Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Remarkable Faith - Worship

Where to go with this one.
I will say I am always a bit amused when someone says, 
"I don't need to go to church to worship."
I'm amused because those very words have come out
of my mouth.
I think those who are a bit more mature in their faith
will understand my reaction. 

Perhaps amused is the wrong term.
Encouraged is better.
The good news is, that person realizes the
need for worship.
We are all on a journey. 
I am not as mature as I would like to think.
Thank you, God.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gnock, Gnock

You can call me Gnocchi or you can call me dumpling.
But ya don't have to call me pasta.
I crack myself up.
Anne Burrell made Gnocchi this weekend.
So I did too.
Turns out Gnocchi is a dumpling that can be pasta-like
or as in this case, little cheese clouds.
Think ravioli without the pasta.
Who knew?
It was a fun little process.
Finding the semolina was probably the hardest part.

You pipe the little balls as opposed to scooping or 
forming with your hands.
I think the reason is to keep from compacting the cheese. 
They really are just little fluffy things.
That being said, if you're going to serve these for dinner
and you're feeding a "manly" man, you may want
a side of MEAT. 
Mike's only comment was that he would really have liked 
to have had something to chew.

He cracks me up too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

That is New Information

Quick, name that Friends episode!
But I digress, already.
I was scouring the herb section at my local Meijer when
a friendly produce worker asked if he could help.
I told him I couldn't find the basil.
He offered to show me where it was.
Where it was was not in the refrigerated section 
along with the rest of the herbs.
He informed me that basil should not be kept in the refrigerator!

I came home and googled "how to store fresh basil"
and the fist link was purple, telling me I'd been there before.
It says you should refrigerate the basil.
But honestly, my basil doesn't last long at all.
So I give produce guy one more shot
and come up with this:

Here's the CliffsNotes on what it says:
In water, on the counter. 
We shall see, but my money's on produce guy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pearls Before Swine?

I have a couple of things to say about this.

First, shopping the bargain bins at
Barnes and Nobel's
is the BEST!

Second, when I don't know what to write about,
you're getting pearls from this!

Ah, pearls!
Pearl of great price
Pearly gates
which to choose........

Pearly gates, #964, yep it's in the bible
Revelation 21:21.
Pearl of great price, #407, 
Matthew 13:45-46.
It says nothing is of greater value than finding the kingdom of heaven.

Well, that and a great book deal at B&N.
....just kidding.....
 PS, pearls before swine didn't seem to make it into the book.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Name That Kitchen Tool Part 2

Not entirely certain
is the correct term.

Remarkable Faith - Funeral

I don't know that there has been a funeral
that has affected my faith so much as there
have been deaths that have affected my faith. 

A wonderful woman I had the honor of knowing
was dying and a friend commented to her how brave she was.
Mary's response was, 
"You have to be afraid to be brave."
Mary knew where she was going. 
She didn't need to be brave. 
Please Lord, give me that kind of faith.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Have Dish Envy

It's not good to covet.
Is it coveting if I want my own,
not hers?
I hadn't realized my preoccupation with tableware
until the day I noticed I had 5 sets of dishes!
And actually, now that I'm looking back, I do believe
I got up to 6 sets before I came to the belief that it was
bad to have so many and gave one set to Shanna and
sold another set in a garage sale. 
They were purple.
(The set I sold)
I miss them.
What was I thinking!?
The set I gave Shanna came from Germany.
In our luggage.
They have purple in them.
I don't miss them. 
I have visitation rights.

So, doing the math one would surmise that I am in 
possession of 4 remaining sets of tableware
and one would be right.
I think we should all be open to change. 
Nobody should be rigid.
We should reexamine things from time to time.


I'll deal with my covetousness or lack thereof
another day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Remarkable Faith - Wedding

Our Wedding
July 21, 1984
Our son's wedding
May 5, 2010

As much as our appearances have
"evolved" over the past 26 years,
so too has our love.
We have had our share of missteps (a two year separation)
but God has been faithful and He knew he started a good work in us
even when we didn't recognize it.

That's remarkable.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken and Waffles

Awful waffles.
Alright, don't judge but Honey and I have been intrigued
by the whole concept of Chicken and Waffles 
ever since we saw them on some 
Food Network show. 
We know it's "soul food".
We know we're white.
We know IHOP was a bad choice.
But HEY!
We are white "soulless" people who live in 
white-bread suburbia.
What were we to do!?

