Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

I’d like to think that I am a fast learner when it comes to cooking and while I have tried and conquered some difficult recipes, the meals with the simplest ingredients are always my favorite!

Today I will be sharing a Honey Garlic Chicken Stir Fry recipe that is so easy and full of flavor.
You more than likely already have all the ingredients at home too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon & 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 2 cups of broccoli (You can use fresh or frozen  vegetables or even a “Stir Fry Kit” you may see in the frozen section of grocery stores.)
  • 1 lb. of boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cubed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet and add the broccoli and carrots and cook until the vegetables are tender.

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Once fully cooked, remove the vegetables from the skillet and place them on a plate or in a bowl and cover.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and season the cubed chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Cook until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

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Remember to mince your garlic and then add that to the chicken while it browns for about 30 seconds.

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Add your vegetables back to the skillet and cook for about 2-3 more minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the chicken broth, honey and soy sauce together and then in a smaller bowl, mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water. (The cornstarch will help with the texture.)

Pour the soy sauce mixture into the skillet and cook for about a minute.
Next, add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, cook until the sauce has thickened.

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Serve with white rice if desired and enjoy!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Midway Mark

Javier and I have been engaged for three months now and I feel that since we are at our midway mark, I can share a few details and plans.

Wedding Planning:

We have planned to have a small and intimate wedding in September with our ceremony taking place at our Kingdom Hall and a small dinner with family afterwards.
My family has been a very big help with everything and Javier and I cannot thank them enough.

Yes, I have my dress and no, no one has seen it.

I have already had my first bridal shower that my Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid hosted for me and it was beautiful!

Just about everything has been paid for or almost paid off, hand picked, ordered, delivered or being custom made.

We have registered at Target and Walmart.

I am so fortunate to have a partner who has been so supportive throughout this planning process and who has taken the initiative to pay things in full on his own.

Time has been requested off for our honeymoon which if you follow here you will know that Javier and I plan to road trip all around Texas in my camper. Yes, I know it’s not ideal for everyone but I am living out my dream of being on the road, even if it’s only for a few weeks.

We sent out Save the Dates to our family and friends out of town, actual invitations will be sent out in July. Again, it will be a small wedding and only our family and closest friends will be invited and we hope and pray that everyone respects our decision.

Home Life:

For awhile now, Javier and I had discussed our living situation in regards to our financials and spiritual goals. We prayed, studied these articles and started to look at different properties and homes. While it was fun actually looking at homes and imagining the possibilities, it was also stressful talking with realtors and looking at our budget.

We came to the conclusion that if we invested into a home right now, that we would more than likely have to pick up a side job along with both of our full time jobs in order for us to pay a mortgage, renters insurance, pay our utilities, maintenance work, groceries, our vehicles, full coverage insurance, etc.
While we both have held down two jobs before, we realized that not only would it take us away from each other but more importantly it would take us away from Jehovah.

A home for now is on the back burner and while I still would love to own one someday, “I am trying to make sure of the more important things.”

We then discussed apartments but I have never really liked the idea of living in an apartment.
I was very fortunate to grow up in the house my parents still live in and I was privileged to have my own room, my own bed, my own things, even a yard to run around in so the idea of leaving my home for an apartment, did not really sit well with me.
I know it works for other people and I’m sure apartment living is not terrible, it just scares me.

In case you didn’t know, I live in my own little house on my parents property. It’s a little bigger than a Tiny House but still small. It is completely separate from the main house and tucked away on the side and towards the back of the property.
It has a small porch, living room, a bathroom, a small dining area, kitchenette, an A-Frame bedroom and now a storage room.

I’ve been renting the house since 2011 and it’s been perfect for me all these years.
When discussing our living situation after marriage, I mentioned staying in my little house to help us save money since rent would be affordable and we would not need to work two jobs each, that it would still be close to his current job and his family and above all, that we would be able to reach our spiritual goals together.

We are so blessed that my parents have not only provided us somewhere to live but that they have gone above and beyond and have built an additional room which is now a storage room for all of mine and Javier’s things.

