Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little Mysteries

Just when my tears were falling deep enough to drown
Down in the valley of the shadow of a doubt
When I gave up that’s when He came to lift me out 

and set me high.

When I saw it as a gift of matchless worth
I started thinking it was something I deserved
He pulled the rug from underneath without a word

and left me dry.

Piece together these little mysteries
It isn’t hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball. 

He gave them freedom and a fertile promise land
They took for granted their deliverance at hand
Thirty-nine years later they’re still walking through that sand
Wondering why.

And He builds it up, and He knocks it down
Just to build it up even stronger. 

~Jill Phillips, "Wrecking Ball"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cooking this week (part of it, that is)

I had quite a break from cooking for various reasons over the past week.  I'm now sort of ready to jump back into menu planning again.  I have been browsing Pinterest for recipes as well (whether that's actually a constructive use of time of not, I'm not so sure).

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (or wraps, in our case) with fresh spinach.
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Squares - for breakfasts, and because I had 2 rather nasty looking bananas that I hated to throw away.
(Two Pinterest recipes tried in one day.)

Black Bean Soup
(Using chicken broth left from cooking the chicken for the chicken Caesar sandwiches and some kale "broth" I have in the freezer... It's not that I'm a tightwad, honest.  It's just that I hate to throw away good nutrients.)

Chicken and rice?...maybe with Italian tomatoes and seasonings?

Leftover black bean soup

Warm Lentil Salad

[I am not a fan of the "new" blogger...I've already switched back to the old once, and I don't think I can do it again.  Oh well, I'll get used to it.]

Monday, April 16, 2012

I've been tagged.... Leah for one of these things... And hey, why not?

The Rules:
1. The first rule is to post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 things about yourself/your life .
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you’ve tagged them.

So here goes:
Post a photo of yourself and 11 things about yourself/your life.

1. I thought Mollie's question 11 about which way the toilet paper roll should be installed was funny. I know this is one of those things people feel strongly about, but I don't even pay attention to which way I'm putting the roll in. I may regularly insert it one way or the other, but I have no idea. What does this say about me? Do I want to know?
2. I like to cook (and bake).
3. I am an introvert.
4. I grew up raising sheep (that's the "I can't think of anything else interesting about me" fact that I used growing up for things like this).
5. I like to write, especially research papers.
6. I can't stand the movie Sleepless in Seattle (and no offense, but I don't understand why it's such a favorite:)
7. One of my favorite hymns is How Firm a Foundation.
8. Just because I'm not saying much in a group conversation doesn't mean I'm not enjoying myself. I like observing and listening.
9. I enjoy hosting people and hospitality (though that doesn't mean I don't stress about it beforehand!).
10. I do not really like bananas. I will eat them if they're handy and that's all the fruit I have, but I don't enjoy them at all. I don't like banana flavoring and I don't like bananas in baked goods (though again, I will eat it if necessary). Have you noticed that everyone seems to like bananas? Banana smoothies, banana bread, adding bananas to random baked goods, banana "ice cream" (sorry, but it's NOT the same thing)... "Healthy" baking recipes almost always include bananas. Ok, rant over. I guess I'm missing out on a lot.
11. I love history (and economics).

Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
Leah's questions:
1. What is your favorite pair of shoes? My sneakers, for sure.
2. What kind of car do you drive? A 1995 Volvo- old cars are great!
3. How would you describe your style? Casual? I'm not really sure.
4. What is your favorite color combination? Brown and teal, or khaki and teal.
5. What would you have for dinner tonight if you could have anything? A Chipotle steak burrito bowl hit the spot tonight.
6. Walk or run for exercise? Walk (or elliptical trainer for a more serious work-out)
7. Most treasured possession? My engagement ring
8. Favorite vacation memory? So many...maybe hiking and the views at Arcadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME.
9. If you were having a daughter right now, what would you name her? I don't know. Pass?
10. Favorite way to spend an evening? Reading or taking a walk.
11. Favorite song? I always have trouble picking a favorite anything. I have groups of favorites. I don't even have a favorite singer or genre. It depends on the mood I'm in. Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson, Aslan by Kendall Payne, Lady Antebellum, Sara Bareilles, Michael Buble and the list goes on...

Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.

