Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's for dinner?

Korean Pancakes! Our house was so very nicely gifted this packet of Korean Pancake mix:
The bad thing is the directions aren't in English! I knew I could figure out the water to mix ratio, but what do you put into a Korean pancake? (it's not a breakfast pancake). One visit to our closest Hmart on a day they were sampling said pancake solved the problem! We got veggies and some seafood variety (I didn't ask because I wasn't sure I wanted to know all that was in it!) and put it all together.

Cook it up:


*Next time we will chop up the seafood a bit more so everything can cook a little more uniform. The pancakes were a bit too doughy. And maybe add kimchi!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's for dinner?

Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes (2 cups)
1/2 tsp EACH sugar, chili powder and cinnamon
8oz dried rigatoni
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 3oz pkg. cream cheese, cut up
2tsp Asian chili sauce (Sriracha)
1 Tbl soy sauce
6 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450F. Oil a rimmed baking pan; set aside. Place sweet potato cubes in bowl. Toss with 1 Tbl olive oil, the sugar, chili powder and cinnamon. Spread in prepared pan; bake 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.

In saucepan combine peanut butter, cream cheese, chili sauce and soy sauce; whisk in 3/4 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir over medium heat until heated through. If too thick, stir in additional water. Stir in most of the green onions. Serve sauce over pasta with sweet potatoes and remaining onion.

I didn't have sweet potatoes, so I made this with regular potatoes. I liked the potatoes - and I liked the sauce, but I didn't like them together. Maybe it would be better with sweet potatoes, but next time I'll just take the potatoes out and do the pasta with the spicy peanut sauce.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wally Plant Walls?

So in perusing blogs today I read about a system called Wally. It's all about making a wall of living plants.

I think this library wall is kinda cool.

Or as and entry to your house (or maybe that's a porch).

Interesting concept - you can read more about it here (all the pictures are also from this site.)

I've been thinking about an indoor herb garden for the winter, but am worried about the light - so this project intrigues me ;-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pantry is done....

for now ;-)

When we moved in I liked the size of our pantry, but even looking at it I knew I'd make some changes. Within the first month I hated the shelves. They're so deep that things get lost in the back!

So after a few months I had enough in the budget to buy some brackets and pull out the drill. I'm currently loving the change. I might mirror these shelves on the left side if we start to stockpile more. I do have room for a few more shelves on the right side.

**believe it or not NONE of that pop is mine! ;-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Friend Will

I've been thinking about my friend Will this week as Tuesday would have been his 39th birthday. I'm sure it would have involved karaoke and a night that went toooooo late for me!

Then today I ran across this video:

This song will always remind me of Will - he was always singing it to me! I miss you buddy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh the Light Brite!

I loved Light Brite when I was a kid. One year someone even brought one to a white elephant exchange and I really hoped I'd get it (I didn't). But this video reminds me of the good old days of light brite....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Panhandling = seize the moment

My commute to work takes me through (what I consider) the southern border to downtown ATL. Normally I cruise to work - other fly past me - and laugh at everyone headed north. Sitting still, moving at 5 miles per hour. Sometimes there is payback (like my trips home on baseball game days), but rarely in the morning. Today was different...I had to call in to say I would be late (I'm normally around 10 minutes early). From what I could tell someone flipped their car on our ramp onto "the connector" (learning the lingo). Usually I drive this thinking about breakfast. Why? Because every morning I see people waking up from sleeping under the bridges. This is new - they weren't there over the summer. Seriously it's like Labor Day happened and a whole community sprang up. I wonder where they were before. I see them clumped together like neighbors or families or small communitites. I think about bringing bags of breakfast foods or sandwiches.

Today I chuckled as a few of them woke up early...and sat with signs for the traffic that wasn't moving. One man was sitting on a crate and waving and smiling at everyone. Another man just held up a sign. A few were still sleeping and some just beginning to rise for the day. I drove away wondering how many people rolled down their window to share with these guys...and how many will think about them throughout their day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chicken Pitas!

