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Catholicism

5 Destinations for Your Catholic Road Trip – Northeast Edition

August 9, 2015

There’s nothing like a road trip to bring together a group of friends, and nothing makes a road trip better than great destinations. For all of who live in the in the Northeast or have a desire to road trip there, here are a few places I suggest you visit (paired with some great eats nearby):

1. The Abbey of the Genesee – Genesee, New York

This Trappist monastery, located in rural Western New York, is home to about 30 cloistered monks. They spend their days (waking up at 2:15 AM!) praying and working. To support their monastic lifestyle the monks of the Abbey of the Genesee bake bread which they sell at the monastery and in grocery stores throughout western New York. Not only can you buy every variety of Monk’s Bread at the monastery (including monastery exclusive unsliced maple cinnamon) you can join the monks in praying Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day!

Tip: After spending time with the monks, head into nearby Geneseo and go to Pizza Paul’s for the half-sub, half-calzone subzone.

 

2. St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal – Montreal, Quebec

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St. Andre was the main driver behind building an oratory in honor of St. Joseph, which has been enlarged multiple times over the years. There’s a lot to explore and see nowadays, but my two favorites were seeing St. Andre’s heart (they took it out and put it in a glass box!) and the hall honoring a dozen or so of the many titles of St. Joseph (e.g. Terror of Demons). There are also multiple places throughout the grounds that are covered in old crutches that people left behind after miraculous healings.

Tip: While in Quebec, you’ve got to grab some poutine, which is french fries and cheese curds covered with brown gravy. Yum!

Bonus Tip: While in town, check out the amazingly beautiful Notre Dame Basilica.

 

3. National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette – Attleboro, Massachusetts

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This shrine dedicated to Mary’s apparition in La Salette, France is a great visit any time of year, but is exceptional during Christmastime, during which they pull out all the stops with the Christmas Festival of Lights. They deck out the grounds with over a quarter of a million lights.

Tip: Bliss Bros. Dairy is only a 1/2 mile away from the shrine! Stop in for a sundae or milkshake, and be sure to take home a ice cream pizza. Yes, such a thing exists, and yes, it’s everything you want it to be.

4. Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs A.K.A. North American Martyrs Shrine – Auriesville, New York

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This shrine is built where the Mohawk village of Ossernenon stood. This is where St. Isaac Jogues and two of his lay companions were martyred. The other North American martyrs are also celebrated here. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha!

Tip: Auriesville isn’t exactly a bustling metropolis, and this is the one location on this list I haven’t personally been to. I searched Yelp and found Forever Young’s diner less than 10 miles away. They’re known for their korean-inspired Bolgogi (fire meat) omelet and their thick-cut made from scratch cinnamon raisin toast.

5. Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica – Lackawanna, New York

www.ourladyofvictory

Father Nelson Baker’s heart broke for the poor and beat for Our Lady. Throughout his life, he did much for both. The orphanage he ran was so well known that children were put on trains all over the country with “Father Baker’s” pinned to their clothes, and they railroad staff knew exactly where to take them and made sure they got there. He spearheaded construction of a new church in honor of Our Lady of Victory (a personal favorite of his) and the absolutely beautiful basilica was completed in 1925 for over 3 million dollars without going into debt. (You know I love that!)

Tip: Lackawanna is right next to Buffalo, so head on over to Anchor Bar, birthplace of the Buffalo Chicken Wing, and chow down.

This post highlighted Catholic road trip destinations in the Northeast. Please list any Northeast favorites I missed in the comments, as well as spots to list in future posts about other regions of the country!

Infertility, Marriage

Little Happies: Vegas Adventures

March 17, 2014

This week, I have many Little Happies I’m linking up over at Blessed to Be!

Many are from the girl’s trip I took with a dear friend to Las Vegas, NV this past Wednesday-Saturday! This was my first “girl’s trip” and it hopefully won’t be the last. It was awesome to get away with a gal pal for some fun, adventure, prayer, and conversation. I think we may have talked for three days straight, minus when we paused to sleep. It was great.

–one–

catching-fire

Catching Fire came available to rent on Amazon this past week! WOOHOO! We use this new thing called HitBliss to watch commercials and receive credit to rent music, tv shows, or movies on Amazon. So not only did we watch Catching Fire for the 3rd time, we watched it for FREE! 🙂 The Teixeiras love free.

–two–

Bellagio_Fountain4

The Bellagio Fountains.

The musical choice was one of my all-time favorites:

I could listen to Andrea Bocelli for days on end.

Standing there made us feel like we were in Ocean’s Eleven, which is another Little Happy in and of itself! 🙂

–three–

gold strike canyonGold Strike Canyon.

