Saturday, December 29

This is a pretty cool video. You can't help get choked up (if you're a woman).

Friday, December 28

Copycat Recipes

My mom found a delicious recipe that copies Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup. The site also has many other copycat recipes from various chain restaurants. Check it out.

Thursday, December 27

I'm Lost

Is the writers' strike over or was the new Lost season written previously? ABC has a trailer for the new season which doesn't appear to be a preview at all, and there is also a rapid fire, 8m15s recap of past seasons, and it's actually kind of funny with the way the narrator talks quickly and succinctly. Check it out.

Also, this baby is funny and cute.

Merry Christmas! I was in Oregon and am sad to be back since Ryan is still in Kansas through Saturday. I had a good time with my family though. We were apart this year since Ryan's family hadn't been all together for several years and finally were this year, and this was my family's first Christmas in Oregon. How was your Christmas?

We marry in 58 days!

Friday, December 14

Free $10 Starbucks Gift Card

Go here and fill out the information for a deal that was mentioned on this blog. I used an email address that I use for online things, and I put zeros in for my phone number.

Wednesday, December 5

Pumpkin Rolls

This is a recipe I must try. But when???

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

The recipe yields a lot of rolls (48) and it would be a risk for me to have so many delicious rolls in my home, so maybe I'll do half or less of the recipe.

Prince Caspian

Here is a trailer for Prince Caspian, which will be released May 16, 2008. I look forward to seeing it.

Thursday, November 29

Cooking Stuff

  • In September, I posted that I wanted to make Mexican Pot Roast Tacos by Tyler Florence. I've made them twice, including while I was in Oregon last week, and they are fabulous! The eight different people who ate them also thought the same. I really enjoyed Tyler's salsa in the recipe and was impressed with it coming from canned tomatoes. It is absolutely a keeper, and I made no changes to it. It's quick too if you don't do the tacos. I used my own guacamole recipe but Tyler's is pretty similar to mine. I used flour tortillas instead of corn, and they were awesome fried the way he instructs.
    • Two must-haves for these tacos: queso fresco cheese (Costco and Sam's usually has it) and Cholula hot pepper sauce. Most grocery stores have it for $2-3, and it's the kind with the round wooden cap. I love that stuff.
    • The second time making the tacos, I used the leftovers on nachos using Lime Tostitoes. Excellent.
  • Looking for a new cheesecake to try? A friend (hi meg!) gave me this cheesecake recipe by Nigella Lawson and it is also AMAZING. I couldn't find custard powder when I made it, so I used 1tsp cornstarch and a little vanilla. Also, My aunt just sent me this cheesecake recipe which I'm dying to try, maybe for the next fellowship dinner. Because it received a 4-fork rating after 145 reviews, you can tell it's a winner.

  • Other new recipes I've made recently include Caesar Club Sandwich (a "make again" recipe, was really good), Creamy Red Pepper Soup (pretty good - I added heavy cream to it). My friend who doesn't like soup liked it (I didn't know he didn't like soup when I planned the food, oops).

  • I must rave about some Award-winning Thai Burgers - an explosion of flavor! My mom made them for us in Oregon, and she found the recipe in the paper. The creator is from Portland and she won $50,000 for the recipe. If you're interested, here is a video of her making the burgers on TV. My mom read elsewhere that lime juice loses most of its zing 40 minutes after juicing (is that the right time, Mom?) so add the lime juice to the topping and mayo just before assembling. The rest can be made ahead. Also, the burger mixture is best if it sits and chills a few hours or overnight before grilling. The flavors are more developed. Pic from the KATU website.


