Friday, September 21, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership

When I was in college I grabbed this book before a mission trip to NY.  
Knowing that I'd have 24 hours on a bus made me think I could read the huge thing...and I did.  I totally enjoyed the book.

Fast forward to this year when I heard that Gen Powell had written another book (somehow I missed the book between these two) AND about leadership - I knew I had to read it!

The book has some great nuggets about leadership that anyone can read and apply.  There are a LOT of references to the Army, but given that sector was his life for so long doesn't make that too surprising, but it did get a little old.

This is a good leadership read.  Is it one I'll buy for my bookshelf?  Probably not.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's Cookin Wednesday

This meal started with another "What's in the fridge & freezer" kind of conversation.

Here's what I used:

1/2 cup quinoa (already cooked)
1 cup black beans with chili powder (already cooked)
4 LARGE mushrooms, sliced
3 handfuls of fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 link chicken apple sausage
6 grape tomatoes - cut in half.

I put a bit of olive oil in a skillet and let it heat up. Add the sausage, mushrooms, onions and spinach and let them sautee for a bit.  Add quinoa and black beans and cooked until warmed through.  Add the grape tomatoes and stir until blended.

Spoon into bowls and eat warm.

This won't win any awards, but I enjoyed it!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pin to Check - No Bake Energy Bites

If you hang out in the blog world you've by now heard of Pinterest...maybe even already spent too much time on Pinterest!  If you're like me you pin lots of things to "do later".  Well - there's not time like the present to do things!  So I'll be taking things from a pin to a check mark off the to do list.

I'll be trying to post something bi-weekly that I've found and done on Pinterest.  Some (maybe most?) will be food, but some will be DIY, crafts and things we'll use at The P.

So for my first submission I tried making a cookie that some called a healthy no-bake.  Well, if you know me you know that a no-bake cookie is one of my favorite cookies - so I had to try it!

Original post is here:  so give her some love.

Here are my ingredients (minus a bag of in-flight peanuts I found in the cabinet after I snapped this photo)

1 cup Quick Oats
1 tsp Vanilla (yes, I know it's imitation...I think I lost the real stuff in the house move)
1/3 cup Honey
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Flax
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Mix it all together in a bowl (get creative and add other stuff too: dried fruit, nuts, coconut).  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

These were yummy!  I had some issues with them staying together so I'll add more honey next time.  Since I rarely have milk in my house (a main ingredient to no bakes) I'll make these again.  Since I don't need many sweets...I won't be making them often ;-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

What I'm Reading Now - Whistling in the Dark

This is the story of Sally O'Malley and her family.  Her family includes her sister Troo, older sister Nell, her mother, stepfather, grandmother and uncle.

From the book:
Sally O'Malley made a promise to her daddy before he died. She swore she'd look after her sister, Troo. Keep her safe. But like her Granny always said-actions speak louder than words. Now, during the summer of 1959, the girls' mother is hospitalized, their stepfather has abandoned them for a six pack, and their big sister, Nell, is too busy making out with her boyfriend to notice that Sally and Troo are on the Loose. And so is a murderer and molester.

Highly imaginative Sally is pretty sure of two things. Who the killer is. And that she's next on his list. Now she has no choice but to protect herself and Troo as best she can, relying on her own courage and the kindness of her neighbors.

I didn't like this book and I think it was mainly because of the subject matter.  I got the book and started it - then had to return it to the library - and got it again.  I spent the entire book just feeling sorry for the girl.  She's got her sister/best friend and is trying to form relationships with adults, but there is no one there to help her navigate life.  I will say that this book had twists that I didn't expect and ends differently than I thought it would....but it was a hard read for me (even though it was fiction!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's Cookin Wednesday - Quinoa Burrito Bowls

I can't remember if this started with a "pin" or an email, but here's where I got the inspiration:

You can see her recipe following that link - below is how I made it.