I made grilled chicken pitas the other night for dinner. Just a little of this:
(Thanks Julia!) on some chicken that I cooked on the George Foreman. Then we stuffed it with lettuce, cucumbers & tomatoes (bought from a guy on the side of the road and GOOD), feta cheese and onion. Some of us also put sour cream on it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sharper than a double-edged sword

This week at church the preaching passage was from Hebrews chapter 4. A chapter I'm familiar with - not super familiar, but familiar. You might know this part (starting in verse 12) "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,". That's the part I knew, but we read on "it penetrates even to dividing soul and spriit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." When we read that part I just thought "wow". The teacher went on to say that this part meant that God redefines us from the center - from the core of our being.

But I literally was thinking about the Word of God. You know those times when you think the preacher is preaching just to you? When you are convicted or encouraged or simply reminded of something? When I think about the Word of God being active and judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart this totally makes sense. Of course God's word will jump out and speak to what our heart & mind are going through!

That's my thought for today - nothing too deep, just a subtle reminder of how God speaks to us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Found a place for my pictures!

I just realized that I never posted photos of my finished picture hanging. As you might remember from here I was trying to decide where to hang some pictures. They are hung!

And now I need to go somewhere so I can add more to my collection! :-D

Friday, August 13, 2010

Escapin to the Islands Mon

It's Friday! And one of my co-workers has just returned from the Bahamas. So he brought us all rum coconut cake! One wiff of this stuff left no doubt that it was soaked in rum....but you couldn't taste it because of all the coconut! (I'm pretty sure that he only felt this cake was acceptable at work because he's French and feels like we should also have wine with lunch! ;-))

I ate, savored and pretended I was sitting on a beach....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A new twist on a "southern delicacy"

First - I just found out that these are made in Chattanoga - so I guess that makes them a southern treat?

When I was a kid - I LOVED moon pies. It was a toss up between chocolate and banana. All that waxy goodness...mmmmm. Since moving here I've also see strawberry (eww) and peanut butter (too scared to try that one!). This last weekend I found the one above: both crunchy AND minty...hmmm.

It was yummy! More cookie and less marshmellow than the original. The package told me to "try it chilled!". So when I got home I put it in the fridge to cool it's still there waiting for me to try it as a tasty treat!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's for dinner? Egyptian Koshary

My friends Sean & Sheyenne recently went to Egypt to visit her parents. I loved looking at their pictures while they were gone and reading about their adventure! A couple weeks ago Sheyenne posted this recipe that was a meal they had had in Egypt. If you know me, I was pretty excited to see rice, lentils AND pasta in the list of ingredients (with that many carbs it HAS to be delicious!) I quickly learned that Sheyenne wasn't lying when she said she used every burner on her stove to make this. Here are the pans I used!

2 cups rice
1 Tbl vegetable oil
3 cups water
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cups dried lentils
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can chickpeas
3 Tbl white vinegar
1 can diced tomato
1 can tomato sauce
2 ½ tsp cumin
Dried friend onion

1. Start by stirring rice into the vegetable oil until it is all coated. Add 3 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20 – 25 minutes.
2. Cook elbow macaroni as instructed on box.
3. Add one cup of lentils to two cups of boiling water (salt the water a little bit while it’s boiling). Cover and reduce heat. Cook for about 15 -20 minutes, or until they are the desired consistency.
4. Heat up a can of chickpeas
5. Add the onion/garlic chop to 2 Tbl vegetable oil. Cook and stir these for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown.
6. Once the onions are browned, add white vinegar.
7. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and cumin. Shake in some salt and fresh ground black pepper. Let the sauce come to a boil, then simmer for about 12 minutes.

Start with a layer of rice, then add the pasta. Add fried onions, chickpeas and lentils in separate lines on top of rice/pasta (or experiment in your presentation!)

Finally, add the sauce to the top. You can put the sauce in a bowl and just spoon some in on each bite if you prefer.