I haven't posted in a while...but I knew I had an excuse :-). Things to update:
  • I'm getting married! (duh). Ryan and I are getting married February 23, less than three months from now! We are thrilled at God's timing and can't wait to be married. Pre-marital counseling is well underway, lots of wedding details have been settled so far. Ryan will have a quarter break for seminary, and we're honeymooning to Estes Park, Colorado. I'm honored to have Ryan's three sisters along with Erin and Danila as my bridesmaids.
  • I was thrilled and thankful that Ryan and I didn't have any delays flying to and from Oregon last week for Thanksgiving. I head back for Christmas in three weeks. We had a great time with my family, and it was a delight to see my nephew Cohen grin and coo all throughout the week. Adam loves being an uncle. The misty waterfalls were beautiful and wet. The food was fabulous and abundant. God is good. More pictures here.
  • I continue to be amazed at the work of God in His church in Airdrie, Scotland - He has been bringing many new members this year. Many. Praise be to God for building His church. He said He would do it.
  • Ryan's sisters are visiting from Kansas this weekend. I'm so excited to spend more time with them! (We really like each other :-)). My menu plan is:
    • Tuscan White Bean & Garlic Soup by Giada (make ahead) for lunch Saturday
    • Cranberry Pot Roast (unbelievably fabulous roast....oh my) with some sort of made up Smashed Red Potatoes with chives for dinner Saturday, and green beans (probably with toasted pine nuts and garlic - an easy way to step them up). Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes are for dessert. I only have the Pot Roast in Word, which I can email. The recipe originally came from a NW B&B cookbook, and I adapted some pot roast techniques from America's Test Kitchen, including a roasting temperature of 300 instead of 350 and only bringing liquid halfway up the sides of the roast. I've cooked the roast for 4.5 hours in the oven that way and it really gets to the wonderful fall-apart melty stage. I also nearly doubled the cranberries.
    • Lunch on Sunday will be the award-winning Thai Burgers I raved about in a post to follow soon.
  • My recipe links became funky since I last checked. I revised the links, so they should come up cleanly now. I might revamp the way I share the links because I have many non Cooking Light recipes I like to keep handy that I have online elsewhere. I learned I can make free webpages using Google - maybe I'll try that.
  • I have succeeded twice in cutting Ryan's hair. I think I'm too impressed with myself, according to Ryan.
A big cooking post to follow. . .

Monday, October 22

Monday, October 8

San Diego

I finished my photos from San Diego put pics in an album here. The surfer is Andy - he's good!

Thursday, October 4

Airline Delays

I spotted an article about the increasing volume of airline delays which have occurred this year. They say 25.2% of flights have been delayed. I must be picking the wrong routes because 30% of my flights have been delayed this year (not all that much more, I know). Or, to put it another way, three out of four trips have been affected by delayed flights, where I got home late or arrived at my destination late (1 am instead of 9pm for example...). When you have no choice but to connect in another city, delays can mess you up big time. Fortunately, I never had to stay overnight anywhere, but I enjoy flying a whole lot less this year than I have in other years. The flights are packed, I get stuck in the middle seat, a plane I'm getting on hasn't arrived from another city, I run to another terminal to catch a flight I to which I was bumped (original connection already missed) only to have that one delayed 3 hours, having to change planes once boarded because the radio doesn't work, and more. When flying to Oregon, the plane Ryan and I were on was 14th in line to take off because of runway construction in Minneapolis. I now avoid Chicago and would rather fly in the morning than evening. It seems there is a similar trend with flights as there is in doctor's offices - the afternoon appointments are nearly guaranteed to be late because they are behind from the morning. It seems weather-wise, spring and fall are best because there are no snow storms or thunderstorms.

What's the solution? I don't know - the whole industry is a mess with unions, legislation and more. A handful of customers who are upset enough to avoid certain airlines won't make much of a difference. Passenger traffic is continuing to increase, of course. My best bet is to take direct flights when possible, but there are none to Oregon at this point from Pittsburgh. I'm flying to Oregon for Thanksgiving and Christmas and should be prepared to be delayed. What has your experience been?

Saturday, September 22

Mexican Pot Roast Tacos

I saw Tyler make these tacos on TV today and they look fabulous! I hope to try them soon.

Saturday, September 15

The Exploding Whale

My aunt found this video for me after telling Ryan and me about a story from the 70s of a dead whale which washed up on shore at the Oregon Coast. Officials' best idea for disposing of it was to blow it up. Here you have it, Readers! Do watch.

"Well, I'm confident that it'll work..."

Tuesday, September 4

Oregon Photos

Here are a few more photos from Oregon. More may be found here.


Ryan and I went to Oregon for a few days to spend time with my family. It was perfect. I am now back and wish I was still there. Pictures will come. For now, some highlights:
- Ryan is so "in" :-)
- We looked at old "us" videos from my childhood, including hugely embarrassing footage of my awkward teenage years (attitude + perm + braces = _____ ). The funniest (and well, scariest) part was when Ryan told us about the dream he had after that about me, as a teenager, running in a race with one leg and being disqualified because I lost my shoe, wore a flip flop instead, jumped in the race later and won. Fortunately, Ryan did not run away.
- the dogs still rock
- the coast was gorgeous.
- my mom's BBQ ribs are soooo good
- much laughter was had by all for all kinds of reasons
- I wore comfortable shoes to the airport. No running was necessary this time.

