Holiday Feasting:  Bacon, Pecans, & Blue Cheese Green Beans

Howdy y’all

First up on my Holdiay Feasting series of blog recipes is my favorite way to enjoy green beans. A few years ago I played around with a few recipes for green beans casseroles and created this deliciousness treat that has now become a traditional dish with my family. Seriously, bacon, pecans, and blue cheese! I had myself at bacon! This recipe is simple and relatively quick leaving more time for other recipes or the reason for this joyous holiday. Celebrating all that we are thankful for with our loved ones. 

Ingredients:

– 1 lb fresh green beans 

– 4 slices of bacon 

– 3/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles 

– 1/3 cup chopped pecans

– 2 cups of ice

Directions: 

  • Chop stems of green beans
  • Boil green beans
  • Fry bacon to extra crispy 
  • Drain green beans and shock in ice bath until completely cooled
  • Drain green beans and pat dry
  • Toss in pan with bacon grease 
  • Add blue cheese crumbles and allow to melt
  • Last stir in chopped pecans and bacon

Quick, simple, and delicious. 

 
 
 
   
  

Enjoy, 

Sydney Charming 

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Reverb and Dave Matthews Band Bama Green Project

Have you read Laudato Si’’ ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME by Pope Francis? Applause if you have and completed it. I’m only at section 64 of 240 sections. Obviously I can’t speak too in depth about it. So far I under stand we should be more aware of our environment and help to care for it.

We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

Yes! I love volunteering! I found a pretty cool organization called Reverb, that I recently volunteered for. They are definitely making some moves to change the impact music tours have on our environment. Austin is know for live music and amazing concerts. So Reverb coming through helps with band tours help our community greatly.

REVERB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner of Guster. REVERB creates and executes comprehensive, custom programs to green the tour itself while engaging concertgoers to take action for the environment.

Pretty cool huh? I had the opportunity to volunteer with them for the Bama Green Project for the Dave Matthews Band 2 sets tour, at the 360 Amphitheater Circuit of the Americas. Some of the things they do consist of setting up Eco Villages, encouraging recycling, providing bands with aluminum reusable water bottles to refill, switching the tour busses to biodiesel, just to name a few. But so much work and planning goes into these tours. The volunteer coordinator explained to us that our volunteer t-shirts and the merchandise were designed about a year in advance. Organic merchandise, shirts made out of recycled materials.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden was the local organic farm they partnered with. As a volunteer, I helped sell these awesome water bottles, made from recycled materials, before the concert started. The money that was raised selling the water bottles was donated to Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Then the monetary value of organic produce from JBG was donated to the Austin Food Bank. So much done for the local community!  Oh, and by volunteering, I got general admission into the concert. I highly recommend volunteering with them when they come through your town.

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This Is My Confession

Big girls don’t cry right? If only that were true! So I wrote about PMDD in The Fear of Falling Apart II, and how it can bring me to tears. Of course, life must go on, and I can’t let it define me. Even though I can be in an incredible amount of pain, sometimes I have too much going on to stay crying about. How do I pull myself together and look put together?

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Let me introduce you to my best friend for that, Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit. The current kit I have was a little dismembered by one of my Godsons that wanted to color.
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It’s s adorably packaged like a diary. Inside, there’s a mirror! Perfect if you’re using it on the go.
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There’s also a booklet, detailing how to use each product, creatively written like journal entries.
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My knowledge and use of make products is not very vast, but this takes me from a blotchy-eyed mess to a glamorous bright eyed beaut.
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My questions for y’all:

Has anyone else used this fabulous miracle? What did you think?

Any other recommendations?

8 Central Texas Day Trips For Kids

******Wow! The first time I posted this summer fun list was two years ago. Now these two munchkins are teenagers going into high school! (They are also both taller than me!) So far, every summer, they still ask me to take them on at least one YO Adventure. *****

First Day of a new school year is less than a week away for most Central Texas schools. There’s still plenty of time to take your family on a few adventures! The past two years, majority of my spare time was spent adventuring Central Texas with my baby Sister and Godson.

Catherine and Dominic are just about the same age, just a few months apart. As they we coming into their preteen age, they started developing the own attuides. So, to get them out of the house and back down to earth, I started taking them on day trips. Dominic is fan of Drake, and around the time we started these adventures “Y.O.L.O.” was a popular phrase. While taking pictures of our trips, they started posing as a “Y” and “O”, calling them “YO Adventures.” Aren’t they cute?

Well here’s a list of a some of our “YO Adenventures” in the Central Texas area. Most of these places are inexpensive and only need a day to conquer! Don’t forget to pack bug spray, sunblock, and stay hydrated. Have fun and use  #YOAdentures if y’all post pictures. Our instagram is  @YOAdventures

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Jacob’s Well: Wimberley, TX

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Enchanted Rock- Fredericksburg, Texas

*hiking

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Glass Bottom Boat Tours -San Marcos, Texas

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McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, Texas

*swimming, hiking, and camping

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Canoeing – Austin, Texas

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Kayaking -San Antonio, Texaimage
image Fiesta Texas – San Antonio, Texas

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Sea World – San Antonio, Texas

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Barton Springs – Austin, Texas

A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

Fear of Falling Apart II: Living with PMDD

It’s absolutely life crippling! The overwhelming rush of anxiety, the excruciating pain that brings you to tears and the depressing thoughts that consume you. As soon as it starts I wish it would stop. Heck, I wish it would never even start. 