My home has been furnished for years now but with Javier moving in soon, I wanted to make the home ours.
Our first big purchase together was a couch which is now set up thanks to Javier!
We have bought several other pieces since then and since our storage room is now finished, we have been building, cleaning, and unpacking in our casita.
Slowly but surely everything has been coming together and we are so happy and excited!

Thank you for reading,

– R. Vargas

My Vows

 

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I have been dreading this post for a very long time now. Even though things worked out, some of the memories and hurt are still raw.

I wish I could say this was love at first sight.
I wish I could say this was from a fairy tale.
I wish I could say that this has been the most happiest experience in my life.
But I can’t say any of those things and once you finish reading, you’ll understand why.

Javier and I have always known of each other from meetings at our Kingdom Hall but we did not actually befriend one another until seven years ago. We instantly became best friends and spent so many good times together.
As best friends, I saw the good, the bad, the ugly, the heartbreak and disappointments Javier faced. I remained by his side through it all.
Whether it was personal, girl problems, or just needing to vent, I fondly remember staying up and sacrificing my sleep just to assure him things would be okay and that I was proud of him no matter what obstacle came.

As the years passed by, I grew close to his family to the point of where I felt like a sister. Sometimes people even mistook me for being a Garcia and not a Vargas.
As the years went by, our bond grew closer and our foundation for friendship was never stronger. In my eyes, we were strictly platonic and there was never anything more.

I had been asked, questioned and even teased about Javier having a crush on me but I never suspected anything because he was just a good friend. The way he treated me, he treated all his female friends. At least that’s how I viewed it until it was brought to my attention that Javier placed me on a pedal stool in comparison to his other female friends.

I started really paying attention to him and how he treated me, how he talked to me, how he introduced me to his friends and coworkers the few times I stopped by and I didn’t really notice any significant changes but after meditating on things and really dissecting previous actions Javier took, I started questioning things too. I put those thoughts in the back of my mind and ignored them.

Then one day everything changed.

I prayed because I didn’t want our friendship to change.
I prayed because I didn’t want our friendship to end.
I prayed because I didn’t feel the same way for Javier initially.
I prayed because I wasn’t in the right place in my life to even think about dating.
I prayed because I was scared and I knew that no matter what happened, nothing would ever be the same again.

Even though Javier initially tried to deny his feelings for me, he also felt he could no longer bear them in.
I felt very overwhelmed and dropped my phone and didn’t know what to do.
I snapped out of it and assured him it was just a crush and that since he was at a crucial age, things would change rapidly and so would emotions.
I guaranteed him what you want at 18 is not what you want at 21 and what you want at 25 is not what you want at 30.

From the beginning he was persistent that what he felt wasn’t temporary and that even though the timing wasn’t right and my feelings for him were not there, that maybe some day they would be.

We prayed together, we prayed individually and we came to the conclusion that we would speak to our parents to let them know that our friendship would come to a halt and why we no longer would be spending time together anymore.
We ended our friendship with the note that if Jehovah wanted this, wanted us together someday, that HE would make it happen down the road.

We agreed we would no longer hang out, text, call, take pictures, study together, or plan any future things and we didn’t have a designated date of when we would.
We even decided to not hug at meetings anymore and that if we happened to see each other, we would look the other way.

While I won’t go into too many details, know that after we expressed everything to our family, we had opposition on both sides. We even faced strong opposition from “friends.”

I was not baptized at the time, I was only an unbaptized publisher and had been for some time but was a few steps away from baptism. I was older than Javier. I was not the ideal candidate to date for my place spiritually and also emotionally. (I am not the most affectionate, expressive or loving type of woman.)

I had to face multiple people, very harsh words and abusive speech, judgment, ridicule and that’s not to mention the cold shoulders, silent treatments, ugly looks and disassociation I endured.
It was as if I was shunned.
Things got so bad that the very conversation of me getting baptized at the next assembly was pushed back and it was over a year before I could even bring up the subject again.

