Egg & Mozz Brunchwich

:Foodie Blog Test Run: 

If you are a lover of colorful and easy brunch food, then this sandwich is for YOU!

We recently had a Sprouts open by our apartment. It’s amazing. My husband and I live on a side of town that has plenty of popular fast food restaurants and other large corporate groceries, but we have lacked a “neighborhood feel” full of local eateries and businesses. The last couple of years has showed hope with some new places popping up and then the magical day came when I learned we were getting a SPROUTS! While Sprouts is not locally owned, it still gets a heartfelt squeal from me being that I have been desperate for yummy, healthy food options close to home.

But, I digress…

With new and interesting ingredient options, my amateur culinary interests have been inflamed once again. The great thing about this particular brunchwich is that it is incredibly easy, colorful, and hits all the important food groups.

The sandwich is composed of the following:

  • 2 over easy eggs seasoned with TJ’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning
  • 1 thick slice of a beefsteak tomato
  • Mashed avocado
  • 2 thick slices of your fave kind of mozz
  • A handful helping of greens (I used an arugula/spinach mix)
  • A sturdy roll of your choosing (Chibatta bread works great too!)

There is no secret to this brunchwich. Grab your ingredients and get to slicin’. Next, throw some butter or cooking oil into your egg pan and start letting those eggs sizzle. I like butter just as much as the next person, but when I’m trying to be healthy, I’ll use Avocado Oil to cook my eggs in. I am an advocate for simple eggs. Just a little salt and pepper will do the trick. If you want to get really fancy, use course salt and freshly ground rainbow peppercorn. However, if you want to revolutionize your egg game, you MUST HAVE Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel Seasoning. This stuff will change your food game. It’s so tasty.

While your eggs are sizzling, go ahead and start toasting your bread. Mash up some avocado;  probably about 1/4 to 1/2 of the avocado will work depending on the size of the fruit and how much you want. Spread a thick layer of the avo on both halves of your warm-from-the-toaster buns. If you will be saving half of your brunchwich for a mid-afternoon snack, you can squeeze some lime into the avo mash mix to stop it from turning brown.

I hope you didn’t forget your eggs! The goal is to make sure your eggs are still runny. There is nothing better that sopping up egg yoke drippings from your plate with the last bit of your sandwich, which usually ends up being mostly bread. Take your eggs off the heat and slip them onto the bottom half of your bread. Layer your brunchwich with the tomato slice, then the Mozz, then the greens. Huzzah  – you have made a delicious food item that can be consumed immediately.

Enjoy with a mimosa or a cup of coffee. If you are EXTRA like me, have both and turn on a little jazz while you demolish this delicious brunchwich. Enjoy!











o l d {s a l t y} w o u n d s

written december 2016

Shortly after my biological mom walked away from my life for 10 years, I struggled with my worth. I was a 10 year old kid and already had many identity struggles that I didn’t even have the capacity to understand yet. I recall being told many times that I might not understand a certain situation as a kid, but frankly I understood the facts just fine. The part that I didn’t understand was how I felt about the situation or how to manage those emotions. I understood facts, not necessarily emotions.

I recall seeing a counselor often and the conversation of sharing your feelings came up  as well as learning to instill positive reflections of who I was onto myself. Inspired, my 11 year old brain thought I should post reminders around my room about my worth. So, I logged onto our computer and opened Microsoft Word 2000.

I wrote a couple of sentences, chose a fun font, enlarged the letters, and made it a pretty color. I printed out a few copies and proceeded to put them in my room and bathroom. I don’t recall what the reminder said, but I do remember feeling proud of myself for taking a step to think more positively.

During this time, we happened to be selling our house and as such people were stopping by every so often to do a tour. The memorable thing about this situation was the response I received from my not yet adopted mom. Upon entering my room, I recall her saying something positive and then following it up with, “…..but”. I don’t recall her exact words, but they implied that the interested buyers would likely think I was weird for having to put up these reminders about my self- worth.

I instantly felt embarrassed. I felt dysfunctional. I felt wrong. My little 11 year old heart broke a little. I was confused. Hadn’t the counselor encouraged me to take charge in instilling my self-worth? Was I messed up for needing reinforcement?