There were repel ropes. There were striking views. There were crystal-clear hot-spring pools to swim in. There were sore muscles. All in all, a really great 4-5 hour hiking experience!

I had actually done this grueling bear of a hike about a year ago…so I thought I would really “show” Andrea some real adventure in the back country. Somehow Andrea had to lead us down all the scary repel ropes because I kept freaking out. I am still not as courageous as my soul desires to be.

–four–

wheel of fortuneWheel of Fortune: Special Edition

This is my gambling machine of choice. Last year, I put $1 into the machine, played for a few minutes and cashed out over $40.

It took us forever and a day to find this bad boy in Vegas but eventually on the very last night, we found one! Unfortunately I had lost my $20 gambling money by that point…so it was up to Andrea to take home the big win to redeem me! She was on a very hot streak of beginner’s luck, so I knew it was going to go well! Lo and behold, she put in a $20 and a few minutes later she cashed out with $35. A small win but nonetheless a win!

–five–

hoover dam

Hoover Dam.

Wow. Wow. Wow. The views were breath-taking and terrifying. I found myself in awe that this was built during the Great Depression times. It was a delightful experience minus thinking I was going to be pushed over the ledge at any second. I tend to be unnecessarily paranoid around heights.

–six–

in-n-out-burger-logoHave you been there? If so, you KNOW why this deserves to be part of Little Happies.

If not, go the next time you are out West and it will be one of your Little Happies too! For us gluten-free peeps, they make a mean lettuce wrapped burger!

–seven–

pizza vegas

I may be going on a food kick here.

The above pizza was made (without extra charge) on a gluten-free crust at Project Pie. They let me build it, kind of like building a burrito at Chipotle. Yes, that is prosciutto on the pizza among many other delicious ingredients.

–eight–

brunch

Definitely a food kick now.

Since I’ve been OOT and Jonathan didn’t shop while I was gone (he ate pizza and ice cream for three days) we decided to hit up a new place we’ve heard about for Sunday Brunch. Yes, those are gluten-free buttermilk pancakes. If you didn’t know they were gluten-free you would NEVER suspect it. Even better! I am very happy to have a brunch place again that gluten can’t steal from me.

–nine–

ATK cookbook

This cookbook came in the mail the day I left town. I got to spend a few minutes browsing it and I already like what I am seeing. We are huge fans of America’s Test Kitchen and the way they experiment, test, and scientifically explain every recipe until they find the best one. I am pumped to dive into baking and cooking with this new kitchen companion.

–ten–

Last but not least – I had my latest cycle review with the PPVI about our infertility. Based on last p+7 blood draw my progesterone level was 6.3 and estrogen was 12.5 which is not good. Still waiting for Thyroid Panel results.The little happy in the midst of the cycle review was that the LUF cyst I had from last cycle dissolved (thanks to nurse Jonathan giving me progesterone injections) allowing me to try another round of clomid this cycle.

Then they offered a new-to-them (like almost experimental new) treatment that is working for a doctor over in Italy to prevent LUFS from forming! A plan to possibly help my body ovulate! I didn’t think there was a cure to this disease at all. I have NO idea how this will all pan out. They even said I don’t have to try it, since it’s really so new. I feel I ought to try anything moral at this point. At the very least I can be a guinea pig for treatment that will hopefully pave way to a cure of LUFS someday for other women. Zero guarantees on if this will work but I am just happy to have something to try. I want to know I “gave it my all.”

Marriage

5 Ways eMeals Will Help You in 2014!

February 17, 2014



I am really proud to be part of the eMeals.com blogger network! It’s a lot of fun to get to be “part” of a company that I really believe in and find useful! Trust me, if I didn’t love something, it wouldn’t make it onto this blog and I wouldn’t spend my time or energy promoting it.

Many of you remember this blog post introducing eMeals.com on this blog. I still wholeheartedly stand behind everything I wrote then and everything I write today. Without further ado, here are 5 ways I know eMeals will help you in 2014:

1. Keep you Healthy

Do you have a particular eating plan you are attempting to follow? Gluten-free, Paleo, Organic, Clean Eating, Low-Fat, etc? Well, eMeals has a plan for you. And guess what? If you aren’t buying junk, you never end up eating junk. If you tell eMeals you want the Paleo menu…processed junk won’t even make it to grocery list, keeping you safe and on track with your health plan.

2. Predictable budget

I am consistently surprised at how darn consistent eMeals is. Jonathan and I subscribe to the plan for two adults, which usually allows enough for leftovers occassionaly. So buying groceries for 5 dinners a week, with some leftovers, we typically spend between $75/week. We switch our plans every few months and find the Paleo one (meat in every meal) is more expensive than others but not by that much. We could get that lower by purchasing lower quality ingredients but hey, we are debt free now! We ate like no one else so now we get to eat like no one else!