So I do think at the very least I understand the concept
a bit better. 
Think chicken and biscuits with honey.
Not that far off. 
We did allow as how we would like the opportunity
to try this combo again somewhere down south.
Where they probably know what they're doing. 

And not for nothin' but IHOP lists the calorie count.
Now THAT's just adding insult to injury! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tilapia with Butternut Squash And Pasta

I have been having much fun turning any roasted 
vegetable into soup.
Well guess what?
That soup thinned with a bit of pasta water becomes 
a sauce!
I give you roasted butternut squash for your consideration.

I just caramelized some cubed squash along with some
onion in a pan, added some garlic and thyme, chicken broth
and a splash of white wine, simmered it, pureed it,
thinned it with a hit of pasta water and
pasta sauce!

The tilapia is my standard, olive oil, salt, pepper,
broiler on low for 10 minutes. 
It just adapts itself to whatever sauce I plop on top.

The pasta is Campanelle. 
Mike and I both thought it was great for "capturing"
the sauce.

The reason for this little experiment was a recipe
I had a while back that called for less than one whole
butternut squash. I had taken the remainder of the squash, pealed it, 
cubed it, laid it out on a cookie sheet
and froze it then stored it in a ziploc bag
until inspiration could hit.
And it did! 


I hit 5,000 page views last night!
Pretty sure Mom and Big are 4,000 of them but still, 
That's kind of fun :o)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Cause they don't taste the same if you call them
cream puffs.
Who you callin' a cream puff!?

Have I mentioned all the fun I've been having with the
folks at Relish Magazine?
Tuesdays they have a thing called 
"Chef in your pocket"
on their Facebook page.
I got it in my head this past week that I wanted to 
replicate our favorite dessert at our favorite
little Italian restaurant, Villa Verone.
Don't start, I know not everybody has the same
soft spot in their hearts for this little spot as Mike and I
but, whatever!
Their profiteroles are amazing.
I digress, I asked Chef Brian for a recipe and he came through.
With flying colors!

The Pate a Choux was pretty straight forward. 
(there, Shanna, I spoke French, wala!)
Chef Brian warned the stirring of the dough as it cooks
 can be a bit of a workout, and he was right. 
But beyond that the skill level wasn't unreasonable.
I did cram a few more on each sheet than perhaps
Martha would have, but hey, I never professed to be Martha.

The filling is a rum/vanilla infused custard.
Yum! all over the place!
I would probably put a touch more rum in it next time.
It was just a bit mild for me. 
This was my first time "tempering" eggs.
News flash, it's just like on TV.
No big deal!

My sister makes an AMAZING rum soaked chocolate cake
that has a chocolate/rum genache on top that we figured
would be a good match and it was! 
The genache, not the whole cake, 
we're not THAT out of control. 
Ahhhhh, little puffs of heaven.
I had the presence of mind to invite the women of the family 
over to help me devour, no, taste test, my little

I do have a picture of my mother with chocolate
from ear to ear. 
I love my mother. 
I won't share. 
Suffice it to say, she liked them :o)

Comment if you want the recipes and I'll post them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Remarkable Faith - Baptism

Mary at Giving Up On Perfect is doing a neat
series of blogs during Lent.
Each Wednesday she is going to write about a different aspect of her
Remarkable Faith.
She has invited other Bloggers to join her.
I'm gonna give it a shot.

This week it's on Baptism.
I was brought up in a faith tradition that practiced infant baptisms.
In recent years I have been attending a Baptist church and 
have had the awesome opportunity to witness 
"Believers Baptisms".
While the joy of an infant baptism, welcoming that new
little one into the community of faith and 
the acknowledgment from the congregation that
this child is now in their care cannot be diminished, 
the impact of watching a grown man confess 
all that Christ means to him
 or the innocence of a young child professing their love for Jesus 
absolutely overpowers me. 

Both of my children were baptized twice. 
Shanna both times as an infant,
Long story but as Big likes to say, 
"We got her good and baptized."
Michael was baptized as an infant 
and then a few years ago as a believer. 
I was present for his first baptism but not his second.
I wish I could have been there. 
I wish I could have heard his testimony. 
But that moment had nothing to do with me. 
It was between Michael and God.

What I do get to see is both my children living their 
testimonies every day. 
My heart rests in total peace.

Here's the link to 
Giving Up On Perfect.

Asian Pork With Snow Peas,

Red Peppers, and Soba Noodles.
Boy, that's a long name for something.
But worth every syllable.