I ended up removing the signs from around my room in fear of being judged in some way. At 11 years old I tried to make a positive step in an effort to shift my “stinkin’ thinkin'”, and it had completely and utterly backfired.

I don’t place blame on any involved party. Selling our house was an important endeavor, and I understand that her comment may have just been a silly joke in passing not intended to be taken so seriously. I do not believe her intention was to hurt me or make me feel embarrassed, dysfunctional, and wrong. This moment, however, has stuck with me for almost 15 years. I don’t obsess over the memory, or even recall it on a consistent basis. I don’t feel bitterness or anger about the reaction, but I do find it interesting that all these years later, my brain will rediscover this little gem of a memory.

I really only remember flashes of certain moments during this season of life. I think that attributes to how emotionally shut down I had become. I was on the cusp of puberty and everybody kept telling me how I should be feeling about my biological mom leaving in an attempt to help me understand the situation, but the truth is that I felt very little about her leaving.

She was gone. She changed her number. She wasn’t coming back. I was sad. End of story.

With all the help that my parents could afford to give, including the thousands I’m sure they spent on counseling, there was always something missing. I’m not sure I was receiving the right kind of help. If my wound were physical, I would have needed surgery and ultimately stitches. Counseling provided the surgery and follow- up appointments, but there was very little productive healing outside of the counseling office. After a surgery, your doctor requires you to maintain your wound. Change your dressings. Use sterile bandages. Clean the wound. Engage loved ones to assist with things that you can no longer physically do while healing. These were not things that I received much of- in an emotional sense. Not because of cruelty, but rather because there was a lack of knowledge. I don’t think my parents knew what to do for me or how to help. I think they were just as lost as I was in this situation.

But I was the kid. I had no idea how to help myself other than to read my Bible, write in my journal, and whisper prayers under my breath when the going got really, really tough. My wound got infected so many times I forgot why I needed surgery in the first place. It was a constant battle to clear the infection. Some days were good. Most days were bad. Eventually, the wound became my fault. It was my fault it got infected. It was my fault I wasn’t healing the right way.

Fast forward to my late teens/ early 20’s and the wound has finally closed, but with a large ugly and disfigured scar that occasionally turns bright red. Since then, the wound has been re- opened. My flesh has been shredded and the infections are coming back with even more ferocity that before. I’m recalling moments or hurt. Situations of despair. And guilt. So much guilt for feeling angry, like I shouldn’t be allowed to be angry. It feels like I’m digging up new evidence for a crime that was already laid to rest – a crime that should have been long forgiven by now.

All I can think is, “So many people have it so much worse. I am not entitled to feel these things so deeply and vividly.” I forget that my wound never healed properly the first time. I forgot that I’ve spent a lifetime being numb to the pain, and hiding it as best as possible. So now, I have to unmask, unearth, and expose all the nerve endings to really clean out the black and infected flesh. It hurts, but I’ll do it right this time. No matter how long it takes. I deserve that.


{ p r i o r i t i e s }

“Dad, how did you do it? How did you consistently work 13-14 hours a day for years? How did you wake up every morning before the sun was out, motivated and rejuvenated for another day in the office and field?”

“I don’t know, Danielle. I guess I had a purpose. Supporting and taking care of our family was my purpose; and when I lost that, my purpose in life lessened [and therefore, the business was a reflection of that].”

The automated female announcement interrupted our phone call, “One Minute Remaining.” It was a constant reminder that this wasn’t a normal social call. He had been locked in the Clark County Detention Center for almost 10 months. My dad and I wrapped up our conversation and said our good byes. He was stressed, anxious, worried. I could hear it in his voice. Tomorrow was a big day for him. He had to choose: take the plea deal or go to trial.

I hung up the phone, spoke with Jon regarding dinner, but my mind lingered on the phone call. What my dad said made sense, from an emotional perspective.

I always feel uneasy when I relate to something my dad said. I have to remind myself that I am not my father. The honest reality is that I am scared people are judging me with the same audacity that they are judging my father. I am a lot like my dad, but I am not him. I am me.

