Growing up in Christmas


Seafood Paella with Edamame

Seafood Paella with Edamame

At last the semester is over and Winter break has begun! I ended the semester with a 3.88 GPA, so I was pretty pumped. It was by far the toughest semester I have witnessed yet, and I’d like to keep it that way, but we will see…

Anyways, I have been dying to start cooking real food again! Eating from the college cafeteria has its perks because I don’t have to cook anything, but it also means that I don’t get to cook anything, and that makes me sad.

SO now that I am home for the next three weeks, I have basically set up camp in the kitchen. Yesterday, I ran out of clean measuring spoons, so I decided that I had done enough baking that day…

I found this recipe for paella in a Self magazine a couple years ago and I have been putting off trying it because I have this thing about touching raw seafood. I have no problems with land-dwelling animals, but for some reason seafood freaks me out. Maybe its the smell that bugs me, I don’t know. But I really do love seafood, and so I decided that it was time for me to get over my little self and just cook me some shrimp! 🙂

I like recipes from Self because they focus on your health in most of their dishes. This one focuses on lean proteins from fish (which has hardly any fat) and edamame (soy beans), which is a complete plant protein. This comforting meal will fill you up and it only costs you 365 calories and 6g of fat per serving while providing 50g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 27g of protein! BOOM!

Also, since it is Christmas, we encounter that daunting tray of cookies and fatty foods all too often, and I really try to focus on eating light and super healthy when I am at home. If I do this, then I don’t feel like I am overdoing it when I go out and indulge. This meal is healthy and light, so it meets all of those standards as well.

This recipe calls for saffron, which I understand is pretty vital to this recipe, but I didn’t have any. It is also quite expensive and I didn’t feel like I would use it often enough to make it worth it. It still tastes amazing without it, but I’m sure it would be more authentic when it is included in the dish.

So! Ingredients…

  • 2c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2/3 c. red bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 c. green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. canned, diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 T. chopped garlic
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 c. short grain rice ( like Arborio)
  • 1 c. frozen shelled edamame, thawed out
  • 1/2 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. scallops, bite size pieces
  • 2 T. cilantro for garnish
  1. In a small sauce pan, heat the broth; turn off the heat and add the saffron; let it sit.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil and cook onion and peppers over medium heat until soft, 5 min.
  3. Next, add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook this until the liquid is almost reduced, about 3 min.
  4. Stir in the rice, cooking about 1 min. Then add the broth and bring the whole thing to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it go for 15 min. covered. The rice will absorb all of the broth and become soft.
  5. Add the edamame and thawed seafood, and let it cook until the seafood is cooked, about 10 minutes. **The shrimp that I used was precooked and had the tails still attached. The scallops that I used WERE NOT pre-cooked, so they needed that extra time!**
  6. Let the dish rest for 5 min, garnish with cilantro. Serves 4 🙂
Fresh seafood mixed with rice, veggies and edamame

Fresh seafood mixed with rice, veggies and edamame

MMMM this stuff is good! My whole family loved it. My mama and I added a dash of red pepper flake to give it a kick and I highly recommend that addition! I will definitely make this dish again(maybe with saffron next time?) and will enjoy it with no guilt attached 🙂

Are there any light and healthy dishes that you enjoy often? Please share!

Lauren 🙂

It’s been too long!


It feels so good to be back on my blog! It has been way too long. My schedule has been crazy busy and a little depressing, so I haven’t had the time to post anything.

There is only…7 class days left of the semester! What? How is it that time goes so slow but its over so fast? It just amazes me, honestly. It seems like I just moved all of my stuff into this teeny dorm room.

This semester has been the most challenging yet. But it has also been the most character-building. Challenges always strengthen my faith, and when I come out on the other side, all I can do is praise God and then wonder what I was so worried about. God is my rock, and I am so thankful for His presence in my life.

