Goodbye.

Six years ago I embarked on the journey of sharing my thoughts, emotions, and life with you across the vast blogosphere. You have been beside me through broken hearts, questioning my future, career transitions, rediscovering my faith, lost friendships, the joys of milestones, and planning an entire wedding. You have witnessed me fail. You have lifted me during my lows. You have cheered my successes, and you have encouraged my growth.

Uncorking Peonies, once Peonies ‘n Mint, began as a method to express my feelings and muddle through some of my darkest moments. Throughout the years, I have cried many tears as I typed the words kept within the digital confines of this blog. Then it became a fun endeavor of tracking our wedding planning and entering the newlywed lifestyle. Now, though, I struggle to find a direction for Uncorking Peonies to focus.

Additionally, as a new year comes and goes, I have taken into account the priorities in my life, and — being the anxious person that I am — the weight of wanting to write consistent posts has laid heavily on my mind while the busyness of life continues around me. With increasing work responsibilities, home obligations, personal development goals, marathon training, and the desire to find stillness every day, some past passions must be let go. The spark for my most in-depth pieces has been snuffed by a stronger flame of happiness and contentment. Life is good, but sharing my mundane daily habits was never the purpose for this blog. Its purpose, I believe, has been achieved. In its own little right, Uncorking Peonies paints a picture of loss and grief, and the various avenues it took to overcome those dark places and the people who and methods which assisted me along the way.

With this consideration, the time has come for me to say goodbye to this beautiful little reminder of God’s grace and His bigger plans (and sometimes unanswered prayers) along the way of becoming who I am presently.

So to all of you who have stopped by my little corner throughout the past six years, thank you for your valuable time, thoughtful words, and sweet messages during this journey. I am forever indebted to you for allowing me to escape my shell and share the sporadic thoughts of a wine-loving Michigan girl stumbling through her twenties.

With all my love, cheers, my friends,
Ashley

Savory Sundays: GF Pesto Shrimp Fettuccine

Being forced to eat a mostly gluten-free diet has been a challenging yet enlightening experience. Sometimes I choose to suffer the consequences and indulge, but most of the time I behave and search for GF options. Thankfully, many GF substitutions don’t have a drastic taste difference — except for GF pizza crust, I canNOT seem to find one that I enjoy yet. Sigh.

One night a few weeks ago I was craving seafood. I debated running to the store and grabbing some cream to make homemade Alfredo sauce, but decided to utilize some ingredients in the fridge. And here was my creation!

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Savory Sundays: Spanish Chicken Over Caulirice

G and I are challenging ourselves to a No-Spend Month this June as we have some big travel plans later in the summer and have completed a number of house projects since the New Year. (One project was unexpectedly necessary when I opted to put my hand through one of the basement windows. Thankfully I’ll only suffer a scar or two from the accident… oops!)

We do not typically spend a lot of evenings eating out anyways, but we do treat one another to a Date Night once a week. Instead we’ll be attempting a few trickier recipes at home which, in all honesty, I am ALL about! Nothing excites me more than adding a new page to my personal cookbook, especially when it includes spending time with my husband.

Challenge accepted.

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Savory Sundays: Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

I attempt a new recipe about once a week, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. About a month ago I came across a recipe for shrimp tacos and decided to give it a try. WOW! G and I both fell head over heels for these spicy little delicacies, and we now eat them at least once every other week. They are quick, easy, and way too good not to share.

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Friendsgiving 2018 Menu

Thanksgiving is a traditional meal — gotta have that green bean casserole, amirite?! But Friendsgiving has become a fun new tradition G and I began last year. This year had to be a much more intimate affair due to all those home improvements and limited amount of time to plan, but it was still a great time. We used the time for enjoying more delicious food and even better community.

Talking about food, I wanted to provide some praise for our menu this year in the form of a post. I could go into detail about how to plan your own Friendsgiving or games/activities to play at your own dinner, but I think those topics are too difficult to cover. I mean, you know what works best with your friends’ group and can Pinterest tons of ideas. Instead, I’m going to focus on the dinner table.

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Savory Sundays: Goat Cheese Holiday Truffles

G and I had a great Thanksgiving break. We traveled down to Indy and spent the day with G’s family. Our brother and sister-in-law also came from Iowa with our four-month-old nephew, and we were both in heaven. We absolutely love that little turkey, and any text/Snapchat/minute we’re able to have with him is a treasure. There is quite a bit to be thankful for this year, but little Z is definitely at the top of our list.

Another big blessing this year is our new home. With all our in-progress improvements, we decided to host an intimate Friendsgiving and game night. I love hosting these kinds of parties, but could only handle a small gathering this year with everything else happening. So we asked four of our friends to join us in a night of great food and better fellowship — and our hopes were over-filled! I’ll share our full menu in a future post, but I have to share this new and awesome recipe with you, friends. It is the perfect holiday appetizer, and makes a great breakfast too — trust me, I’m munching on it right now as G and I enjoy our pre-church coffee. Mmmm…

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Savory Sundays: Blueberry Almond Salad With Feta

August is right around the corner and that means my favorite fresh fruit season is about to strike in Michigan: blueberry season! I have grown up eating pounds and pounds of those delectable little berries, and as I’ve gotten older and “more mature” in my palate, I look for various ways to incorporate my favorite fruit into different recipes.

Today’s Savory Sunday is a simple one. But it is also a top contender on my healthy summer meal plan. Dark green spinach, plump blueberries, sharp red onions, crunchy and salty almonds, and rich feta cheese all mixed together for a happy, healthy meal. This salad is packed with lots of nutrients and antioxidants! Plus my homemade dressing adds just enough tang to make you wanting more once your bowl is gone.

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Savory Sundays: Cilantro Lime Shrimp Scampi

Anyone remember me mentioning all those supplies I bought for mosquito repellent candles in my Lemon Rosemary Chicken recipe? How about my goal to eat less grains in my post with the Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes? Well, here is a dish that makes the most of both! The left over limes from my would-be candles and low-carb zucchini noodles make this recipe healthy and satisfying. Two things I love to pair together!

G was craving some shrimp this week and scampi sounded good to me. However, I wanted to use up some ingredients I already had in the fridge and pantry. I also didn’t want to go full out Cheat Meal mid-week by throwing the buttery shrimpers on top of some noodles. So I improvised and wooh-la! Another meal to find permanent residence in our cook book.

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Savory Sundays: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I am not eating many grains so I am limiting my consumption of breads, pastas, and rices, as well as staying away from white potatoes. That means I am attempting to be as crafty as possible when it comes to carb-infused and starchy foods. Cue the riced cauliflower, zucchini noodles, and sweet potatoes!

This particular recipe caused some hesitation with me. I love buffalo chicken and I love sweet potatoes, but I am not a fan of mixed foods. (I’m that person who cannot have her food touch. I even have a special separating tray at my aunt’s house to use at holiday gatherings. Ha!) So contemplating eating this slow cooker buffalo chicken inside a sweet potato had me debating my life choices.

Then I tried a bite and my world changed.

This recipe is unbelievably tasty. The spiciness from the hot sauce and the sweetness of the potato make for a dynamite flavor! G and I already looking forward to the next time this little dish is made for dinner.

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