Tuesday, August 21

Wear the right shoes

I am back from Kansas. I flew out last Wednesday and drove back with Ryan yesterday (14 hours). The Clarks shoes to the right are completely cute and comfortable except when running nearly all the way around Chicago's airport to get a flight. I landed at 1 am instead of 9pm after delays, weather, missed connections and a plane which took 2 hours to taxi from the hangar to our gate, but I was glad to at least get in that night. I got my luggage the next afternoon. Ladies, imagine meeting your boyfriend's family for the first time without your regular makeup and toiletries! EEK!! Ryan's sister, Lori, was fabulous though and loaned me a bunch of stuff and I looked fairly normal. The weekend was wonderful with Ryan's family. There was much laughter! Next week, we go to Oregon for a few days to spend time with my family. I'm so excited!

Also, my nephew was born last week! Andy & Erin had their first baby, Cohen Andrew, and he's a cutie. I have tickets to go out to San Diego in about 5 weeks.

Lastly, Ryan is back for good! Our three month separation (with synod in between where we saw each other) while he interned out west is over. O.V.E.R. Seminary classes don't start for a couple of weeks so we will have some good times together, including making Bobby Flay's fish tacos sometime.

Wednesday, August 15


Here are some cool pictures of Antarctica.

Friday, August 3

Oh Papaya

One of my favorite fruits is papaya, but only with lime juice. Because of my severe lime leanings, I might like it better than others. I've had people try it though and most liked it. I halve, seed, peel and dice the [large] papaya and juice a lime over it. I'm pretty generous with my lime juice. Give it a try!

Thursday, August 2

New job...of sorts

I work for Benshaw, and we were acquired this week after many months of work and negotiations. We have some new bosses, and the substance of my work will change, some for the better, some worse. Either way, there is a long transition period which has begun, and it's kind of like the calm before the storm...only not knowing what the storm is like or how long it will last! It's a good move for Benshaw. Curtiss-Wright was first founded in 1929, having roots in the work of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers. They have some really fascinating products and technology, particularly in the areas of the military and nuclear technology. The company's history is interesting.

Benshaw acquired by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corp. said Wednesday it acquired Benshaw Advanced Controls & Drives for about $102 million in cash, to expand its product offerings in the commercial power, control electronics and systems markets. The business will become part of Curtiss-Wright's Flow Control segment, the company said in a statement. Benshaw is a Glenshaw-based electronic controls manufacturer.
Founded in 1983, Benshaw employs approximately 410 people. "The addition of Benshaw to the Curtiss-Wright family of companies provides a major opportunity to expand our product offerings in the commercial power, control electronics and systems markets," Curtiss-Wright Chairman and CEO Martin R. Benante said in a statement. Curtiss-Wright also has a Pittsburgh presence, with its Curtiss-Wright Electromechanical Corp. division based in Cheswick.

Friday, July 27

Friday Musings

- I started reading Heat, a so-far interesting book about the life of an amateur cook working as a kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker and more. It's intriguing to me to learn about the inner workings of professional kitchens (oh man, the part where he had to dice 36 carrots into perfect one millimeter cubes just for making stock...the carrot first has to be trimmed into a long rectangle, then 1mm strips are made, then chopped crosswise to make 1mm perfect cubes. His "master" made him toss a whole pile and start again). Aside from some foul words contained in direct quotes, it's good so far.

- I continued to be saddened by our twisted world.
It truly is anti-Christ, which is what God has said it is and will be. Muslim taxi drivers in Minneapolis are allowed to refuse people who have alcohol with them because of their "religious beliefs", but Washington pharmacists are not allowed to refuse to dispense the morning after abortion pill. There are many more things like that going on, some of them worse, and we don't hear about it much. I am comforted knowing that though the rulers of the earth set themselves against the Lord, "...the Lord will scorn them all. He will laugh who sits on high. Then His wrath will on them fall; sore displeased He will reply" (Ps. 2). Christ is King of all the nations and all that is contained in those nations, and there will be no end to the increase of His government and peace . Christ is build His church in the face of Islam and all else.