Last night was our last O Chem exam!! Whoop! And as far as I know, I don’t have to take the FINAL since I am not taking the class next semester!!! I don’t really know how that works BUT I am not going to question it! God knew that I would have a melt down if I had to take that monster…

I also cannot wait until Thanksgiving! I love seeing my family and catching up with them. I will miss getting together with my mom’s side of the family this year, but I will see all of them at Christmas in a month or so. (Ah, yay Christmas!!) I just had to bust out the Christmas music a couple weeks back, I couldn’t wait any longer! My roommate is one of those people who is anti-Christmas until after Thanksgiving because she feels like it gets forgotten, and I agree with that. However, outside of hymns, Thanksgiving doesn’t really have its own music genre so they gave me no choice but to pre-game and listen to Christmas music a month early.

And since it is Thanksgiving, I feel like I need to recognize some of the things that I am so blessed to have in my life. 1) I have a fabulous family. Never have I ever felt like I couldn’t go home or tell them anything. They support me in everything that I do and love me unconditionally. 2) My bible study group! I joined a group of college girls my age and we all meet off campus at a recent graduate’s house. We have dinner and then study the bible or study a topic that we all have in common. Because of this group, I have made new friends and I am a part of a new community. We always have so much fun and I hope that its something that we can keep doing.

I have a lot of other things that I am thankful for, but I don’t know if this blog page will let me write that much…

As far as recipes go, I got nothin’. I have been pinning a lot though, so be ready for some once Christmas break begins. Cooking is how I occupy myself, I’m not very good at being bored.

So I am in the last stretch! See ya on the other side 🙂


Halfway There!!


And just like that the first 7 weeks of my sophomore year are a part of the past. I can’t say that I’m sad about it because I’m so ready for this semester to be over so I can say goodbye to Organic Chemistry! I rented the textbook for that class and I might just pay to keep it so that I can burn it slowly…no, tear out all of the pages and then burn each page one by one…

That’s creepy, I’ll stop now.

This past weekend was fall break and it was fantastic and much needed. But to kick off the fall break, I had to take an O. Chem test at 7-9pm on a Friday night. This test was terrible and I wont go into the details of it but I walked out of that classroom knowing that everything I did was either correct…or everything was utterly wrong. I packed my bags in a blur with things that I needed for the four day break, drove home, and then crawled onto my mom’s lap and cried.

I was so angry and upset. I had studied so hard for this test all week and it wasn’t enough. I had prayed and prayed that God would guide me in my studying and that he would help me to focus as I prepared. During the days leading up to the exam, I felt pretty optimistic. I would know everything that I needed to know if I would just keep studying diligently, which is what I did. Then when I took the test, I felt like I had studied all of the wrong material. But I did my best, and let God do the rest.

I was anxious to see my grade all weekend, and my professor hadn’t posted any grades yet. Instead he sent out an email.

“The test scores were lower than expected and the test will be re-written by everyone next Friday. You will receive your scores Wednesday in class.”

Sure enough, I had failed the test and I had no time to study for it all over again. Nevertheless, I was thankful for another chance to pass. Sometimes God doesn’t do things the way that we think he should. Then I got my test back.

I was speechless sitting there holding this 8 page packet of nonsense. I had gotten a 71.5%, which is a B for that class. I had passed, and not only had I passed but I might have had one of the higher scores in the class. Also, the retake was only going to be over 3 specific questions and it was optional.

Wow. After fretting all weekend and feeling so angry and worried, I had passed. I will retake the 3 questions just to see if I can gain a few more points, but it will never cease to amaze me how much I rely on God and how much he really does take care of me. I don’t know how anyone could ever go without God, and it makes me sad when I know that people try to.

So I am half way there and I am definitely living on a prayer! (Wow. its getting late, can you tell?) I will just do my best to keep chugging along, without going to fast. I still like to stop and smell the flowers when I can find them. I would like to post more recipes, but opening a can of tuna really isn’t all that impressive and it doesn’t make very pretty pictures, so I will see of I can whip something up that is fun and easy. I miss fun and easy!

Thanks for reading 🙂






Calm in the Storm


This past week has been the toughest I’ve had so far this year. Many deadlines, meetings and studying to do for my first organic chemistry test kept me really busy and I am honestly glad that the week is over! But looking back, it wasn’t a bad week at all. A lot of good things happened that […]