Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear Dad

As Father's Day approaches, I wanted to share this letter I wrote for my dad. My hope is that it serves as an encouragement to parents.

Dear Dad, 

Thank you for loving me unconditionally from day one. No matter how dramatic, selfish, or unkind I was, your love for me was constant and full of grace.

Thank you for telling me often enough that I was beautiful that I believed it and felt confident, but not so much that I believed beauty was all that mattered. Thank you for telling me more often that I was smart, creative, kind, and unique. Those are the qualities that last and are most important. You encouraged me to learn, be creative, and serve others. Because of that I have been able to go through life confident in who I am deep down inside, no matter what others may say.

Thank you for not spoiling me (at least not too much!) and telling me repeatedly I was the princess of the world. I knew the world did not revolve around me. You did not give me everything I wanted, but you did give me what I needed (and more). You taught me to work hard, to live a life of humility and kindness rather than regality. You taught me that I was important, but not more important than anyone else.

Thank you for loving mom so faithfully. Thank you for showing me by example what marriage is. It was not perfect 100% of the time, but it was filled with love, forgiveness, and service. I never doubted your love for mom and your desire to love her as Christ loves the church. When I became an adult and considered what to look for in a husband, I knew I needed a man with so many of the qualities you have: a love for God, a love for others, humility, kindness, and graciousness. And I am thankful I found a man who shares those qualities with you!

Thank you for listening to me. Really listening. Not just nodding as I spoke, but truly listening to my heart. You sat with me from an early age, whether it was me talking about my dreams, my fears, or my favorite music. You were always there, even when I would come into your room late at night needing to talk about something that was heavy on my heart. I knew my words had value to you. I knew that you wanted to encourage me in my dreams, calm my fears, and share my interests, even if they were not your own.

Thank you for teaching me that my body was not something to be flaunted like the world was telling me. Thank you for encouraging me to dress modestly and find my worth in who I was rather than in my looks.

Thank you for teaching me that time is important. This is something that is obviously important to you, and I know this is why people love you. Your relationships are deep because you take the time to get to know people. You find out who they really are, what’s important to them, and you share your life with them as well. You did this with others, and you did it especially well with all of your children as we were growing up. Family vacations, daddy “dates,” family time at home, there were so many wonderful times we shared together.

Thank you for loving my husband and immediately accepting him as a member of the family. He loves you dearly and enjoys the times we get to spend with you. I know it is because you believed that love, not intimidation, was the right way to treat your daughter’s husband.

Thank you for loving Jack. He loves spending time with “Pop.” You shower him with love and fun! And what a blessing for him to have such a godly man to look up to!

In this world so many fathers are either absent, or if they are present, they pay little attention to their children. You have shown me that being a parent is about not only showing up, but getting your hands dirty, serving your children, disciplining them, and loving them.

I am the woman I am today because God entrusted me to you. Thank you for never giving up on me. I never doubted your love for me.

I love you.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Holy Cow Burgers

On Monday Jack and I met Josh for lunch at Holy Cow. This is a great spot for burgers and fries near downtown Albuquerque. I love the atmosphere, it's very casual and cool. We came once before for a date, which was nice, and it was also an easy place to bring Jack! 

We both ordered the Holy Cow Burger, which has pecanwood smoked bacon, American cheese and thousand island. It was delicious! The burger was thick and moist, and the bacon and thousand island gave it an incredible flavor. We also ordered sweet potato fries, which I really enjoyed, and Jack loved them too!

If you're looking for a good burger in Albuquerque, give Holy Cow a try!

Holy Cow on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Texan Gals' Pasta Salad

If you've spent much time around girls from Texas, you might have noticed their love affair with ranch dressing. We like to say, "everything goes better with ranch." It's not just for salads. I dip my pizza in it, fries, chicken strips, and anything else I can think of. So, when I was looking for recipes for pasta salad and came across this Corn and Pasta Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing I was inspired to make my own version. I added black beans, grilled the corn, roasted the tomatoes, and used store bought ranch (my favorite from Dion's here in New Mexico) rather then making my own.

Begin with these ingredients:
  • 8 oz. rotini pasta
  • 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled (add more if you are a bacon lover or if you are sharing your pasta with hungry guys)
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • Chili powder 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup black beans rinsed and drained 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes or grape heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 ear of corn, husks removed
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside. Place tomatoes in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Pour tomatoes into foil and wrap them up loosely. Brush corn with olive oil. Place corn and tomatoes (in foil) on grill over medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes, just to char it a bit. Remove corn from grill and cut kernels off.

Place pasta, bacon, arugula, corn, tomatoes, beans, and ranch in a large bowl. Toss so that dressing coats everything. Add chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Cool in fridge until ready to serve.

This is the perfect pasta salad for summer. It's easy to prepare in advance and take to a picnic or barbecue. It's also something you can make on Sunday so that you have lunch prepared for a few days. You can take it to work or when you're on the go in the car. This pasta is easy to make your own. Want more spice? Add grilled jalapenos or roasted green chiles. More meat? Add cooked chicken or shrimp. The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Buffalo Pasta Bake

The other day I was trying to figure out what to make for lunch with the limited supplies in my kitchen. I remembered seeing a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake, on Pinterest recently and thought I'd give it a try. I made about 1/4 of the recipe in a small Corningware dish for a single serving. I did not have any chicken, so I left that out, and I used rotini pasta instead of penne. Other than that I followed the recipe and thought it was great! I wanted garlic bread, so I improvised by toasting an English muffin and spreading butter on it with a little garlic salt. It was great for dipping in the extra sauce.

This pasta was creamy and delicious with just a touch of spice. It's one I will make again in the future. Very easy, inexpensive, and tasty!