I LOVED the crunch of the onions in each bite..and I almost skipped this ingredient because I didn't have it on hand! Very filling and very yummy - which is good, because I'll be eating it for lunch for the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Design "dilema"

So I have all these pictures from my travels - they make me happy to have them around many memories. But I don't know where to put them!

Here are my options:

The window is in the middle of the wall - so there is more room on the right.

I also expect this collection to grow (I even have a few I'm just waiting on frames for!) Thoughts? Suggestions? There is one other option:
I could start filling this hallway.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's the shelving reveal

So as stated in the earlier post - I found 3 black bookshelves on the side of the road on Saturday (free!). While I was waiting on the roomies to help me load them a lady pulled up. We nicely gave her one of the shelves (and helped her load - cause they were heavy!)

Here is part of my inspiration for what to do.

And here is the start of mine:

KTL snagged the other one and did this:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garage Sale Finds!

Finally got some good stuffs at sales this week!

Been looking for these for awhile...

I'm going to make these into napkins. I also got a 12 pack of Diet Coke for $1 at this sale (crazy!)

Check out one of the photos I got in the frame....this is who supplied my coffee in Brooklyn! Crazy!

And my best find was free on the side of the road on my way home. I had to call for help loading. There were 3 of them total, but another woman came while I was waiting for help. So we helped her load one in her car. These are higher grade than Ikea/Wal-mart. But now I need to figure out where to put them....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finally done!

Finally found some material I liked for curtains. I had been looking for dining room curtains for awhile and was amazed to find they were going to cost $70-90 to buy!

The material for these was on sale: $35!

The room before curtains (or a table or anything else for that matter!)

And with curtains!

I still have some work to do in this room...but it getting there for now.

Have you seen it?!

The new penny that is. I don't now how long I was carrying it around before I realized what it was. But it's SHINY! I'm surprised that we're making pennies in the midst of a recession. A coin that costs "us" more to make than it's worth. And that no one uses... but it's here!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cooking with Quinoa

Once I got used to the texture, I really started liking quinoa. I like my pasta kinda crunchy and quinoa kinda seems like the pop-rocks of pasta. Last night I made this to have for lunches. One of the things I like about quinoa is that it's good hot or cold (can't say the same all the time for pasta). I like this recipe because you don't have to cook the quinoa on it's own before adding (one pot!)

Quinoa and Black Beans

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until lightly browned.

Mix quinoa into a saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in frozen corn into the saucepan and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The sky scrapers in my life now.....

So small....and do you see the St Louis Arch in that one? weird

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I went to an Atlanta institution recently - Eats! Hey - when you live with 2 lifers, they know where this stuff is at!

I got all that food for less than $7. (All that food = I should have had leftovers....). The food was YUMMY! The "free" corn bread should be skipped to leave room for the delicious part of the meal.

The place is by Home Depot, Whole Foods, a nail place and a car wash. Yup, pretty soon I'll be making a full day of it here :-D

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our house gets a make-over!

I plan to post more pictures as I get stuff done, but only one project is complete...and I didn't even do it!

One of the things that KTL HATED about the house was the exterior color. Dwin and I were like "eh, whatever". We've had this amazing guy working on our house for about a month. His main priority was the structure of our house, but he's shored up our deck (which needed some reinforcement), added drainage to our garage (dad, I'm sure your jealous...I should've helped him and learned!), painted most of the interior, added a back splash to our kitchen and fixed Dwin's bathroom. (I'm telling you - the guy is pretty awesome). On Thursday he mentions to KTL the outside color and says, "pick a color and get back to me in a day or 2." In 10 minutes, he had picked the color (ironic for me because I"m on day 5 of staring at those little paint cards to pick a bathroom color).

By the time I got home from work on Friday the first pass was done. Yesterday, they finished up and did the trim. It seems like such a dramatic change!



I promise there is more to come - as time and money allow (I'm trying to stick to my budget!!) And yes, I know I need to work on the front flowerbed, but there is talk of replacing the front porch (floorboards) so I'm waiting...but I COULD trim those bushes!

