This is Lara's bio in her own words:
I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina where God, family, and food were most important. I am the middle child between two boys so life has always been a wonderful sandwich. And no, I don't always ''speak food...'' In all seriousness, God is so good to me and I'm thankful He has brought me to Project 658 to spend time with a family of people from all over the world and to share food with them. I have been part of this beautiful situation since September 2015 after I graduated from Johnson & Wales University and I've been blown away by how the Lord has allowed me to use my skills and knowledge about food to minister to people. If you happen to stop by The 658 Center, you can find me teaching culinary classes, preparing for a catering event, or just dancing around the kitchen!
I put together a little gift to say thank you to Chef Lara for volunteering her time to show some basic meal prep and slicing techniques for my women's group that meets each month. (Blog post to come on how to start your own group with a PURPOSE. Comment below if this is something you would be interested in reading about and doing.)
She taught us some neat tricks when dicing and slicing green peppers, onions and chicken breast. By the end of the class we had made chicken fajitas! She also shared her easy recipe for Chimichurri sauce to top off our fajitas! It was fantastic!
You basically throw everything into the blender or Vitamix and you have chimichurri sauce!
We all thoroughly enjoy ourselves and the fellowship with each other. Some of the ladies are comfortable in the kitchen and others are not, but everyone found their place and fit right on in! We feasted together and filled our hearts and tummies!
Learn to be adventurous if it is not already a part of who you are. Meet people, learn something new and have fun doing it! Be inspired my lovely friends!
So for awhile I have been trying to figure out how to better organize one are of my kitchen counter so it will work best for my family and I. I have my son and another teenager who lives with us and they both consume lots of bread. I have been keeping a basket on the counter with bread, buns, rolls as well as my seeds and granola I use for my smoothies and parfaits. It is convenient, but it isn't attractive in my opinion. There wasn't a bread box that I could find that would minimize the amount of space being taken up on my counter. I needed a space for not just 1 loaf of bread, but other types of breads as well. I have a bunch of bread heads in my house. Ha!
I decided that I wanted to use a deep kitchen drawer that I kept some small kitchen gadgets in, but didn't use that often. The drawer has plenty of space and would be the perfect bread, rolls, bun and peanut drawer for us. Not only does my family eat a lot of bread, but also peanut butter! I figured this would be the best place to store both.
I decided to put all these gadgets into the basket that once held my bread and store it in an upper cabinet that I didn't use very often and one that had space to move it to.
I cleaned out the drawer with some Lysol wipes and then placed my bread and peanut butter in the drawer. I have plenty of space for more bread or chips. I absolutely love it now! I wish I would have thought of this earlier.
Something I had really been wanting to do for awhile was to store my smoothie and parfait dry ingredients where they are more easily accessible to me since I use them everyday and very often multiple times a day. I already had some large mason jars I purchased a long time ago for a project I never completed. I decided now that I have the space, I could use them to store my granola, chia seeds, flaxseeds and whatever else I may use. I had some large chalkboard labels in my craft basket, so I pulled them out and wrote out my labels.
I then poured my dry ingredients into the jars and sat them in a tray with some spoons so they will be ready for the next smoothie or parfait. It was a win win for me! It literally cost me nothing since I had the jars and labels. It took me less than 10 minutes total and makes my day to day life a little easier and keeps my counter top looking less cluttered. I used a small jar on the end for any items that may change frequently. Right now I have a variety of nuts in it, but next week it could be cacao powder.
This is a recipe that my family loves! It is easy to make and is VERY hearty! You will not be hungry for awhile after eating this! You can adjust pretty much anything in this recipe to fit your own personal preferences. You just have to remember that if you want to add more rice, you need to add more liquid. Rice and liquid are a 2:1 ration meaning...For every 1 cup of rice you will need 2 cups of liquid for it to absorb. If you prefer this recipe to be more soupy add more liquid once the rice is cooked to get the consistency you like. Personally, I add more vegetable broth at the end if it is too thick. I hope you enjoy it! Please comment if you make it or plan to make it!
Of course Native American artwork is very near and dear to me. I am Cherokee and very proud of my heritage. I love artwork of all kinds and have such a great respect for artists. Melanie is not only a beautiful sister and friend of mine, she is a very gifted artist who specializes in beadwork. She was so gracious to donate a pair of earrings she made for my April GIVEAWAY on Facebook.
Here is a little about Melanie.
She has been doing beadwork for over 20 years. Mostly self taught with tremendous influence from her late older sister and relatives. In these earrings she is representing the Native American theme of a tipi (teepee) with sunburst colors. Her work has been admired by Crystal Gayle, Native American musician Bill Miller, and Native American actor Irene Bedard. You can find her work on facebook Fine Native American Beadwork by Melanie. She is Mohave and Choctaw, married, one son, and resides in Nashville, TN, but originally from Arizona, enrolled with Colorado River Indian Tribes, Parker, AZ.
Please check out her site at: https://www.facebook.com/FineNativeAmericanBeadwork/
So I love to give personalized gifts when I can. I recently had one of my women's meetings at a location where a wonderful lady taught all of us how to make a specific type of jewelry. To thank her for spending several hours of her day setting up and teaching us for free, I wanted to put a little something together for her.
I didn't know the lady personally, so I asked some questions about her from her co-worker and took it from there! Her gifts included a: coffee mug, tea bags, notepad, candle, chocolates & caramels, set of 2 dish towels and a picture frame...plus the basket itself. This entire gift came to $32.00 and that included taxes.
When I put together gifts like this for someone, I always try to ensure I am getting things they will love and use, not just items that I like or that I think look pretty. I want the gift to be pretty as well as practical for that individual.
So recently I was asked to assist a realtor with some home staging for a property that was soon to be listed and needed some sprucing up. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful home all by itself. It is approximately 6,000 square feet and loaded with anything you could imagine. However, I was only given a budget of $850 which is not very much especially for a home of this size. I had to work with what was given to me and therefore only focused on 3 main areas of the home which were the Master Bed/Bath, Kitchen and Living Room. The home is beautifully designed and will sell itself I'm sure....but the key is to sell it for what you want and quickly. When someone can feel like they can see themselves living in that home, you have a buyer. Also, you want to stage the home in a way that shows off the dimensions and architecture of each space. You are generally trying to appeal to a female perspective when staging a home since often times they will be the influence if there is a male buyer involved. You want the home to feel fresh, clean and airy. First, I will show you the outisde of this beautiful home which also sits on a lake......
In the living room I purchased a beautiful area rug. There was previously a very old dark rug that even further darkened the space. I wanted to go with something that had a large, but soft print to bring a lighter and softer texture to the area. This home has a very dark feel to it due to the paint choices and dark furniture selections made by the owner. These choices are fine if that is your style and taste, however, when you are wanting to sell a home it can feel to0 dark and heavy for them.
I also switched out some very dark throw pillows and replaced them with cream colored pillows. I purchased some beautiful aqua color vases to help frame the large center window a little. The coffee table originally had some dark rolling stools that slid under the table for seating, but it made the center of the room too dark. I removed the stools to allow the glass table to be completely transparent and assist in lightening the room.
I am a stay at home mom, wife and full time blogger. I love people and I love helping them pull out that creative side and to love who they are. I aspire to inspire and leave large footprints.