Sunday, January 29, 2012

menu 1.29 - 2.4

lunch - out after church
dinner - stuffed baguette (recipe found on pinterest but i will be changing it up a bit, naturally)

leftovers on our own

cheesesteak chimichangas

chicken cordon bleu soup

pizza night: we still have two groupons to one of our favorite takeout places to use by mid-february, so we're having pizza out :-)

slow cooker thai beef (new recipe)

lunch - pigs in a blanket
dinner - sausage ravioli lasagna


Saturday, January 28, 2012

it's a great day to cook for the guys

anthony had two friends spend the night last night after playing games well into the early am hours.  i'm making brunch for them in the midst of their gameplay, and basically being a complete slug on the couch downstairs, catching up on my dvr...

i babysat last night and have another job tonight (yaaaay extra monies!) and tomorrow is church, etc.  anything more exciting going on in your world?  

honestly, i'm quite enjoying the weekend with little going on since the next two will be spent in a more normal fashion -- superbowl gathering next weekend and entertaining out of town guests the next.

have a good one!


Friday, January 27, 2012

recipe of the week: bbq chicken (irish) cheddar pitas

anthony found this recipe a few months ago, and we decided to try it
it's definitely an easy recipe, very quick (less than 30 minutes start to finish)

i was pleasantly surprised by how much i liked it the first time!
however, the only way i could think (on the fly) of how to prepare the chicken before shredding was to boil it
and i HATE boiling chicken

so this time i did a couple of things different

barbecue chicken cheddar pitas
2 chicken tenders for each person eating
bbq sauce of your choosing (we have a split household between sweet and spicy, so i always make two batches)
1 cup (or more) shredded cheddar cheese (i used dubliner, so not a true cheddar but even.more.amazing)
3-4 stalks of green onion
1 pita for each person eating

begin by grilling (in a grill pan over med-high heat) your chicken strips in barbecue sauce until they are fully cooked

 shred the cheese (i used all but a small chunk of the package)

 shred the chicken.
(i decided to try what i had seen on pinterest, and found out that it works well!  using the paddle on the kitchenaid, you can perfectly shred chicken in less than a minute!  the exclamation marks just begin to show my excitement about this...)

 place chicken in mixing bowl
 add cheese and green onion
 more bbq sauce if you wish
 and mix together
 cut the pitas in half using kitchen scissors
 and top each half with the chicken mixture
 heat oven to 400゜and bake for 8-10 minutes
 serve up
add more bbq sauce if you like.  smiley face because of your excitement about the dish optional (anthony)


i've linked up with "feed my family friday" again over at farmgirl paints.  go visit her blog (click the button)!

feed my family friday 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

thursday's ten: currently

i ran across this post on one of my favorite blogs last week, and just had to use it sometime.  what better time than for thursday's ten?

currently listening on repeat to
mostly pandora stations, but the new Jesus Culture album gets my attention each time.  may have to be my next purchase with those gift cards i got for christmas!

currently planning to cook
in the next two weeks, new (to me) recipes will include slow cooker Thai beef, a stuffed baguette, gyros, bacon and caramelized onion tart, and some sort of garlic cheesy bread

currently reading
the lost symbol (dan brown)
and a book that i'll be reviewing here soon: close enough to hear God breathe (greg paul)

currently discovering
how incredibly handy my food processor is.  i use that thing at LEAST every other day.

currently catching up on the trend of
big bang theory.  we started watching season one on new year's eve and are now partly through season 3. if we didn't have to do silly things like sleep we'd probably be caught up to the current season!