I feel like a two year old throwing a tantrum and screaming, “I AM NOT HIM ; I AM ME!!!”

Still, something clicked in me when my dad mentioned “purpose”. He was right. You see, I want to excel at my job. I want to be challenged and grow. I want to be the best. However, that also requires me to put in more time at work. Even with the 5-10 hours of overtime I do per week, it is simply not enough. If I want to grow professionally, I have to make some tough sacrifices in the beginning.

I suddenly realized why I hadn’t committed all the way to my professional goals. My purpose was a little more complicated. Yes, I felt a shared responsibility or “purpose” to provide for Jon and I. I have always been independent in that way. I like to bring something to the table that can be measured and counted. It is a way I can prove my worth.

But there was more. I have another purpose rooted in my DNA: my purpose to make a home, my purpose to cook healthy meals for my husband, and my purpose to be a help- meet. How was I supposed to be a help-meet if I was at work for 12 hours a day Monday through Friday. By the time the weekend rolled around, I would be exhausted and have very little of myself to offer to anyone: friends or family.

I would be giving less than 100% in each category except for work, and that is unacceptable in my book. Perhaps I am really asking the age old question: “How do I balance it all?”

The answer is simply, you can’t. Steven Furtick, one of my favorite pastors, once said, “If you expect straights A’s in every category of your life, every single day, you are setting yourself up for internal failure for the rest of your life. You don’t win everywhere at once. You have to learn how to diversify.”

I want to learn how to diversify. So, I’m trying things. I’m cutting back on social media. I’m going to counseling. I’m trying to be more intentional with my husband. I’m focusing, the best I can, on work and doing well there. I’m trying to be logical in my mental approach to negative feelings. I’m learning to find my inner quiet.

That means some people and areas in my life are getting less attention. I’m trying to avoid negativity. I’m trying to center myself.

That is about all I can handle right now. People can gossip if they want. They can draw conclusions and state their opinions. They can perceive and judge however they please. I feel a combination of guilt and anger. Guilt for not being enough to those around me and anger that I let their thoughts, opinions, and gossip rule over my emotions.

I am battling years of negative thinking patterns and years of looking to others for approval. I often feel emotionally unstable and broken when I realize all that I have to overcome. I often feel that others see right through me into the ugly mess. In other words, I begin relating to Anna Nalik’s famous song that brings everyone back to those feelings of teenage angst, “I feel naked in front of the crowd, cause these words are my diary screaming out loud.” It’s a very embarrassing and humbling place to be.

I am fighting for my mental health. I am fighting for joy. I am fighting for a fulfilling life.

Right now, that’s all I can do. I refuse to apologize for it.

An Excerpt | September 6th

It is day six of this nightmare. It is a new nightmare to join all the other nightmares in nightmare hell.

My phone buzzes and it’s another text from my husband.

“He made the news. And now we know the story.”

My heart jumps to my throat and stays there as my brain goes into overdrive and I click on the link.

“A Las Vegas man is facing several charges for allegedly violating a stalking harassment protection order.”

F–. It is about him.

My eyes sweep through the short article, really only keying in on certain phrases: “GPS tracking device”, “woman’s car”, “high rate of speed”, “arrested”, “former girlfriend”, “police scanner”….my chest squeezes and my breathe shortens for the millionth time in the last six days.

His name is all over the article. I start scrolling through comments: “creep”, “crazy”, “Good Job Metro!”, “POS who should be in prison for a long time”.

I just stare at the screen and try to focus on breathing. My finger starts twitching and I purse my lips in annoyance. Great. An anxiety “moment”.

Everything is falling apart. Everything is a mess. Everything is a lie. Everything is a manipulation.

I barely know who this man is.  I recall being told that there was a completely other side to him that I had no idea about.

I guess this was it.

Trying Is Not Enough.

My parents pushed me when I was growing up. They constantly expected my best. Every problem had a solution. Every situation was surmountable. Things were earned, not given. If I was persistent enough and determined enough, I would be successful.

As an adult, you quickly learn that reality has a different point of view. Sometimes things are out of your control. Sometimes you can do your best, and you will still fail.

