Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meatless Monday...It's Baaaaaaaaack...

I can't believe I am rejoining the world of normal eating again.  I didn't think the sickies would ever go away, and except for the rare sneak attack that sends me running for the bathroom unexpectedly, I'm back to what is somewhat normal.

For the last eight weeks, mealtime has been on Brent's shoulders with me asking, "Is it over yet?" As I huddled on the couch away from the cooking smells.  Imagine his surprise when he walked in the kitchen this weekend to find me at work getting our dinner ready...a REAL dinner!

I decided to try my hand at a semi-homemade ravioli recipe I found on A Small Snippet.  It's a little more work than simply opening up a box of pasta and boiling it, yet still relatively easy with the help of pre-packaged wonton wrappers found in the refrigerated section of the produce department.

I typically can't leave a recipe well-enough alone, so I did add a couple of things to suit our family's tastes.  To the ricotta filling, I added about a cup of chopped fresh spinach to sneak in some veggies, and the kiddos didn't even mind!  Anytime I have a ricotta based dish I usually add just a dash of nutmeg to the ricotta mixture.  It sounds crazy, but it really brings out the flavor of the ricotta, which usually is a bit bland tasting.  Other than those two additions, I pretty much stuck to the recipe.  She did not list measurements for the seasonings in the filling, so I just kind of guessed and 2 tablespoons of each seemed to be about the right amount for our family, but really you can't go wrong with a little more or a little less.

Instead of topping with a heavy sauce, the recipe called for a simple drizzle of olive oil, a few toasted walnuts, some grated Parmesan and a bit of fresh basil.  I totally recommend this!  It was so delicious.  I hope you give it a chance!  I do think the ravioli would also be great with a homemade tomato sauce or even an alfredo, but definitely try it her way first.

This meal was definitely a hit with our family.  Our kids ate it up and then asked for seconds!  The ravioli was even delicious warmed up the next day for lunch.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Semi-Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts


15 oz. Ricotta
1 C. mozzarella
handful of chopped spinach
2 Tbsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. basil
2 Tbsp. parsley
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
dash of nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 package of wonton wrappers

Finish With:
chopped toasted walnuts
grated parmesan
fresh basil
drizzle of olive oil

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, spinach, seasonings and olive oil in a bowl.  If mixture seems a bit dry, add a little more olive oil to keep things moist.  Taste and adjust seasonings according to your liking.

Sorry.  I used a good bit of the cheese mixture before remembering to take a pic!

Place a small amount of the cheese mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper.  A teaspoon or slightly more seems to be about the right proportion to keep the filling from oozing out when boiling.
Dip your finger in a bit of water and wet all of the edges, then fold into a triangle and press the edges together to seal.

Drop the ravioli into the boiling water about four or five at a time. I watched until the ravioli rose to the surface and then boiled for about another minute or so until tender. 

Remove the ravioli from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining ravioli.  I tossed my cooked ravioli with just a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together before serving.

To serve, top the ravioli with your favorite sauce, or with walnuts, basil, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


Friday, May 4, 2012

The One About Giving Up Control...

I'm just going to get right down to it.  No fancy intro.  No inspirational word picture to set the stage.  This week  we received some news that is not the greatest regarding our pregnancy.  Early Monday morning, I woke up to a large amount of blood.  Brent took me to the ER, where after some testing and an ultrasound, they determined I have a subchorionic hemorrhage.  The good news is the location.  It  lies just above the cervix and thus is away from the placenta, where it could force the placenta away from the uterine wall, putting me at a greater risk of miscarriage.  The not so good news, is the size.  It is roughly 5cm (2 inches) putting it at about the same size as my pregnancy.  The whole time in the ER, we were praying for two miracles.  First, that the bleeding would stop or slow down, and second that our baby would still be alive.  God graciously answered both of those prayers so we give Him the praise.

I am still spotting and occasionally have larger amounts of blood, which could be good as the hemorrhage releases the blood instead of building up, but frankly, bleeding in pregnancy is never a 'good' thing.  Luckily, because of the position of the hemorrhage, it is not blocking nourishment to our baby, and so we have a very healthy baby right now, who is growing, moving and has a strong heartbeat!  We had an ultrasound yesterday, and it was such a gift to see our little one, fully developed and doing acrobats. I praise God for the opportunity to see those beautiful tiny hands and feet!  I am not on bed rest, I am just to take things easy, so no heavy lifting or marathon training ha!

When we first found out, I was desperately seeking wise counsel and encouragement from the doctors and specialist.  I wanted someone to guarantee me of our baby's ability to survive.  And you know what I received?  Two doctors gave me a positive outcome, and two told me to be prepared for the worst.  I was left feeling discouraged and desperate.  I came home and sobbed, then I remembered a scrap piece of paper in my purse where I had written some verses down to share with a friend.  I spent my afternoon in silence, reading God's word, praying and releasing my fears to Him.

If you don't mind I would like to share a couple of them with you:

John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I realized that I was looking in the wrong place for my peace.  I was desperate for the doctors to give me hope...but there is only ONE who is the giver of hope.  Our Heavenly Father.  He is the Father of all peace and comfort, so why was I looking to the world to provide that for me?  I was also reminded of something else.  Fear is not from God.  He is not the Father of fear...He is the Father of peace and comfort and hope.

Romans 15:13
"May the god of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I just cannot tell you how encouraged I feel.  I was thinking back to something Job said in the Bible (but, believe me, I in know way am identifying myself with Job's trials) he basically said, God's mind and purpose has never changed and whatever He wants to do, He does.  He controls our destiny.  

While I don't completely understand the purpose in all of this today, I can say that it has caused me to do one thing that God longs for each of us to do...release my control to Him.  There is nothing I can do of myself to change outcomes in my favor, but I can thank Him for every single day I get to have with this baby, and I can rest in the fact that whether the outcome is in my favor or not, He controls my destiny.  His ways are higher than mine, and His plan is to prosper me and not harm me.  To give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  

I hesitated writing this post, because I don't want to convey the wrong thing.  I am not looking for sympathy or attention.  I am praising God for the hope He is giving me each day!  I have shed many tears, but feel at such peace about this whole thing right now.  I have searched God's word and am learning to give up control.  Right now we have a growing, healthy-baby, and that gives me so much hope!  We all have pain and trials, it just looks different for each of us.  I pray that you are encouraged by God's words of hope as I have been!

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.