currently organizing
guest rooms and closets.  of course, the pantry/kitchen is ever-ongoing

currently dreading
cleaning out the garage and storage room or as they are known around here the "just put it in the..." areas

currently drinking
the usual suspects of water with fresh mint, daily coffee and the occasional stevia sweet tea, soda stream or diet coke.  we've also discovered the carbonated zevia drinks at whole foods are are liking them too

currently desiring
a juicer...a good blender...more toms...uggs...a north face jacket...and lululemon yoga/dance pants

currently creating
mischief?  i've been more creative in the kitchen than with jewelry or other crafting lately, but i think it's time to make a few fun pieces, even if they're just for me :-)

what's currently going on with you?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

hey, it's ok (tuesday) 1.24

hey, it's ok not be surprised in the LEAST that paula deen has type 2 diabetes.
...(but to not blame it on the butter and heavy cream.  those are real foods at least, unlike the processed crap that southern cooking is full of.  done with the soapbox now). not get the pioneer woman worship.  i mean, yes, her recipes look good (and taste good from the one or two i've had) but why does everyone flock exactly? (seriously, can someone explain this to me?) be sad about seal and heidi klum splitting.  out of all the celebrity marriages, they seemed so much more grounded and solid be writing this list waaaaaay late have copycatted (kind of) a favorite dip from trader joe's to avoid having to buy it so often.  way cheaper this way! (i'll share the recipe soon, promise!) be a bit tired of the schizophrenic january weather in tn.  tornado warnings twice in the last 5 days?  and temperatures fluctuating between the 20s and the high wonder we're all sniffling drink way more water now that i have my OWN pitcher in the fridge (with fresh mint leaves in it).  it's amazing what a slight bit of fresh flavor will do! realize that you've used (a whole lot) of parenthesis in one blog post. (oh well)

(please visit amber's blog and post your own list of things that are ok)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

menu 1.22 - 1.28

- lunch: bbq cheddar chicken pitas (recipe to come, likely friday)
- dinner: anthony is cooking, hamburger helper is the rumor

- on our own

- takeout with our friend natasha

- pastrami sliders (new recipe...will post if it turns out good!)

- pizza night! this week i'm changing it up a bit and making buffalo chicken stromboli.  i'm tweaking the recipe slightly though, so watch for changes on how to make it healthier!

- he's having a guys *weekend* so i'm not sure what they're doing.  i'll be having food at the house i'm babysitting at, so who knows?

- i'm making brunch and dinner.  brunch is tbd (likely several things since there will be hungry guys around), but dinner will be chicken burgers with garlic rosemary mayo


Saturday, January 21, 2012

it's a great day to basically be a slug

we had friends over until late last night and slept in this morning
which was a nice change of pace

in 2 hours i'll be leaving to spend the night at the house of the family i nanny for.  they're going to a hockey game, but he's surprising her with a fancy dinner before and a hotel downtown after.  i get to hang out with the kids while they have their getaway. :-)

tomorrow will be another lazy day once i get home...which i'm very much looking forward to.  hope you're able to relax and have a wonderful weekend wherever you find yourself as well :-)

much love!

Friday, January 20, 2012

recipe of the week: gnocchi w/wild mushroom soup

otherwise known as "the ragu that turned into a soup"

perhaps because i put in the whole can of tomatoes instead of the cup asked for?
who knows.  i do know that i liked it as a soup, so chances are that's what it will be in my house from now on.

here's the recipe as i made it :-)  (the original is here if you want to try it as a regular old ragu)

Gnocchi w/Wild Mushroom Soup

olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced,
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 pounds mushrooms, stemmed and diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed and diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (i used the 365 organic brand from whole foods)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp of ground coriander (or 1/2 tsp of coriander that you grind yourself in a mortar and pestle because you refuse to go buy one.more.spice)
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (see above)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon dried)
2 packages of good-quality gnocchi (i've had great luck at trader joe's and whole foods)

heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat
add onion, carrot and celery and cook until soft (about 5 minutes)

add 1 pound of the mushrooms and cook 3-5 minutes

season with salt and pepper, then push to the edges of the pot

add more olive oil and the additional pound of mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes

add the cremini mushrooms and cook 1 additional minute then season with salt and pepper

add the tomato paste and cook while stirring for about 2 minutes.
add the wine and cook down for about 2 minutes.

add the tomatoes, water and spices and simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes.  meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to package directions.  

serve by putting gnocchi in a bowl and ladling the soup over it. fresh parmesan on it won't hurt anything.

i loved it.
anthony, who is not much of a tomato OR mushroom person finished a bowl.

so, this is going down as a girls night or "i'm on my own" type recipe.  
(he did mention he would probably like it better with sausage...but we have my tortellini minestrone soup for that...)