1. Favorite vegetable?
2. White, milk or dark chocolate?
3. Do you have a favorite author (or book)?
4. What would be your ideal vacation?
5. What was the last movie you saw in theaters?
6. What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
7. Name one thing you miss about childhood.
8. Name one character in a favorite movie or book with whom you particularly identify.
9. Do you use lists (to-do, menu planning, etc.)?
10. Creamy or chunky peanut butter?
11. How many spaces do you put after a period when typing?

You're tagged: Amy, Mandy, and Gretchen, but I completely understand if you choose not to do this and/or don't have time!

Friday, April 13, 2012


A 2 pound bag of chopped, pre-washed kale jumped into my hands during a quick stop at the grocery store. It just looked so good! And it was only $3.29. It's use-by date was April 10, so my challenge was to use it up by then without getting tired of it. But who could get tired of dark, leafy greens?

I did pretty well. It is now April 13, and I used the last of it for supper (it was fine despite being past the date).

Here's what I did with it:

1. For Warm Lentil Salad with kale, I multiplied the dressing recipe by 1.5. It didn't have quite the kick that the original I made a couple weeks ago did, but I also ran out of red wine vinegar and had to sub with white vinegar, so that could easily account for it. I added the kale (several large handfuls) in with the lentils and dressing, and cooked it until wilted. Very yummy.

2. Scrambled eggs with kale- several times

3. Kale sauteed with garlic in a little olive oil as a side for pasta with chicken, feta, olives and tomatoes.

4. Mediterranean Kale- lemony but good.

5. Pasta with Philadelphia Cooking Creme (I had a coupon) pesto flavored, a big bunch of chopped asparagus, diced leftover ham, salt/pepper and thinned out with a little pasta water- very good. It reminds me of the few times I've eaten at Noodles and Co. (I wish there was one local, but it's probably just as well there isn't). I probably won't be buying the cooking creme much, if at all, in future, but it was really good.

I'm not going to rush out and buy another bag now, but I will certainly be buying it again at some point. It's fun experimenting with new recipes and newish ingredients.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life, randomness, and meals this week

I have a new nephew! How cool is that?!

Today could be considered a typical Monday. Here's hoping Tuesday is much better.

It's amazing how much a particular song or type of music can bring back memories of particular times. When I hear songs from Rascal Flatt's first album, I am still brought back to summer mornings spent compiling the 4-H club's historian's book (aka scrapbook) for the fair (and that was quite a few years ago). At the moment I'm listening to Sister Hazel's music, and it's bringing me back to studying in college. Of course, the fact that I'm listening as I'm working on lesson plans relating to Constitutional concerns surrounding the War Between the States is helping with those memories.

Meal planning:
Ravioli (frozen) and pasta sauce-with kale either on the side or in the pasta: I can't decide if pasta sauce on kale would be weird or yummy. Thoughts?

Ham and cabbage (aka Easter leftovers) probably with kale, possibly with leftover bread or sweet potatoes, or something.

Ham, asparagus and pasta: I had a coupon for some of this stuff so I bought it on a whim. I think this will be a good way to try it out.

Lunches- leftovers
Breakfasts- hard boiled eggs

P.S. I didn't find a sale good enough (plus the potatoes didn't look very good) to restock my sweet potato supply. I have one sweet potato left in my Thanksgiving stash in a paper bag in the pantry.

P.P.S. In case you haven't noticed a trend, I've been cooking a lot of kale. There is a post in the works about that, which I may or may not end up posting.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Country Grits and Sausage Casserole

I made this for a gathering of a few friends on Saturday, and some requested that I share the recipe. Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law for sharing it with me!

2 c. water
1/2 c. quick grits, uncooked
3 1/2 c. shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 pound sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained

Bring water to a boil and stir in grits. Return to boil, reduce heat to low, and cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add cheese and stir until melted (of course it looks and tastes delicious at this stage...I love cheese grits).

Combine eggs, milk, thyme, and garlic powder and stir well. Gradually stir in 1/4 c. hot grits mixture, stirring constantly, to temper the eggs. Add to remaining grits mixture, still stirring. Stir in sausage.

Pour into lightly greased 11 by 7 baking dish. Cover and refrigerate if needed. To serve immediately, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set. Garnish with tomato wedges and parsley sprigs, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.

I reduced both the cheese and the sausage a little, because of the amounts I had, and I didn't think the final product was missing anything. I also used 2% milk cheese and skim milk. This is a great, hearty breakfast (or other meal?) casserole.