Daddy-Daughter Date-Kelly's Story

As Valentine's day approaches, I try to not only do something special for my wife, but I like to do something special for our 17 year old adopted daughter, Kelly, as well.

Us as we embark on Daddy-Daughter date.

Kelly's story is a story of being blessed.  Now this not a story of how Kelly has been blessed since she has come to live with us.  It is Kelly that has been the blessing to us, and to people all over the state of Alabama.

Kelly was raised in a small town in Alabama in a place that had no running water, no regular toilets, and no proper shelter. Her "houses" were rental storage sheds. She mentioned one time to us that she was in charge of  "the bucket". I didn't realize what that meant until she explained it was her job to take the "waste" bucket to the woods and dump it out. 

Kelly is also intellectually disabled.  She physically has no disabilities, but intellectually struggles to comprehend and retain information.  

She needed to be taught how to bathe, how to wash her hair, how to eat healthy and eat veggies. With the help of great special education teachers, we worked on teaching her strategies to help her in areas she struggled.  We tried to help her socially by getting her involved in social clubs at school and church. 

In all of this, she was a sweet 12 year old girl (at the time), and was willing to do anything to please you. She did it with a smile on her face. Everyone around Kelly loves her.
Let's Roll!

My wife and I decided to become foster and adoptive parents before we even got married.  So after we were married we went through the process in the Department of Human Resources to become foster and adoptive parents. And for a year and a half, the paperwork for us seemed to never come through. So we had basically decided to give up being foster parents. Until one day, we received a call from DHR and said they had a child they thought would be a good fit. So we expedited the paperwork and finally got licensed. Little did we know that the little girl that was a good fit would be Kelly. She was our first foster child. 

We go to her favorite place, Cracker Barrel.
We had Kelly for over three years as a foster child. There were a few times we thought we were going to lose her. After three years of waiting, the parental rights were severed and there were no family members that were able to adopt her.  We had the option to adopt her, because we took the foster and adoptive classes.

This is a song that never ends for us.

Finally the day come where we adopted Kelly. She was 16 years old and was a part of our family from the first day she came through our door.  She wanted to change her last name to ours, and she has been with us since. It has even been said she favors us!

Kelly getting her favorite breakfast.
Some people have said we gave her a better life.  I believe that the lives that have been made better and blessed the most are ours and the ones she has come in contact with.  People, from all over the state, know and love Kelly. She has taught me how to be a father, learn patience, and how to give an evil eye to boys. Our lives are changed forever because of her, because she is now a part of our forever family!

She wanted some Tutti Frutti for dessert.

What is next for us? Kelly said to us not long after we adopted her, "Now I want a little brother". We are planning over the next two years of adopting internationally from China.  We are hoping and praying we can get the process started soon.

Kung-Fu Panda 3 in the dark!

So there is a little detail on Kelly. This barely scratches the surface of the things we have experienced as a family. It seems that God put everything together for us to be together. And for that, we are thankful.

 She is actually the second adoption for us. We can leave out the other girl...

Molly. Don't forget Molly!

Oh, and what did I have at Cracker Barrel? French toast with eggs over easy!

Rosemary Steak


  • 1 package flank steak, cut in three small steaks
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp dried rosemary

Who doesn't love a good cooked steak? I love steak about any way you can cook them. However, sometimes there are cuts of steak that are a little less desirable that others. In the case of our family being on a tight budget, and eating healthier, we have to go with the less desirable. So even though the cut of meat was not as good as a ribeye, this came out very tender and flavorful. I think it was because of two reasons.One: the method how it was cooked, and two: NOT overcooking the steak. So here is what I did:

  • With any steak, take the steaks out and let them sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes. As you set them out to warm, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt. You can be liberal with the kosher salt, as long as you use kosher, not table salt.
  • Take a cast iron skillet and turn the stove on medium high. Let the pan get really hot. Add a small amount of olive oil, about a tsp,  The oil will be begin to smoke, so put your steaks on quickly. Sear on both sides of the steak for two minutes.
  • Take the steaks and put into a preheated 350 degree oven. When the steaks are placed in the oven and the door is shut, turn the oven OFF. Let the steaks set in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Take steak out of oven and slice. Plate, eat, and enjoy! This piece of meat was very flavorful, moist, and not tough at all! Please enjoy.