I love Asian flavors and as long as I refer to them as such and not
"Chinese" I seem to be able to get away with it.
Mind you, my husband has nothing against the ethnicity,
just what he perceives as their cuisine. 
So Asian it was tonight!

This recipe came courtesy of Real Simple Magazine. 

Real Simple Magazine came courtesy of Indra.
Thanks, Indra :o)

K, so here's the scoop; 
I followed the recipe pretty closely, 
I did substitute wheat spaghetti for the soba noodles
and cashews for the peanuts. 
The meat I used was called a 
"pork shoulder blade steak".
I cut the meat into pieces as the recipe instructed but then I 
tossed the bone in for the heck of it.
I think this would be really good with pork country ribs too. 
Just cook them whole and then shred them at the end.
The recipe has you slice the ginger. I pulled the slices
out before serving, biting into a hunk of ginger just
doesn't sound like a good thing to me, but I
could be wrong.
Happens sometimes.

It's a keeper :o)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Asparagus Soup

Smiley did it to me again.
Giada made
Asparagus soup with herbed goat cheese.

And so did I.
This was way easy and fast!
I didn't think to take a picture of it but it's really pretty and
very green.
The goat cheese is not over powering so only if you really
can't stand goat cheese, omit it. It really brings a
great flavor to the party.

Giada calls for chicken broth but I don't see any
reason why your couldn't substitute
vegetable broth and make it vegetarian.
Right? Vegetarian can have the cheese, Vegan cannot?
I also think there is room in there to sub out white wine
for some of the broth.

Oh, and here's a handy dandy tip for you,
treat your fresh asparagus much as you would fresh flowers.
Cut off the bottoms and stand it up in water.
But keep it in your fridge,
not on the table,
like a centerpiece,
like you would flowers.
...but you figured that out....

Friday, March 4, 2011


Don't ask what got into me.
I have no idea. 
I'm not even sure what I want to do with it.
I just decided I needed to make my own granola.
So I did.

When trying something totally out of my box I turn to
America's Test Kitchen
This time, Alton won.

I checked out the comments, which is always a good idea.
I gleaned from them to add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon 
and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
The comments also reminded me that most recipes are merely suggestions,
jumping off points if you will. 
So, instead of maple syrup I used Agave
 (my new favorite sweet thing)
and instead of cashews, pistachios (cause I had them).
PS, in the freezer, nuts will go bad on you in a heartbeat.
All the oil in them.
I also used a mix of just about every dried fruit
I had in the house. 
I cut back on the oil and brown sugar with no 
obvious negative results. 

This stuff needs to spend an hour and fifteen in the oven 
with you stirring it every fifteen minutes so 
a bottle of wine, 
some friends,
 and a loud timer 
are required. 
End of story, 

Now, just looking for great ideas of what to do with it. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Easter Baskets

Embrace A Family 
is an organization I have had the privilege to serve 
since it's creation 4 years ago.

Our mission statement is:
To match time and talents of volunteers with the needs of 
the single parent.

One of my "volunteer" activities through the years has been to 
put together Easter Baskets for the member's children. 
I love to do it.
 I will probably make 50-75 baskets this year.
Here's where you come in,
what ON EARTH do you put in a teenager's basket???
And worse yet, a teenage BOY???
and on top of that, we're a not for profit so I can't go all, 
I-Tunes, Gift cards, etc. I'm on a budget here!
I try not to load them up with useless "junk"
but also not a ton of candy.
Oh, and the baskets aren't huge, about 8 inches in diameter.

OK, there are your parameters, now, 

Oh, and in the time it has taken me to write this 
I have received requests of baskets for 16 kids!
Four of whom are teenagers!
Did I say 50-75?

Cherry Almond Scones

Or, Almond Cherry Scones.
You decide.
My Bible Study group was have a brunch and
I signed up for a "bread".
Not one to go for the predictable, I decided on scones.

I started out with Alton Brown's recipe and just added my own flavors.
I have found Alton is a pretty safe bet as far as recipes that work,
and he did not disappoint.

My little spin consisted of adding 1/2 t. of almond extract
and about 1/2 cup of rough chopped dried cherries.
I brushed the tops of the scones with cream and sprinkled
slivered almonds on top.

Ina taught me to mix any "chunks" with flour before adding to a
batter to help them distribute better, not clump together,
so I added the cherries to the flour.
I am also a proponent of triangular scones so
I shaped the dough into a circle and cut it into wedges.
One last tip, I made the dough and cut the scones the night before
and baked them in the morning.
Worked out great and I was able to bring warm scones to the brunch.