(today i'm joining in this link-up since friday is generally when i post my recipe of the visit this blog and link to one of your own if you like!)
feed my family friday

Monday, January 16, 2012

monday's memory: the one that started long before me

the little town i grew up in didn't have much diversity
and so, how this little white girl from farmland, usa
ended up with such a heart for inner city families from seemingly the other end of the spectrum
is truly God at work

but i did
i flirted with working in other much wealthier and prestigious systems
but knew for my teaching career
i would be happiest where i could pour myself into those children

i cried on my way home from work
for the first several weeks
because i could go home
to a cozy apartment on the lake
and these children?
were stuck

they didn't ask to be born into this
and yet...they were in their own way happy

i fell head over heels in love with those kids
and the next group, and the next
students joined my choir and gave me the utmost respect
who were nightmares for every other teacher in the building
they told me it was because i was different

i smiled the only time a student told me i was "racist"
because the rest of the statement was "toward white people!"
(at that point i reminded her that i too was white...
and every other student in that multi-colored beautiful classroom
burst into laughter)

i began to see Martin Luther King in a whole new light
and while so much of his dream, his vision
for equality and harmony
have been realized

so much of it has not

so here's to today
where we stop comparing other social injustices and issues
to the Civil Rights movement
because there is still much to do

most of my friends of every nation and color are in the same socioeconomic class as i am
it just so happens that most of the circles i find myself in these days
don't include the stark poverty that i immersed myself in day after day as a teacher
(and let's get this clear: i taught poor white kids too.  they are included in this
after all, MLK's message of inclusion and equality
wouldn't exclude them either.  right? :-) )

and i have to be honest
that while i know that i'm right where i'm supposed to be
i do miss being able to invest in that community

please don't hear that the other social injustices
the awful problem of homelessness that consistently tugs on my heart strings
the despicable treatment of portions of our population by people bearing the name of Christ
the abuse that spouses and children suffer at the hands of those who claim to love them most

please don't hear me say they don't matter
because they do

but a significant part of my heart is with my former students
and the families and homes they represent
what a beautiful heritage and culture of overcoming
may they truly overcome
the stigma, the poverty, the desperation

may God raise up more people who will invest and nurture these children
their parents and their grandparents
and let them know
that the dream is still alive

i'll dream that dream...
will you?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

hey, it's ok (tuesday) 1.10

hey, it's ok plot your next cooking adventures with a friend all morning leave the baby in her pajamas until noon on a chilly dreary day.  i mean, it's not like we're doing anything.  i'd be in my pajamas if that were possible! be hopeful that swagbucks earnings can pretty much fund at least half of christmas this coming year.  i have a plan, y'all. (and seriously, if you haven't signed up for swagbucks it's the easiest thing ever.  if you click the link above and sign up i get a referral! and i'll be glad to share my tips and tricks :-) plan your meals out monthly.  it actually helps me budget wisely for groceries and eating out.  and so far we've come in under budget for groceries since we've been married so *something* is working. be glad that my regularly watched shows are now spread out over several nights.  no boring evenings in the kitchen -- i can just turn on the dvr! eat ramen and kimchee at any opportunity, which for me means when i'm at home for a meal and my husband is nowhere around.  he can't stand cabbage, much less the fermented spicy stuff! not be able to resist creamy goodness.  my boss had ranch sour cream dip AND french onion dip in her fridge last week.  she had a bit less after i spotted them! be planning to somehow re-create one of my favorite dips from trader joe's. i'm tired of spending the money on it AND running out quickly.  ha.  i'll share it if it's successful. apparently be hungry as i write this since over half of my points have to do with food.  so i suppose i'll sign off and go make lunch!