- I finished reading Infidel as previously recommended by Shannon and Catherine, and through it confirmed what I believed to be true - it's an illusion that Islam is about peace and tolerance. I think most of us know that, but my understanding of the different "kinds" of Muslims was further confirmed expanded - those who seem "moderate" aren't true Muslims. True, "good" Muslims are those who commit honor killings, excise their young daughters and beat their wives, according to the Quaran. They are NOT interested in talking things out in a diplomatic way.

- Ryan showed me the website of a photographer he knows who is a former customer from his Starbucks days. She does great work and has an enjoyable website of galleries.

- I'm wearing red shoes today

- Ryan and I are in the home stretch. In a little less than three weeks, our summer-long separation will end when, if God wills, I'll go to
Kansas to meet his family and see him [:-) x 100]. Shortly after that, we anticipate traveling to Oregon to spend a few days with my family before the seminary year starts.

- I like taking pictures of babies

Friday, July 20


Ha! I think he knows he's guilty.

Monday, July 9


I think I am done watching Lost for now. I have been having very vivid, frequent dreams related to Lost! They haven't all been bad dreams or good dreams...just dreams for the most part. I don't usually dream like that (or at least, I don't recall the dreams like that) and I think I OD'd on the show since I had it through Netflix. Just stepping back for now.

Wednesday, July 4

Pictures Speak: Being Found Out

(and: you have something on your mouth)

Monday, July 2

New Salad

Tomorrow, I'm making a new salad with my dinner when the mission team comes over. It's from the latest Cooking Light magazine and is called Asparagus-Apple Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette. I will probably also do Asian BBQ Chicken and Island Rice, which I've posted about before. Recipes are in the link to the side (previously posted recipes). Asian BBQ Chicken is probably my favorite chicken marinade (easy, delicious).

I wish I cooked every night! I miss it! I have less motivation to cook when it's only me. I'm glad I have several things coming up for church when I'll cook stuff.

Wednesday, June 27

John Piper Books on Sale $5

I saw in a comment on Catherine's blog that the books in the store at Desiring God are on sale for $5! Check it out!

I have read and love: Desiring God, Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God, and Let the Nations Be Glad!. I have The Pleasures of God but need to read it. Other books that friends have recommended include Brothers We are Not Professionals and Future Grace

Sale ends tomorrow. The functionality of the site is touch and go.

The sale was extended to noon on Friday, and the site is working much better today.

Sunday, June 24

Mocha Marbled Coffee Cake

I made the following cake for my sister-in-law's baby shower. I made it once a couple of years ago but this time, implemented a couple methods from America's Test Kitchen, which they use in their chocolate bundt cake recipe. If interested, I could email you the recipe in Word.

Mocha Marbled Coffee Cake
Makes 16 servings

2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup boiling water

1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp cocoa powder

12 Tbsp butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp instant coffee powder or 2 Tbsp espresso powder, dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups sour cream (regular or light)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare chocolate mixture by pouring boiling water over cocoa and chocolate, whisking gently to melt and combine. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Set aside.
  3. Prepare bundt pan by combining melted butter and cocoa to form a smooth paste with a fork or small whisk. Using a pastry brush, coat bundt pan with mixture, making sure to get in all crevices and far enough up the sides. Set aside.
  4. Using a mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Add vanilla and dissolved coffee.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour and next three ingredients (through salt).
  6. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Mix just until combined for each step. Scrape down sides and bottom.
  7. Put half the batter in a separate bowl and add the chocolate mixture, stirring to combine.
  8. Place 1/4 cup of the coffee batter in two opposite sides of the pan. Place ¼ cup chocolate batter in the other two parts; spread until they meet. Continue placing about ¼ cup of each batter on top of the other kind of batter, to create a checkerboard pattern. Spread to even out after the last of the batter is done.
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with scant crumbs on it (but not doughy). Baking times may vary depending on your oven.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes; turn out of pan. After the cake is completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar, if desired, or garnish each serving with whipped cream.

Saturday, June 23


Random photo from my file

I finally started and am sorta hooked on Lost. I've been renting the DVDs of season 1.

Monday, June 18

Second Annual Cooking Poll

Last year, I posted a poll for people to list their top 10 favorite ingredients. Knowing that tastes can change over time, I am going to list my 10 and compare to the list I made last year to see if there are any differences. They weren't in any particular order.