3. Grow in you culinary skills

Have you ever braised something? Cooked with leeks? Bought a haricot vert? I know I had NOT done any of those things prior to eMeals. There was a learning curve to start but now I love cooking with lots of ingredients. It made me realize how narrow my menus truly were prior to eMeals. I bought the same items at the grocery store for years on end and this led to monotony and fear to try new things in the kitchen. Now I trust that eMeals won’t let me down and if it’s telling me to saute parsnips and shallots, not only will I learn some new skills, but I will also enjoy new delicious tastes.

4. Save time and energy

I work full time. We have one car. I dislike wasting time or wandering around stores without a very specific purpose. Meal planning and grocery shopping used to exhaust me…which is probably why I bought the same stuff over and over again for years. Now, I know that eMeals will think for me, organize my shopping list according to aisles, and give me step by step instructions for how to prepare the meals. Fool proof, really, and I don’t have to be in charge of one more thing around the house.

5. Consistently tasty recipes

Look at what eMeals sent me in preperation for Valentine’s Day:

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Are you drooling yet? All of those, even the healthier options, sound AMAZING. Check out a sample dinner menu:

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Again, don’t those sound AMAZING? Well, I cook them on a regular basis and they are! I am not someone that typically cooks a dish and then gets compliments. I have other strengths and I am OK with that. With eMeals though, it’s like my shortcomings are set aside since a real chef made the recipe up and all I have to do is follow directions and it ends up tasting awesome. I can hardly take credit for it!

Head on over to eMeals.com to check out what they’ve got to offer you.

15% Off Your Order at eMeals.com with Bonus Comfort Foods Brochure! Use code Dinner15

Intentional Living, Marriage, Money

Ready. Set. Save 30% on eMeals!

November 27, 2013

 
Save 30% with code Cyber

Last year many of you read my raving review of eMeals. We are still very happy users of eMeals. I love how simple meal planning, shopping, and cooking is with eMeals. It’s absolutely worth the few dollars we paid for it.

Not many of you know this but I am now gluten-free…a whole different story of how I discovered that. I was worried it would be difficult for us to cook tasty meals or I would accidentally poison myself without recognizing gluten in a recipe.

Lo and behold, eMeals had a Gluten Free plan! They also have a Paleo plan that works in a gluten free diet. I was relieved that I didn’t have to do all the research on recipes…eMeals sends me pre-designed recipes that fit the dietary restrictions I have. Thanks eMeals!

Are you interested in eMeals? This week you can save 30% by using the code: cyber 


Save 30% with code Cyber

Marriage

What We’ve been Eating

September 30, 2013

Lately we’ve had some great food around here and I want to pass on some awesome recipes to others because these recipes are perfect for Fall. What’s been on the menu?

1. BLT Sandwiches 

Recipe Link – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blt/

You could try adding avocado and other fixings to dress up this classic meal.

Yes it was as good as it looked. We splurged and went for really high quality bacon and fresh tomatoes. It was a good decision.

Yes it was as good as it looked. We splurged and went for really high quality bacon and fresh tomatoes. It was a good decision.

 

2. Bacon-Tomato Bisque

Apparently we love bacon, since this is two for two here. Below is the recipe and instructions. The red wine is the secret to this soup. AMAZING!!!! We usually triple or quadruple this recipe and put leftovers into freezer bags so we can take a bag out every few weeks, thaw it, and have a couple great meals. We have made grilled cheese as a side dish with this soup and it’s a wonderful addition.

soup

3. Butternut Squash Soup

This is an Emeril recipe – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/butternut-squash-and-italian-sausage-soup-recipe/index.html

It’s slightly tedious and technical but completely worth the effort. Make sure to cool the squash before attempting to handle it. Another recipe we like to make in large batches and freeze. Breadsticks  or crusty bread for dipping are a wonderful addition to this soup.

Here's the soup simmering and getting ready to be pureed into deliciousness.

Here’s the soup simmering and getting ready to be pureed into deliciousness.

4. Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is so easy you can’t mess up. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/flourless-peanut-butter-cookies-recipe/index.html

Sometimes we substitute the Sugar for Truvia Baking Blend. Turns out mostly the same but doesn’t make as many cookies, since the ratio isn’t the same. These cookies are our favorite to make for special occasions, which we turn into shapes that represent the occasion. Example – For Apollo 13 Movie Night last spring we made them into moons and space ships.