    Get printable recipe here!

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    Lasagna Zucchini Rolls

    As we continue our Extreme Makeover lifestyle change thanks to Chris and Heidi, we find recipes that are actually good, along with being low carbohydrates and good for you. I have to admit, I wasn't so sure about this recipe before I tried it. After trying it, I was pleasantly surprised of the visual and palatable qualities it possessed. This may become a regular.  I have tweaked the recipe to make it  more to my tastes, so add any spices you feel may go well with the ingredients.  So this is what I did:

    Five ounces ground turkey
    One tbsp minced yellow onion
    One tbsp minced garlic
    1/2 cup spaghetti sauce(low sodium)
    2 tsp Italian Seasoning
    One teaspoon agave nectar
    1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
    One medium size zucchini

    Take zucchini and cut both ends off. Using a mandolin cutter on level three, cut the zucchini long ways to create thin strips. These should be less than a 1/4 of an inch. 

    In a boiler, bring six cups of water to a simmer. Place zucchini in water and simmer for five minutes. Have a bowl with cold ice water ready and place zucchini in ice water to halt cooking process. Once they are cooled they should be tender and flexible. You will know if you overcooked or under-cooked. One will be mush and the other will be hard and not flexible. Once cooled, drain and set to the side.

    In a fry pan  add 1 tsp olive oil and cook onions and garlic on medium heat. After about thee minutes add the turkey and cook thoroughly. 

    Add spaghetti sauce, agave, and Italian seasonings. Turn off  and remove from heat. 

    Take a small spoon and cover  one side of the flat zucchini. Not too much or it will not roll up. I would say about three tsp. Gently roll the zucchini away from you and tuck under itself after each turn. It should roll into a sushi style roll. Place on a greased baking pan. 

    Sprinkle each roll evenly with mozzarella. Broil in over for three minutes or until the cheese has melted and is brown. 

    Very tasty! Try this. It is pretty and tastes good!

    Barbecue Chicken Salad

    We are continuing to try the recipes found in Chris and Heidi Powell's "Extreme Transformation" book and today we tried barbecue chicken salad. It was a very tasty meal with only a few tweaks. Instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, we used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Here is what we did (this recipe made three bowls) :

    Three boneless, skinless chicken thighs cooked
    Three tbsp low-sodium barbecue sauce
    Four cups romaine lettuce, chopped
    3/4 cup black beans
    3/4 cup fresh corn
    1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
    One tbsp ranch dressing mix
    One tsp lime juice
    Three extra tbsp barbecue sauce

    Cut up cooked pieces of chicken thighs and  mix with three tbsp barbecue sauce. Build your lettuce, beans, corn, and chicken.

    Mix Greek yogurt, ranch dressing mix, lime juice together. Spoon one tbsp on top of each bowl, Add more barbecue sauce if needed. Top with cilantro.

    The chicken thighs were very good in this dish! Try it for a good lunch one day.

    Oven Cooked Chuck Roast

    Sundays are a busy day for me because I am Pastor Chef (like Master Chef, get it? Nevermind.) So we try to find something that would be full of flavor but yet easy to make. Now the focus is the roast in this post, and I must say the roast turned out perfectly. It was so moist and tender I almost wanted to eat the fat. So here is what I did:

    One Thick chuck roast, cut in half (I will cook the other half another day)
    1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
    1/2 tbsp black pepper
    1 tbsp garlic powder
    1 tbsp paprika
    2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

    Take your dry seasonings and coast each side of the roast evenly.
    Sear both the roast in a cast iron skillet on medium heat for five minutes on each side. Add Worcestershire sauce to the pan, not the on the meat. 
    Add vegetables if you like and put in a 200 degree oven for five hours.

    When I cut into the roast after that time and that low temperature the meat was very most, and very tender, but not the mushy tender you get after it has cooked in a crock-pot all day. The flavor: Wonderful!

    However I do recommend that you cook the vegetables separately or add more liquid for them to cook. I feel a higher heat setting would be good for it.

    And there you have it! This roast was awesome! Did not need any sauce or anything to flavor it up. And by the way, the fat does melt in your mouth!