(visit amber and share your own list)


Monday, January 9, 2012

menu (1.8 - 1.14)

i'm not home a lot this week, so we won't be eating like royalty, but it is what it is.  right?  right.

thai coconut curry soup -- a pinterest find that my friend natasha and i cooked together.  we also made thai tea...yummy!

leftover night: tomato basil soup for me, along with a grilled cheese or something resembling that.
also, we're planning to pull out the breadmaker tonight and actually make some bread.  i may be begging for help next week, or sharing what we all depends!

quiche -- my friend laura is coming over and we're making it together.  i'll post my standard quiche recipe (which actually came from her) here eventually...

on our own (i'm babysitting...i think he's doing hamburger helper)

pizza night--we are going OUT or at least getting carryout

on our own (i'm babysitting again...)

bbq cheddar chicken pitas (which reminds me, i need to post that recipe! i have a lot of those to post apparently...)


Saturday, January 7, 2012

it's a great day to tell you about my word for 2012

i've been doing this word of the year for awhile now.  and it's interesting to see how it's built.  i think you'll see a bit of a theme if you read word of 2009 was bless, 2010 was give, 2011 was more and this year just kind of builds on that!

i had no idea there was a "oneword" organization out there, but i think it's awesome that there is!
i've always felt that God gave me my word.  and this year is no different.

it was pretty easy to grasp "bless" and "give".  but as God stretched me and taught me more about himself the words have begun to be a little  when i heard "more" last year, i was a little off-put at first. after all, it sounded kind of i wanted MORE of something.  and i did...but not in the traditional sense.

(and boy did i have more!  more of all that was on that list...and even MORE.)

this year is one of those words that seems off-putting.  i struggled with it for a few days, to be honest.  and then when i met with my cell group girls tuesday, everything just kind

you see, the word i've been hearing over and over is lavish.
i even tried to change it up.  "extravagant" sounded good, and i could get behind it.  you know, loving extravagantly, being extravagant with my time, etc, etc.

nope.  the word (He said again) is lavish.

and when i was chatting with my girls about the root of that word and realized a few things, it made a little more sense to me (although i am SO looking forward to finding out why He's been so insistent on this word!)

even webster's description of the word is rich: check it out if you like

you see, LAVISH is what Mary did when she annointed Christ (in john 12.1-8).  the pure nard that passage speaks of was not only considered a lavish gift, but some translations speak of her lavishing her gift on Jesus

others who loved Jesus even criticized the lavishness--the expense.
but Jesus stopped them and praised her for the extravagance.

oh that my life will be so full of lavish praise, adoration and acts of love and devotion
that even others who love Jesus will think it strange

oh that He will equip me to be lavish with my time, my giftings and my gifts to others
that i will be filled with wisdom
but that i will be unapologetically lavish in what i do, what i say, how i serve.

i've no doubt that i will receive some lavish gifts from my Papa...after all, He's done it over and over for me

but i'm excited
because i get to be lavish this year
and i have no idea
what i'll be saying in 2013!

do you have a word of the year?  please share!

Friday, January 6, 2012

recipe of the week: (rerun.revamped.revised) vodka pasta

i've posted this recipe before, here.

however, i've revised it and made it better as far as we are concerned...PLUS i have pictures this time around :-)

lora's vodka pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pound hot (spicy) italian sausage (this is quite important!)
1 cup vodka*
1/4 cup chicken stock*
2 28 oz cans fire-roasted italian tomatoes (i use one can of crushed and one can of diced)
seasonings (salt and pepper, italian seasoning, etc) to taste
1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream
1 pound pasta (i prefer a small penne for this recipe)

(*this is the ratio: if you want a thicker sauce go with 3/4 cup vodka to 1/8 cup chicken stock)

heat a stockpot or large saucepan over moderate heat.  add olive oil, butter, onions and spices.  gently saute 3-5 minutes and add garlic
saute another 3 minutes and add sausage to brown. 
 add vodka, and reduce for 2-3 minutes.
 follow with chicken stock and tomatoes and any additional spices you may want to add.  bring sauce to a bubble, and then simmer for about 20 minutes.  i always use this time to prepare the pasta.
 after the pasta is cooked, add the cream.  stir into the sauce and return to a slight bubble, then serve.
and enjoy!