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's for Dinner tonight?

Tilapia Baked in Couscous


* One 10-ounce box couscous
* 1/2 cup slivered almonds
* 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* Salt and pepper
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus 1 lemon, thinly sliced
* Four 8-ounce tilapia fillets
* 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine the couscous, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and cumin and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the 1/4 cup olive oil and the lemon juice.
2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the tilapia fillets in a single layer in the dish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cover the fish with the couscous mixture and arrange the lemon slices on top. Pour 2½ cups water around the fish, cover with foil and bake until tender, about 25 minutes. Top with the parsley.

Easy peasy and mmmmm, mmmmm good!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We got a grill!

it looks like this
(I think, you can tell the boys picked it because I can't even remember!)

I'm looking forward to making potatoes and chicken and grilled corn and kebobs. KTL is looking forward to inventing the best signature burger and I'm sure Dwin will cook up something that neither of us would order in a restaurant.

The inagural cooking was a burger. Here it is in all it's glory:
Yes, that is a portabella mushroom on the top. I think I'm gonna like the summer! :-D

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jewlery "Art"?

I've been struggling with how to store/display my jewlery since I lived in NYC. When you have very little space you have to determine the best way to do everything! Not long ago I saw a framed jewlery option on a blog and I thought "I can do that!". So last weekend I gathered all the necessary things and put it all together:

I haven't quite figured out what color I want my room to be....but it will include soft colors, so I snagged this material from my mama.

I like having all my jewlery somewhere I can grab it or easily see something that matches what I'm throwing on in the morning. Not sure I like the overall look. For me it seems a bit cluttered. And yes, I do wear most of what you some point.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diana, A Celebration

Or rip-off.... I really wanted to see this while it was in Atlanta. So Sunday morning off I went! I thought I'd save money by buying my ticket there (as opposed to online from Ticketmaster). Imagine my surprise when there was a $1 surcharge added to all tickets bought at the ticket window.....?

The Exhibit is 4 large rooms and 4 little (ie. 1-2 cases on display). I read everything (except 1 case of childhood "stuffs" that was causing a bottleneck) took me 45 minutes to get through.

I'll save you $20 and tell you to read all the tabs on the above web-site.

Some highlights (cause I HAVE to find something good in it!):
Wedding dress - it was pretty cool to see in person. I overheard one couple discussing in the room prior to the dress.
Woman: "Did you see the dress"
Man: "yes"
Woman: "How did it look?"
Man: "old"
That made me chuckle! It did look old (lets face it, 1981 style is not "in" currently!), but it also had hints of antique features which I found interesting.
There was an umbrella to match ("in case of rain") and that made me laugh because have you seen the train on that dress? No umbrella was going to keep it dry! Interesting fact about the dress: Diana's mother paid $1,900 for the wedding dress AND all the bridesmaid/flower girl dresses...for some reason I expected that number to be a LOT higher!

The dresses gallery - I did enjoy this. Checking out hemlines and whether I thought her waist stayed the same or got smaller. There was a description about each dress and who made/where she wore it. I remembered a lot of them from photos. I also met a guy in there who had seen Diana in one of the dresses on display. It was neat to hear his story.

Overall = disappointment. But at least 10% of the profit is going to the Princess' Charity. I guess that's slightly redeeming (although I bet if they put a collection box in the exhibit they'd make bank!). The gift shop was also disappointing. Not sure if they don't have the rights to do much with her name, but everything was related to her childhood home (Althorp, where her brother currently resides). And they were out of stock on most things. One thing I thought interesting was the lack of mention of her boys. I saw 2 pictures total of them (there might have been a glimpse of them in 2 videos). Maybe it is the family respecting the pledge given at her funeral to try to let the boys be normal. But if that woman really loved those boys as much as everyone says, wouldn't it be natural to make them a prominant part of this exhibit?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting NYC this summer

Loved this article!

