Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Openness - Or My Personal Musings

I have been working on this post for what seems like forever now.  I brainstormed.  I wrote a few rough drafts.  Mr. Ketchup even gave me some advice.

Today, I was going to tell you about the Blurb facebook photobook that I made.  However, Mr. Ketchup wanted me to write a more personal post, similar to the first few that I wrote.

This led to more brainstorming, more blank stares at the computer screen, and more re-writing.

It is much easier for me to write about a new recipe that I tried, how to make a photobook, or a new challenge that I joined online.  It is hard to be open, but I will attempt it.
  1. I cheated on my gluten-free diet last week and ate a piece of toast.  My body was not happy, and now I am fearful that this may have to be a full-time/forever type lifestyle. 
  2. I really want to move to a place with a yard so Mr. Ketchup and I can get a dog! 
  3. I LOVE love notes.
Ok, the last two are very easy to be open about.

I was extremely upset last week, as I had never dreamed that one piece of toast would affect me the way it did.  I thought I was doing this diet to help with my emotions.  I started it, and noticed that I felt better physically.  Surely a cheat after a month would be ok?  Turns out it wasn’t ok.  This means I have to find a primary care physician and get this checked out.  Sigh...

Number 2 is both good and bad news.  Bad news: We found out that our rent will be going up at the end of our contract.  Good news: I spoke to a friend who told me that her and her husband rent a duplex with a fenced-in yard for just a few dollars more than what our new rent will be.  As much as I love our apartment and being so close to our friends, I have been dropping hints to Mr. Ketchup about how we should consider moving to a place with a yard when our contract is up.  I really hope that we can have a little Ketchup puppy running around this time next year!  (To Mr. know you want a puppy...we can call her Cricket!)

The best thing about the past few weeks happened today.  When we came home after our wedding, Mr. Ketchup gave me a pearl necklace and a notebook.  I always tell him that I want him to write me more love notes, so the notebook was filled with letters and stories he wrote everyday for about a month.  The last note was written at midnight, the night before we got married.  I keep the notebook next to my side of the bed and check it regularly for new notes.  Well, Mr. Ketchup went on a business trip Monday and Tuesday.  I did not find out until today that he wrote me a note Monday morning before he left!  I get so happy every time I think about it!

In a previous post I talked about asking your husband what things you do that make him feel loved.  Well, Mr. Ketchup definitely does not have to ask what makes me feel loves, because he knows that writing me love notes is definitely at the top of my list!  Now I have to think of something nice to do for him this week!  What nice things can you do for your spouse or loved ones this week?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gluten-Free Goodness

Tonight, Mr. Ketchup and I will be attending our first international event for this school year!  I am so excited to be meeting some amazing people from all different types of cultures.  The relationships we have made with these students have been life changing, and I can hardly wait to see what is in store for us this year.

Well, with these events come food...lots of amazing food...except for when the university is hosting the event.  University events usually equal pizza.  I was already tempted by pizza once this week and am not looking forward to being tempted again.

My cravings for delicious carbs like bread and pasta led to me making a no-carb, gluten-free version of spaghetti this week.  It is probably my favorite recipe so far!

Except for avocado chocolate pudding.  That amazingness is in a league of its own.

Back to the spaghetti.  I adapted several different recipes based on what I actually had around the house (and what I actually remembered to buy while grocery shopping).

Mrs. Ketchup's Spaghetti
(this ingredient list is completely adaptable)
  • 1 pound meat (I used a lot more, because I was lazy and did not want to thaw and separate the venison we had in the freezer.  Use whatever kind of meat you have around: venison, beef, pork, chicken)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (Mrs. Ketchup loves garlic, feel free to double...or triple...this)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (I may have forgot onions while grocery shopping and substituted dried, minced onion, but don't tell anyone)
  • 1 14ounce can tomatoes (The recipes called for Italian tomatoes and what-not, but I just used a can of off-brand stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 8ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth (optional; I added this because I had a lot more meat than tomato products)
  • ~1 tbsp oregano
  • ~1tbsp basil
  • ~1 tbsp Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
  • ~1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 spaghetti squash
Note: Yes, I did put approximately next to all the seasonings.  I never measure when I season, so just add to taste.  Mr. Ketchup and I like our food spicy, so I probably used a lot more than 1 tbsp of Tony's and 1 tsp of cayenne

  1. Brown the meat.  Time depends on what time of meat you are using (and whether or not you are lazy and don't let the meat thaw all the way)
Look at that yummy venison goodness

2. Add in the onion and garlic.  Cook until they are soft.
Did I say how much I love garlic?  I may or may not have added an extra clove in addition to these.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the squash).  Bring to a simmer.  Turn the temperature to low, cover, and let cook for approximately 30 min.