I went to meetings and carried on in life and felt like an outsider. I no longer was the bold, confident, strong Rocio I once was.
I was no longer wanted or welcomed with certain people anymore.
I was so discouraged spiritually, I even considered not studying anymore.
I got to the point where I really asked myself if I should leave the truth all together. (Keep in mind I am the only member in my family who is in the truth.)
I felt so alone and heartbroken.
I felt I had lost everything.

As if things weren’t difficult enough, I watched and heard through mutual friends that Javier was going on with his life. Partying, meeting other young women, growing as a young man and living a life without me and though it hurt, I had to let it.

I never wanted a relationship with anyone. I built my life revolved around me and my service to Jehovah. I never wanted to rely on any man for anything. It was not my desire to date or to be in love.

But why did I feel this way?

I cried nearly every day in 2015.
It was as if the tears I had saved up from all my years in life had finally been released.
I can’t say I’ve had a very hard life but I have gone through some very difficult hardships and even with those trials, my life had never been more of a mess with all that went on with Javier.
I was completely unstable and I didn’t know how to fix anything.

Even though Javier would try and speak with me at meetings, leave me little hints that he still cared, I felt I could no longer fight this fight.
I felt defeated.

Because of everything going on and the absence of everyone, I truly learned how to rely on God.
Never in my life had I talked to Jehovah so much.
From the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep, I talked to Jehovah.
In 2015, I really learned what it meant to feel Jehovah as my father, to be his child and to know that he felt every single emotion I felt and why I felt it.
I did not question why everything was happening, I just prayed for better days ahead.

2016

Not only did I publicly declare my life to Jehovah and get baptized in 2016, I was able to auxiliary pioneer and Javier and I were able to mend our friendship once again.
We did not rush into a relationship.
We had to yet again take more time to work on our friendship and make up for all the missed time.

The days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and months turned into years and it was evident to everyone who opposed that this was not a simple “crush,” they initially thought it was.

In 2017, Javier asked me to be his girlfriend the day after he turned 20.
In 2018, Javier asked me to share my life with him and finally asked me to marry him.

We have loved, we have lost, we have cried together, we have cried apart, we have dealt with negativity, we have overcame and we have had to do all of that and more to get to this point in our life.
Javier is my loyal love.
Just as much as I could have given up on him, he could have given up on me.
True love waits.

Seven years of being best friends, three years of being in love, over a year of courtship and one hundred days until we say, “I do.”

The lesson I can share with you all is that sometimes Jehovah gives us things we never knew we wanted. Things we could have never imagined in life if it wasn’t for him.
I fell in love with someone younger than me who has treated me better than anyone I knew my same age, younger and older.
I never wanted to settle for anything less than I deserved with anything in life and after years of cherishing my solitude, at 26 I live confidently knowing I did not have to settle with a partner for the rest of my life. Never settle.

While we will not read our vows at our ceremony, I wanted to share them here.

My Vows

“Javier,

We have come a very long way and Jehovah knows if I wasn’t serving him with a full heart, I would have never reached this day.
You are everything I never knew I wanted.
You have cherished me and accepted me for years and you saw my true potential when everyone else passed me by or never gave me a chance.
I will never know what you saw in me but I am so grateful that you did.
Life is very hard and this world is very cruel but you make my life bearable.
Our love is just that, o u r love. Just you and I.
I vow to not ever let anyone come in between it.
I vow to not give up or give in with things get difficult.
I vow to never forget our past and to keep enduring.
I vow to remain loyal to you.
I vow to give up my freedom and independence for you.
I vow to be your companion eternally.
I vow to never violate you or lose your trust.
I vow to serve my life to Jehovah with you.
I vow to love you for the rest of my days.
I vow to be your wife, not until your last day but until my very last day.
I vow to forevermore be crazy, stupid, and hopelessly in love with you.”

Wholeheartedly,

Future Mrs. Garcia

Date Nights in Dallas: Shakespeare in the Park + Giveaway

Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce a new series of posts to my blog with the theme of dates! This collection will include date ideas and date nights at home, on a budget, celebrating milestones and anniversaries and dates you can enjoy with your partner locally.