People on the streets of Manhattan can be easily divided into two groups: New Yorkers who want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, and tourists taking a leisurely stroll through the city. New York is overrun with out-of-towners year-round, of course, but it gets worse every spring and summer with throngs of people coming to check out the big buildings and go to M&M World. And while we want visitors to NYC to have a wonderful and comfortable time here, spend lots of money, and tell their friends to come too, we also want them to get out of our way and not make our lives a living hell.

If you're planning to visit New York over the next few months, here are a few simple lessons you should keep in mind so you don't run the risk of accidentally pissing off a New Yorker.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
It's Called a Sidewalk

That's right, not a side-"stand there and look at a map" or a side-"slow down and look at the pretty buildings." If you come to a full stop on the sidewalk, you're going to interrupt the regular flow of traffic, which means people will run into you or be forced to go into the street to get around you. So just don't stop. If you really must, do it someplace out of the way, like next to a lamppost or bus stop or some other structure that pedestrians are going to have to avoid anyway.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Two at a Time

Now that we've got you moving along at a clip, please don't walk more than two abreast at any given time. On small sidewalks, there is no other option, but even in areas with huge walkways, large groups of slowly moving people are a bitch to get around. Please don't make us play a game of reverse Red Rover.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Right Is Right

Just like the tourist lane crafted by that creative prankster, it's important to always stay out of our way. The easiest way to do that is remember that slow traffic should stick to the right—it's just like those giant freeways running through your yard. Follow the same rule when walking up subway stairs, when confronted with another person coming at you, when arguing with Jo-Dean about whether or not she should buy that top she saw in the window at Express. Always stay to the right. This is part of the unwritten contract that all city dwellers have to abide by. We're letting you in on it. You're welcome.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Know Your Place

We want tourists to experience as much of the city as possible. But you also need to leave some of it for us. All of Midtown, especially between 42nd and 59th Streets between Fifth and Eight Avenues is yours. Enjoy it. There are lots of fun (overpriced) things to do. But stay away from Ninth Avenue. The people who live there need places to eat, too. The South Street Seaport? It's all yours. So is the Statue of Liberty. And Ellis Island. You also get the line in front of stupid Magnolia Bakery and anything else associated with Sex and the City tours. Go wild! You can have all of Soho—but only west of Broadway and east of West Broadway. Clog the Apple Store, window shop at Prada, get a cute pair of earrings from one of the ladies on the street. However, leave the boutiques to the east of that—like in Nolita—to us. We like to shop and you are only making it harder. We're going to have to share Uniqlo, but going on Saturday is idiotic, so you can have fun waiting 30 minutes to try on a puce polo shirt. We can also all share Central Park. It's large enough for everyone. As for Brooklyn, don't even try it unless you have a native guide. That place even confounds Manhattanites, so you'll be totally lost.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Ask for Directions

Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are quite nice and we don't want you to get lost. (Nor do we want you hogging the sidewalk to look at a map—see above.) So ask for directions and you'll find that usually the person you ask will hook you up. Even on the subway people will tell you which line to take and which stop to use, and they're usually a lot easier to understand than whatever garbled nonsense comes out of the mouths of the MTA robots housed in those little kiosks. It's a sense of pride for New Yorkers to know the best way to get everywhere, and they don't mind sharing. But don't ask for recommendations. That's what a hotel concierge is for and we're not letting you spoil our favorite spots.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Get to the Show Early

Anyone who lives here who enjoys theater knows that any show, especially of the Broadway variety, is going to be packed with people who just got their stubs at the TKTS booth earlier that afternoon. We're glad that you're culturing yourselves. However, we suggest you get to the show like an hour early and stand in line. People who live here know you can just breeze in 15 minutes before the curtain, but we're not going to tell you that. The reason we can stay a little bit longer at dinner or work is because you all get there so early so the line isn't too bad when we want to show up. This is one "ugh, tourists" behavior that is actually great for New Yorkers so keep it up!