Today, I’m trying second by second to pass the time. I started trying to organize my clothes, so that I can take some for donations to flood victims. Here I am, two hours later with barely any progress. I have to keep stopping because the cramps back pain fell like someone is stabbing me with red hot iron rod trying to brand me. Lay down, stretch, cry, get up move a few pieces of clothes, feel a surge of pain, feel like passing out, fight tears, sit down, lay my head in my knees, fight more tears, hug my legs so that I’m in a fetal position, give up, lay down cry and repeat.

So what is PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Say what? Premenstrual? Isn’t that PMS? The answer is yes, but it’s much more severe. The cramps and back pain, the emotional and behavioral symptoms are intensified.

Relationships with friends, family and loved one are often damaged. My family has learned to be understanding and supportive. They help me by asking about my diet, giving friendly reminders to consume plenty of calcium and vitamins. I’ve lashed out a few time or broken down in tears with them. They’ve prayed with me and help through it.

Ugh relationships! I know I sure have jumped the gun on scaring some away. The anxiety creeps in and takes over. I wanted nothing more than to be hugged and comforted through this time. Usually it comes across as me being needy, because I’m not ready to reveal what I’m actually going through. “Oh hey, btw, I have PMDD it’s like PMS but a million times worse. Now hug me and don’t let go until it’s over but watch what you say to me please.” Even my best friend now still gets frustrated because I bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking and lash out little things I normally wouldn’t mind.

I don’t like that I have to go through this every month. I especially don’t want to burden anyone else. It’s 10 days! 10 days that will eventually pass. I forget how intense it can be until the next month rolls around and I am back on the floor uncontrollably cry because of the pain and emotional waves I’m feeling. It seem to have amplified with some of the recent stresses I’ve felt. My best friend helped me discover I’m very expressive with my thoughts, in my writing about things, I wouldn’t otherwise say out loud. We’ve worked on some of my communicating what I’m feeling through writing. Making writing therapeutic and sometimes a way for getting that turmoil out. It has helped us both. As you can now understand some of my more personal articles have been working through these things and more like letters. My friend has often read my writings and told me they had no idea that’s what was going on in my head.

I captured this picture of myself trying to fight the awful thoughts going through my head and the physical pain I am feeling. No filtering, this is me at, what I think is my worst reflection of myself. I have been cry all day. Thoughts normally that would never cross my mind anxiously build up. “I am home alone. My dog is my only friend. I’m hurting so much right now and what if I pass out and nobody knows. Where is my friend. Why isn’t he here. Am I doing something wrong? I haven’t let him get to know me because I keep so much thoughts hidden inside. When will this pass? What if he doesn’t like who he thinks am I. I feel like I’m about to pass out. What if he doesn’t really know me. Is this a panic attack? I need to tell him all this stuff now. Understand that this passes and I will be back to my sarcastic busy self soon. Busy self, I have so much I have to do. Am I too busy? Am I not giving enough attention to all the people I care about? I can’t move. My back hurts so bad. I need to sit down.” All this within seconds, on repeat in my head. Whatever hormones I get an excise of during this time, that makes me feel like there’s an emotional and physical storm happening to me, I strongly dislike you!

It’s been so hard living away from all my loved ones. Writing, taking hikes, and working on recipes help when I can pull myself together. There are days were just turning in bed feel too much to bare. Sometimes I wish to be able to move back and be around all of my family and close friends. Then, like right now, something happens that helps me be at ease. Scrolling down Facebook someone posted Psalm 55:22.

“Cast your cares on the Lord & He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”

I know I’m not alone and God is here with me. This is temporary and I will get through it. Until then I have to remember to redirect my thoughts to prayers and just talking with God. I pray for all the ladies, and their loved one, out there going through the same thing. Have patience and peace you’ll get through it. I pray for anyone that has long term anxiety, depression or chronic pain. I know that is a different monster to battle than what I face. Just breathe and even though I may not personally know you, know that I understand a little of what you’re going through and I’m praying for you.

Peak Fitness: Workouts for gym or home

Ever go to the gym, see all the machine, and get overwhelmed? Thinking: what do I do? Where do I start? How much do I do? Help! help! help! I just want tone up. I did all the time until I started working out with my friend Brandon. He showed me a bunch of workouts I could even do at home, to help me tone and reach my peak fitness.  Now, by peak fitness, I’m not talking about bulking, lifting, shredding and looking like a he/she. Eh not for me. Some of my friends do that and some look great but some I have to take a step back, do a double look and remember if they are a girl or guy.

I just like to stay active, fit and toned. I’m naturally petite so a big thing Brandon helps me focus on is breathing right. Elementary right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t breathe right during their workouts and it makes a world of a difference, in seeing results and staying toned.

Modified push-ups: putting an emphasis on keeping the core tight, and exhaling when stretching for your target.

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 Leg pull-ins: place your hands or elbows on the ground, inhale as you fully extend your legs, and exhale as you contract the legs in, focusing on keeping your feet level with your line of vision.

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 Bridge: this workout starts with your feet planted firmly on the ground, with a separation between your feet equal with your shoulders, exhale and raise the hips up, focusing on using your thighs and gluteus to push and tighten your core.
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 Alternating arm-raises: tightening your wrist and placing s slight bend in your elbow, exhale as you raise the weights to shoulder level, inhale as you lower your arms and rotate them to the forwards position, repeat to completion.

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 “Punch-crunches”: start in regular sit-up position, hands on the side of your head, exhale and reach across your body, aiming to get your elbow parallel to your knee
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 Modified Mountain Climbers: start in the push-up position, and rapidly bring your knees up to your elbows, across the body, and exhaling as when you bring your knee to your elbow

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