With an introduction to this collection, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY for TWO General Admission tickets to Shakespeare in the Park this summer! (That is a $30 value!)
I first discovered Shakespeare in the Park in 2011 from a very dear friend and since then, I go every year and have so much fun enjoying the show, the people, the scenery and just the culture. I want you all to enjoy it too!

What is Shakespeare in the Park?

“Founded in 1971, Shakespeare Dallas offers North Texas residents a unique opportunity to experience Shakespeare in a casual park setting, as well as providing cultural and educational programs to audiences of all ages.” – Shakespeare Dallas

What plays are showing this season?

 
“Join Shakespeare Dallas in celebrating our 47th season of The Taming of the Shrew and The Comedy of Errors in the summer and Othello in the fall!” – Shakespeare Dallas

Pack a picnic lunch, take some chairs and/or a blanket, and if you are older than 21, bring beer or wine to enjoy the show! If you have any other questions or concerns please read here.

In order to win these two tickets for you and your date, all you have to do is follow me on Instagram, like and comment who you would like to take on my post on Instagram and for bonus entries, follow my blog!

Winner will be announced this Friday!

With love,

– R. Vargas

 

 

milk and honey

milk and honey by rupi kaur

This is one of those books that everyone has heard about even if they haven’t read it yet. It looks like a book but it is a collection of poems and prose’ and actually became a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Without giving so many details away, the book is about hurt, love, loss, and healing. It discusses personal experiences and emotions that each and every one of us can relate to. Whether it is abuse, neglect, pain, heartache, betrayal, happiness, confidence, femininity, adornment, it is something I would highly recommend everyone to read at least once in their life.

It may make you cry, it may make you take a few moments to meditate on and it may make you blush but if you are open minded to reading a real and raw type of book, this book is for you.

If you have Amazon Prime, you may be able to download it free of charge and if you are like me and need the physical book, you can get a copy here.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from milk and honey:

With love,

-R. Vargas

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has always been my favorite go to at an Italian restaurant. I’ve always wanted to make it on my own but it’s one of those recipes that has always intimidated me. Recently I found this recipe of Martha Stewart’s online and decided to try it on my own with a little twist. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how amazing it turned out!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of Tomatoes, lightly pulse in a blender or food processor
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic Salt
  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (split down the middle) or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup of plain Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Directions:

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, the garlic, the crushed red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds.

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Add the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

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Lay the chicken breasts or tenderloins (I used tenderloins) on parchment paper or plastic wrap and season with some black pepper and a little garlic salt.
In a large prep pan, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Spread out to cover the whole bottom of the pan.

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Lay down as many chicken breasts or tenderloins as you can that will fit evenly. Make sure you season each side of the chicken and turn over completely coating both sides.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle 2 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and butter to coat the skillet.
Add some of the chicken and cook until golden.

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Remove and repeat process for the remaining chicken, adding a little oil and butter to the skillet as needed.
While the chicken is cooling, preheat your oven to 400°F and spoon some of your tomato sauce into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Layer the pieces of chicken and top with your sliced Mozzarella. Spoon over 1 1/4 cups of the tomato sauce and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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I also boiled spaghetti pasta to serve on the side with the remainder of my tomato sauce. So easy and delicious!

From my kitchen to yours,

-R. Vargas

#26

4/19/18

11:00 am
Helser’s on Alberta

Each trip I take, I think to myself, “Will this be my last?”
If so, I’m grateful for my years of freedom, for exploring, for my health and financial stability to allow me to come and go on this specific trip. Someday it will all be gone and even more sudden, it could all be taken away.

Today I turn 26 and as I sit here in a cafe waiting for the special I ordered and listening to The Supremes come in through the speakers, I thank God for my 26 years of life and the privilege of being a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and the most rewarding of them all, being an aunt.

I’m a few months away from taking on a new role as a wife and my life and my freedom as a single woman will change. Everything will change.
Maybe this will be my last trip as a single woman but maybe not my last trip period.

– Rocio A. Vargas