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Don't Bother with Ground Zero

We know you want to pay your respects and that's nice, but the museum isn't built yet and the whole area is just a giant pit full of a bunch of cranes. It's not much to look at and taking pictures of yourself there is a little bit creepy. So don't go out of your way. But if you want to poke your head in on your way to Century 21, go ahead. God knows we always do.

Left-over Saturday

I'm getting into the groove of cooking during the week and then eating the leftovers for work lunches and to get through the weekend. Tonight I'm eating this:

Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach, and Feta

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 (6 to 8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous (or orzo)
1 shallot, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
6 oz baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge with flour, shaking off the excess.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well-browned on the first side, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer (6 to 8 minutes longer).

3. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add 1 tbs more oil and the couscous to the skillet; toast over medium heat until light golden (about 2 minutes). Stir in shallot, 2 tsp. of the garlic, 1/4 tsp. of the lemon zest, and 1/8 tsp. of the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

4. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente (8 to 10 minutes).

5. Meanwhile, whisk together 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice and remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

6. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, into the skillet and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Off the heat, stir in the feta and remaining lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide couscous between two plates, top with chicken, drizzle with lemon juice mixture, and serve.

Makes 2 servings

And it is sooooo yummy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dinner tonight!

This was so yummy that I have to share even if I have no pictures (sigh). The camera is charging for the trip home to visit my 1 month old niece!

Mom’s Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta
1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.), diced
1/4 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
5 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a large pot of water to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, salt it and cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and simmer with the chicken until it’s fragrant and begins to turn golden – about 3 minutes.
Add the salt. spinach and white wine to the skillet and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. Toss the contents of the skillet with the pasta and place in a casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings.

I added some diced tomatoes - cause I had leftovers. It was juicy and probably wouldn't have been without the tomatoes (meaning just like I like my pasta!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who you honkin at?

About a week ago I got honked at and almost chased down by a Canadian goose. I was just walking to my car at work...the bird started after me at FULL SPEED. I jumped in the car and waited for it to calm down. On Monday I knew why:

Can you see the little babies on this side of the fence?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tamale Pie

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo - I made a crock pot recipe of tamale pie. Unfortunately I was so hungry that you only get to see a picture of the leftovers (it doesn't look as pretty as it actually did when I made it!).

Tamale Pie

Cornbread topping:
-3/4 cup cornmeal
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 t baking powder
-1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)

The Filling.

-1 lbs ground & browned meat (optional)
-2 can drained and rinsed black beans
-1 can fire roasted tomatoes
-1 can drained corn
-1 T chili powder
-1 t cumin
-1/2 t paprika
-1/4 cup diced onion
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

The Directions.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the filling ingredients--cheese, too!-- and stir well to distribute the spices. You will not be able to stir this again, so please check to see that the spices aren't in a clump anywhere.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. When finished, pour evenly over the filling, spreading with a spatula if needed.

Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours or on high for 2-4.

Makes 8 servings

I made this with just the beans. I DID forget to put the cheese in with all the goodness and put it on top of the cornbread. Made the cornbread a bit mushy. Next time I'll put the cheese where it belongs! I'll also add some jalapeno peppers to the cornbread batter.

Churches + vounteering with kids = win/win?

I ran across this article in the Cincinnati paper last week: I don't know if I feel stronger about the article or the comments that follow. But given that I feel like I "know" the kind of folks that leave comments on sites like that, I'll focus on the article.

1st - the writer notes that out of the 130 letters that were sent out, 30 people showed up to listen to what was said. That's 23%. I know that's not great in the business world, but have to tried to start anything in a church/non-profit setting with just volunteers responding to a form letter? Not too shabby in my opinion.

2nd - "There are few formulas for helping the youth of this or any other city that do not rely on churches, temples and mosques to be part of the solution." I find this to be an interesting observation/statement. Maybe I'm just jadded from my recent city dwelling, but I rarely hear anyone saying that the solution to problems in the inner-city will require help from the faith community.