5. Angel Food Berry Cake

We can’t claim this one but it was so delicious (actually I didn’t have any since I am not eating gluten right now but I could tell it was good by sight). We thank Mr. Joe Konopa for bringing this one over. I don’t know his exact recipe but this was close – http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/angel-food-cake-stuffed-with-whipped-cream-berries-10000001611728/

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This photo doesn’t do it justice. The middle was stuffed with berries and whipped cream.

Intentional Living, Marriage

Want to Cook Healthy Meals and Save Money?

January 23, 2013

Have I got a treat for YOU!

A year ago when I got married, I knew how to cook like three things. One of them being a grilled cheese sandwhich. Trust me, it was delicious. I  quickly learned that although I was content eating the same meal all the time for years on end, my husband was not as thrilled. But the reasons I cooked the same thing all the time were good ones!

1) Lack of Knowledge. I didn’t know how to cook and didn’t own a cook book.

2) Economics. I thought it was economical to eat the same cheap things all the time and food never got wasted.

3) It was easy! I was super busy and honestly didn’t have time to cook gourmet meals everyday of the week let alone shop for a variety of ingredients to make those meals.

All my reasons, though good, seemed lame after a while. Most people knew how to cook SOMETHING. There ought to be some program out there that will work for me….right? I tried Allrecipes.com, which was nice but I felt pressure to look up and organize 10 recipes for the week, compile a grocery list, and then head to the store after being wiped out by my prep work. Plus half the recipes get changed and don’t turn out all that consistently anyway. I tried Food Network’s website and was making Emeril dishes…that cost an arm and a leg to make plus 4 hours of my night to cook. We tried frozen bag meals for a week, which was easy, but I didn’t feel great about all the processed food and sodium. I tried cookbooks but I ended up destroying them quickly with flour, wine, oil, butter, water, garlic, you name it…somehow every ingredient ended up getting on the pages and warping them.

Then I was listening to my favorite financial guru, Dave Ramsey, one afternoon and found eMeals.com and my entire life was all better! Not really my whole life, but it did take care of my kitchen, cooking, and budget woes with food though!

Look at what this FABULOUS website pulls together for you!

how it works

So this website would allow me to pick my healthy eating habits, sync up with local sales in my area, plan my meals and organize my shopping list by aisle, save me money, prevent waste, provide me with preparation and cooking instructions and all I had to do was PRINT? Yes please! Check out the plans!

the meal plans

Jonathan and I have been using eMeals for a few months now. We’ve experimented with the Paleo and Clean Eating plans. They have been phenomenal for us! I have found the recipes to be incredibly user friendly but also QUICK. I spend maybe 20-30 minutes cooking at the max, which is all I can really afford working full-time right now. God-willing I am a mother some day and stay home with my kiddos, I doubt I will have much more time to cook anyway!

I have cooked things I would NEVER have even purchased before, like parsnips, beets, quinoa, and salmon among so many other ingredients I was afraid of. There are plenty of “normal” ingredients included too but some plans are more exotic than others! Now I shop with confidence, knowing that eMeals will help me prepare delicious meals. I receive my meal plan in my inbox once a week. I click print, head to the store, and pick up my items that are organized by “produce” or “dairy” so I am not running from one side of the store to another and then back chasing forgotten items. I love how smart eMeals are. Ex: If I need half a cabbage in some recipe, it will automatically give me another recipe to use the other half so I don’t have any food go to waste!

It’s less than $5 a month to use eMeals but for that what do I save?????

1) Time – I never have to menu plan anymore or write up a grocery list. I also shop more efficiently. Hello 2-3 extra hours a week! 🙂

2) Money – I am not wasting food anymore. With a few eMeals plans it actually syncs up with local SALES in your area! I also have found that when Jonathan and I aimlessly bought food for the week, we spent about $75/week for the two of us. Using eMeals it’s been more like $60/week for groceries. That’s significant for us.

3) Health – Since being on the Paleo and Clean Eating plans, we have felt awesome! We’ve eaten so many veggies and since unhealthy items aren’t even on the shopping list, they aren’t in our house!

4) Energy – I am actually enjoying cooking more but still like keeping it to a minimum. eMeals thinks for me and all I have to do is follow the recipe, which is typically very simple and easy. I get a meal on the table in no time these days and it gives me more time to focus on activities that bring me energy, like reading or exercising. I am not trapped in the kitchen for 2 hours every night.

I don’t even know how to put a price tag all of those things but I am 100% sure it’s more than $5 a month. Below are sample photos of my weekly grocery list and menu.

sample ingredient

sample plan

When I love things, I feel the need to share them. So that is why I have written this post. I hope it will come as a blessing to all who read it! Happy Cooking!Click on the picture below to visit eMeals!

Just as we are affiliates with Amazon.com, we are also with eMeals, so if you end up wanting to use them, be sure to come back to this post and access their website by clicking on our links!