on me and has changed my life forever. With all that’s been going on I haven’t had much time to let it all out and it honestly scares me to think about what it’s going to be like once I get the space to do so.

I’ve read somewhere that when you lose a parent, you begin to see them for who they were as a person, outside of being your parent. For me, this is true. Since his passing, I have had the privilege of stepping into his shoes and seeing him as the man he was, not just as my dad. I say privilege because it has taught me a lot about him as well as life and people in general. My dad had such a big personality and heart. He had a strong presence, beautiful smile, and the loudest laugh you have ever heard, you couldn’t help but notice him when he walked into a room. 🙂 He touched many people in his short lifetime. His kids meant the world to him and he made sure that everyone knew it. He was very smart, accomplished so much on his own, and worked very hard to provide for himself and his family. He was a very loyal friend and a caring person who often times felt alone and hurt. By stepping in his shoes, I have come to find out why. No matter how hard you try in life, people will disappoint you. Life is unfair and it can wear you down to the point of losing faith. I see my dad’s struggle for what it was. Many times his love came through the form of anger because that was the only way he knew how to deal. Now I fully understand why.

My dad was a good man. Was he perfect? No, but he did the best that he could do and it showed. It is no doubt that he is loved by many. I just hope he knew it.

As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Although it is hard for me now, I have faith that a blessing is just around the corner. Through this experience, I have learned so much about myself and I have a new found appreciation for life. In losing my dad, I’ve been faced with my own mortality. The fact is, life truly is short. I have so many goals and dreams that I have not worked towards and I realize that my time is now. It’s time to make things happen! In memory of my dad, I want to be the best me that I can be and work hard to accomplish and create a life that I am proud of. That’s what he would want me to do.

Dad this post is dedicated to you. I love you with every piece of me and am thankful that you were such a big part of my life. You were a great dad and you have always meant the world to me and still do. I miss you beyond words. I hope I continue to make you proud!

Love,

Kristyn

me n dad

Me and my dad in June 2012 at my college graduation party.

*Have you lost someone close to you? How have you dealt with the pain? Are you still dealing with grief and need someone to talk to? Share your experiences in the comments below.*

 

My life

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I'm chill like dat.

Hello world!

My name is Kristyn, I’m 24 years old and my life is great! I’m engaged to be married to the love of my life, have a lucrative career using my talents & degree, and I’m completely confident in who I am on the inside and out! Everything is perfect!

No, not really…I lied.

When I was younger, this is how I envisioned my life to be. Reality is, I’m in a committed relationship that may or may not be leading to engagement, I’m living in a city that I never even considered before to maintain that relationship, I have no idea what I want to do for a career, and I’m still not completely confident in myself. I’m a constant work in progress and you know what, that’s ok! I used to be disappointed in myself for not having it all together but I don’t feel that way anymore. Although I’m not where I thought I’d be, I have accomplished a lot in my life and I am proud of myself for coming this far. I also recognize and am thankful for my many blessings. With that said, I’m ready for some changes. They say that if you want to BE better, then you have to DO better. Well friends, I’m ready to DO better.

This is my blog, the place where I will be documenting my efforts to become a happier, healthier, and improved version of myself while sharing life lessons and self discoveries along the way.

So welcome to my world! I hope you join me on this journey…my journey to me.

Later gators,

Kristyn