The statement above really excites me if it is the true belief of those doing good works in our inner-cities. But it also scares me - will the church step up and help? Sometimes it's easier to just do a once a month event than to invest in the daily life of someone else. I think that this woman has a point when saying that she thinks there are people that want to help, but don't know how. But maybe she should walk to one side of the city and talk to my buddy Roger and talk to him about how his ministry could partner with hers to impact the city AND draw in those from faith communities.

Oh and faith folks, don't go in expecting to convert someone. Build the relationship, help folks where they are now. Don't hide your faith, but don't make it front and center - most of these folks are struggling with how to live on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Once you help them start figuring that stuff out - you've already developed a relationship that will lead to other conversations.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saw this video today:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Which if you haven't seen this:

- it's what they copied.

This is interesting to me - because who is the target audience? Do you show this in a service (and then match what you've just made fun of?) Do you show it and hope that visitors find it funny and not just downright confusing? Nice production - but this gets a "boo" and "why?" from me. (I might change those things if I find out who the audience is and that the church didn't waste budget money on making it.....)

Friday, May 7, 2010

We're in!

G and I are both moved into our respective "new" houses and both have our bathrooms on a separate floor than our bedrooms (hey, that's how it was on Lockwood Hill for most of my life - we're used to that!)

I'm swimming with ideas on how to decorate, what to paint, where to hang which piece of art, etc. And it doesn't help that now with the blogging world everyone can put their cute projects up for me to see! I got a sewing machine from E-bay this week, so I'm sure that will play a part in the decorating (as soon as I'm done with H's baby gift!). Struggling with "need" to fill the house and make it homey and trying not to "fill" the house...I miss the Borrow Group from Church!

Need to get my driver's license (which appears to be nice and consumer friendly) and new tags (which does 7:30am - 4:30pm week days).

Also traveling the next 2 out of 3 weekends (so watch out NKY, Philly & NYC!)

Gotta get back to actually sticking to my budget.... Glad that my commute is mostly interstate miles.....

Job is going well...even if my boss is from Jersey. Everyday he makes me chuckle to myself.

Praying for Will...

Friday, April 30, 2010

A friend of mine is sick, very sick. And it's hard to be this far away and only get scattered info (although some of my friends have been EXCELLENT at keeping me in the loop). I think and pray about him constantly. His body really needs God's healing touch. But I've been hearing this song a lot lately on the radio and every time I hear it I think of my friend. W - you are in God's hands. I know that these past couple of years you have tried to live your life as a reflection of Him and now so many people are seeing Christ through you. I love you and I'm praying for you buddy!

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who's to Blame?

I just finished this great book by Bill Hybels. (Don't worry Hulia, it's being sent to Bklyn!). There were so many things about leadership that were caused me to want to give the man an "amen!". I spent most of the book nodding my head in agreement. I read this book in less than 2 days (it does help that my boss has been out of the office for that length of time and there is nothing for me to do....). It was a good & easy read. Although it could have offered some great "stop and journal" times too.

One section that really hit me follows. Hybels is talking about making sure that you are leading/work at a pace that is sustainable.

"The truth that we all have to accept is that the only person who can put a sustainability program together for us is US. Month after month for 15 years I was overscheduled and my life was out of control. Deep down I kept wondering, "why aren't the elders rescuing me? why aren't my friends rescuing me? don't people see I'm dying?"
Finally the voice of self-leadership whispered the truth in my ear: "It's your responsibility to devise a sustainability plan and stick to it everyday.""

Wow! These words are not just true for the pastor/leader, but so true for everyone who is setting out to do the will of God. We have to set a sustainable pace! We can't expect to be building our relationships if we are spent after a period of time. So in this time of flex and Way Open Schedule, I will begin to formulate my sustainability plan (don't worry, it's been in the works for a few months ;-)) because I can't return to unhealthy places I've been.

If anyone is already doing this (maybe you don't call it this), I'd love to hear what you do. Whether it's scheduled time of solitude or going to get a pedicure weekly or reading a "fun book" one weekend a month. Whatever - I'm open to hearing what works for you.