Sorry for the blurry picture.  Our dark kitchen is less than ideal for pictures.

 4. Take your spaghetti squash and cut it in half.  Scoop out the seeds and other stuff that you probably don't want to eat.

5. Now place the squash face down in a microwave safe container and cover, leaving a small hole for steam to escape.  Heat for 10 minutes on high, then let the squash rest for about 10 minutes.

6.  Time for spaghetti!  Take a fork and scrape out the "meat" of the squash.  It'll look like this...

7.  Place your cooked spaghetti sauce on top of your noodles and enjoy!  Mr. Ketchup gave a great review by devouring his portion.  I don't have pictures of the finished product due to the fact that we were both starving and impatient.

Speaking of pictures, I recently became a Blurb affiliate.  If you aren't aware, Blurb helps you create amazing photo books, something that I, as a newlywed, really enjoy.  I will be posting soon about using their Facebook photo book feature, and will follow that up with a $25 Blurb gift certificate giveaway!  Check back soon so that you don't miss out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This week is filled with goals and activities.
  1. Finish summer classes (2 more semesters left!)
  2. Volunteer with the international student orientation
  3. Deep clean the apartment before fall classes
  4. Whip up some freezer meals to reduce stress next semester
  5. Start memorizing Bible passages and apply them to my life (1 Corinthians 14:4-8a - Mrs. Ketchup's thoughts, actions, and words will show love)
  6. Continue setting my clock back and performing my morning routine.
So often I find myself setting goals with good intentions, but never complete them.  Thankfully, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have found some great accountability groups.

The Hello Mornings Challenge will be studying 1 Peter, and to go along with that, I found out about Do Not Depart's 1 Peter 1 Memory Challenge (sign up started today!  Click here to register).  Now I will be studying the Word and hiding it in my heart.

This time around I won't be setting goals and hoping I reach them.  I know they are attainable, especially as I surround myself with Christian women who are striving for the same things.  I am not alone.

I know that I have been providing a lot of links to challenges and what not lately, so expect an original post from me later this week regarding an amazing new recipe I tried and adapted.  In addition, Mr. Ketchup and I start volunteering for international orientation events beginning this Friday, so I will be posting in the very near future about ways to reach international students.

Happy Wednesday!

Click here to register!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad Mood Weekend

Bleh.  I woke up to do my morning routine, got sick, and ended up going back to bed for a bit.  A fitting end to the weekend.

I have a wonderful life and am truly blessed.  That being said, I was still in a bad mood all weekend!  Have you ever gone through a couple of days where you were irritable?

This morning I had to remind myself of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a -
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  
It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, 
but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things.  Love never ends.

These verses do not described a foul, irritable mood.  Instead, these describe an uplifting and encouraging demeanor.  Although I am extremely familiar with this commonly quoted passage, I think I need to memorize these verses, write them out, and place them where I can see them throughout the week.  We all need reminders from time to time.

I think I will be adding Bible memorization to my list of goals.  Of course, the Hello Mornings Challenge is going to be a great way to keep me accountable.  This week...1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, so Mrs. Ketchup can have a reminder to work on her attitude.

Also, a big shout-out to Mr. Ketchup for dealing with me kindly this weekend, despite my bad mood!  He even took me to another restaurant that has several gluten-free options.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I love you because...

I write this while snacking on a piece of celery and some natural peanut butter.  Don't worry, I can't believe it either.  This whole gluten-free thing has completely changed my taste buds.  My husband and I even chowed down on another bowl of chocolate avocado pudding the other day.

Well...that just tastes like chocolate, so I guess it doesn't count.

Mr. Ketchup and I are attending a wedding this weekend, and, as newlyweds trying to save some money, I decided it would be nice to come up with a DIY gift.  I've seen this "I love you because..." frame all over Pinterest, and have had it on my to-do list of crafts.  You just print the words "I love you because" on a piece of pretty paper, frame it, and include a few dry erase markers.  They can then fill in the rest of the sentence by writing on the glass with the marker.  Now that is a DIY gift that I can handle.

I think it is so easy to neglect telling the ones we love how much they mean to us.  Before I got married, I wrote down that I was going to try and say at least one encouraging thing to my husband each day.  I know that there have been many, many days where I said nothing but harsh words, but I still strive to accomplish this goal.  I definitely see myself making one of these frames for our house as a reminder to build my husband up and not tear him down with hurtful words.

Speaking of...

How often do we forget to tell our First Love (1 John 4:19) how thankful we are for what He has done?  Maybe the statement "I love you because..." should be one we include in our prayers.  What a perfect way to remind ourselves of the Gospel every day, while giving Him the glory He is due.