1 cup
 quinoa        1 clove garlic, minced
        2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp chili powder (mild)

        Plain Yogurt        Mixed Greens        Grape Tomatoes        Guacamole
        Red Onion

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer or sieve, drain.

  • I make my quinoa in the rice cooker.  Usually 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water....SOOOOO easy! (here are stove directions: Pour quinoa
  • into a saucepan along with 2 cups of water. Bring the quinoa to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the pot. Let the quinoa simmer for about 20 minutes till it becomes tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.)

  • Put a smidge of olive oil in a skillet - add the minced garlic to the pot and let it saute for 1-2 minutes longer till aromatic.
  • Add the black beans to the pot of garlic along with 1/2 cup water and chili powder . Bring the beans to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Let the beans simmer for 15 minutes till the liquid is mostly evaporated. 
  • When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. 
  • Assemble your burrito bowls. Divide the quinoa between four bowls.
  • Top each portion of quinoa with 1/4 cup of mixed green.
  • Top each portion of lettuce with simmered black beans.
  • Top the black beans with the rest of the toppings
  • Serve warm.

  • Servings: 4

    I ate this for dinner the night I made it, was good.  I ate it the next day for lunch, was good.  I'll def be making this again.  So easy and so easy to just throw in whatever you have available (hello corn!  how did I forget you?!)

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    What I'm Reading Now - Born to Rise

    I admit - I am intrigued by our educational system and I love NYC.  So combine the two and your book becomes a must read!

    Deborah Kenny decides to open a charter school in NYC - I think her main goal was to allow teachers to really teach.  Not to the test and not with every class having the same curriculum, but using their own style and motivation to help kids excel (at one point during recruiting she says she's looking for the "All-Stars").  She decides to start in Harlem and actually visits Geoffrey Canada's school.  But her main source of inspiration and encouragement comes from heads of charter schools around the country.  She talks about the legal hoops she jumps through and about working in her living room with her 3 kids helping her.  She talks about the politics of the entire school system (NYC & beyond) as well as the politics it takes to get grants.

    She gives a lot of focus to teachers and letting them kinda guide both the school and the classroom.  So while there are rules and expectations of the kids when they come into the school - a lot of what the emphasis would be was decided on by the teachers.

    She doesn't talk a lot about parent involvement (until the teachers push to keep the parents more informed about what's going on with their children) or about community involvement (except when then Pres Bush came to visit).

    An interesting view on education from a teacher driven standpoint.  From this book I don't feel like she focuses on the whole picture (good thing her teachers help round it out!), but I think there is nothing negative about making sure kids know how to read and behave when they graduate!

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    What's Cooking Wednesday - Fried Rice

    Fried Rice!

    For some reason - I have a lot of mystery meat in my freezer.  I think the reason is that I made stuff in the crockpot, but it was too much for one person to eat and so I froze it.  So I've been pulling it out of the freezer and trying to decipher what it is and use it.  I also seem to have a lot of rice that I must have bought at one time for "fancy dishes".  So what does one do when they have random rice and meat?  Make fried rice! (but you already knew that didn't you?)  Seriously - I think that as long as your rice is prepped ahead fried rice is one of the easiest dishes to make...and help you clean out your fridge/freezer.

    I used 3 cups of cooked and cooled rice, 1 egg, 1 cup of "mystery meat" and random veggies in my fridge in freezer (I just eyeballed this, no exact measurements).

    I started by scrambling the egg in the skillet.  I then moved it to the side and added sesame oil (you could use veg oil as well, but I like the taste of sesame oil) and the rice.  I cooked the rice until it was kinda crispy (see the bottom right of the above pic?....oops) and then added the veggies & meat and brought the egg back into the mix.  Cooked it until the veggies & meat were heated through.  I added dark soy sauce (cause that's what I had on hand!) and it made the rice brown ;-)

    Turns out the mystery meat was some SPICY beef.  Once I tasted it I remembered making it.  It worked for this dish though.

    Overall, fried rice is a go to dish for me.  It might even surpass pasta as the made in a hurry dish for me....we'll see.