I remember my parents saying, “Stop trying, just do it. It’s your choice.” Or sometimes I would hear, “If things are not how you want them to be, you will figure out how to fix it. If you are unsuccessful, then you are not trying hard enough. If you are not successful, you must not want it badly enough.”  I carry these words around with me every single day. They are the bar that determines whether I did well that day or not.

But I am only human. Pushing myself at 150% warp speed every single day is simply exhausting. I slow. I hesitate. I grow weary. I give up. I become frustrated.

I spend so much brain power evaluating the things I say and do. Any communication or action is reviewed. Every impulse or lash of anger is judged. It’s exhausting, but it must be done. We must challenge ourselves. If you do not, others will.

We are in control of so much of our own lives and it is a power we should not take lightly. It was clear that I, alone, was responsible for my actions and my quality of life. I cannot blame my childhood. I cannot blame anybody but myself when things go awry.

And I do, truly, believe this and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to learn this during my childhood years. It has made me capable and strong. However, I often have seasons of deep depression and I truly struggle with my failures. In my stubbornness and pride, I have become bitter and angry over the years. I am only human. I trust that one day, when I choose to do so, I will be free from this weight.

Yes, choose is the key word here.

But, I continue to try. I try so damn hard and fail so often. My failures are MY responsibility, not anyone else’s.

Success or not, we are in charge of challenging ourselves every. single. day.

So, stop using excuses. Take full responsibility for your actions. You can always self- reflect. Any abuse or wrong- doing towards you is not an excuse. I was not allowed to let that define me, and while I struggle with that, my parents were right to push me. Not allowing those things to define you, rule you, or excuse your actions is a daily choice.

These days I struggle with that daily choice. In fact, I’m pretty irritated that I can’t excuse my angry words or lackadaisical actions with my “depression”, “anxiety”, or “upbringing”. I am incredibly far from perfection, but I apologize [too] often and, even with all my pride, I know what a true apology is supposed to look like and I know when I do it incorrectly.

It is often so very clear to me that others do not live by this same standard. People may admit that they are imperfect, but they clearly look beyond themselves for solutions to their problems instead of swallowing a rough dose of self- honesty and self- reflection.

We need to be hard on ourselves.

Growth is uncomfortable. Do better. Be better. You are in control. It is your choice.

Finding Quiet in the Chaos For Real

Today marks the end of 2017. Like most years, this one had a lot of ups and downs. There were a lot of circumstances that molded 2017, but my family takes the cake for being the most destructive part of my 2017.

I realize that is a hell of a way to start this blog. However, before I enter 2018, I want to be clear about what I can and cannot control. Try to stick with me.

I cannot control how destructive my family is. However, I can control how I respond to the destructive behavior. Shit hit the fan in 2014, and slowly but surely the anger and bitterness that I had kept tightly bound for years started to slowly ooze out of me like toxic waste. For the next four years I would become familiar with words like “depression” and “anxiety”. I would feel my weakest. I would succumb to cheap tricks in an effort to rid myself from the feeling of nothingness.

I folded into a sort of weak, depraved version of myself. Attempting to hide it from the world, I put on the smile and I faked it. Perhaps it was not hid very well as I get the impression from those around me that they found my struggles to be nothing more than insipidly trivial stories.

And thus, I became terrified that no one would save me. No one was coming. I would have to pull myself out of the muck and the mire of my own depressive state. I would have to start doing things that are good for my soul. I would finally have to learn how to love and respect myself.

And that is what 2018 is all about. Self- discovery. Pushing the limits.

I want to find joy in failure. I want to rid myself of the cynic that laughs at love, truth, and honor. I want to believe in the good of the world again. I do not want to live in fear. I do not want to spend my nights trying to get so outside of my mind that I cannot feel anything anymore.

I cannot escape the devil, but perhaps he will escape me.

get back

Every night I try my hardest to disappear.

I suffocate my soul.

I try to forget it, but it won’t leave me alone.

It appeared again, like an apparition.

What am I doing?

I could be someone. I need to get it right.

No one expects me to get it. No one is here.

I gotta’ find my way back. I gotta’ get my head back.

It’s time.

{heavily inspired by start // end by eden}

Don’t stop writing.