1. Garlic
2. Olive Oil
3. Salt: kosher and sea
4. Lime juice or zest
5. Balsamic vinegar
6. Piquin chiles (tiny, very hot dried chiles)
7. Parmesan cheese
8. Onions
9. Sugar

I just checked my old list, and three items didn't make it this time but ARE still favorites: coffee, cilantro and butter. How could I forget butter? I also checked my pantry...I have six varieties of salt! Oh man. And I have 10 kinds of vinegar.

Friday, June 15

Please, NO MORE

I have had enough. Of the house sparrow. That insists on chirping me awake. An hour before my alarm is supposed to go off. JUST because I have prevented him from nesting in my grill.

If he had a nest to build somewhere else, he wouldn't be on MY balcony, near MY window nearly all day chirping a high pitched chirp, starting at about 5:30 am. May I catch it and kill it please? Sounds extreme, I know, but after at least 10 different mornings in the last few weeks of waking up before my alarm during the work gets tiring. Thus I googled "how to get rid of house sparrows" just now and plan to figure it out.

In the meantime, I took the foil out of my grill to allow the sparrow to be busy building a nest. I will keep removing it and keep letting him build it if it will keep him quiet!! I, by the way, have a fan in my window on high, I have the other one shut, and I have stuffed a towel on either side of the fan to shut out more sound. Doesn't work!

It is particularly frustrating today because I've had a full week, am tired, got to bed an hour later than I hoped and then couldn't fall asleep for two hours despite being tired! I know many of you go on little sleep all the time, but I guess in living by myself and being used to getting a good night's sleep, it's frustrating to have it disrupted by something like a bird. A baby? That is worthwhile. Not a bird.

"Under federal law, House Sparrow nests, eggs, young, and adults may be legally removed or destroyed", according to this site. Waking me isn't the only offense. I have a feeling that the two nests resting on wires attached to my building no longer have eggs or baby birds in them and are not sparrow nests. It is very likely the sparrow has already gotten to them based on what I've learned about how house sparrows attack and mutilate other birds and eggs.

Wednesday, June 13

My Food Diary

I would like to put out a recommendation for My Food Diary. It's an online food journal and support center for weight loss. I have been working and stalling and working and stalling for years to achieve certain specific fitness goals, and MFD has contributed to the successes I've had. I'm now stepping up and focusing more seriously on reaching my goals this summer, and MFD is an essential tool for me. It has been a great resource to teach me how to eat well and track my progress. It's $9 a month, which I think is GREAT (compared to Weight Watchers $12 or so per week and you have fewer tools). The features include:
  • a very large database of foods, including hundreds of restaurants
  • the ability to add your own recipes by inputing ingredients, amounts, and number of servings. It'll then give you the nutrition data per serving and add that to your "Fridge", which is your personal database of foods you eat.
  • a body log, where you record your weight and measurements. It tracks it on a graph and lists how many pounds or inches you have lost, and how many pounds you have left to lose.
  • an active forum where you can post questions, get support and learn more tools and ideas. I am in a group of about 7 women whose motto is "deadly determined" to reach our goals, for our own health, fitness and long-term wellness.
  • a daily summary of how many calories you have left in the day to lose __ pounds per week and maintain your weight. It'll tell you "if every day were like today, in one month you would weigh ___" and it gives what date you'd reach our target weight.
How do you use it? Daily, you go to your Fridge, enter what you are eating or will eat, and it adds it to your diary for the day. It gives you a "smiley" on the summary page for things such as reaching daily amounts for vitamins and minerals (A, C, Iron, Calcium), high fiber, low saturated fat, water consumption, no dessert, and exercise. You get frowns for high sodium, no exercise, not enough calories, too many calories, and more.

The fridge starts out empty when you sign up. Over time, you'll add the foods you eat, like milk, cheese, etc. You can put anything in your fridge - ANYTHING. If a brand or type of food isn't in the existing MFD database, chances are the company's website publishes the nutrition data. If you have the nutrition label from the package, you can quickly add it to your fridge.

With the recipe building feature, I am able to add in the decadent desserts I sometimes make in order to know how many calories a slice contains.

The system doesn't let you eat too few calories without warning you. You are supposed to eat the calories you earn by exercising. Why? If you are already on a 1400 calorie diet to lose weight, but you burn 500 that day with exercise and don't eat those calories back, you essentially net 900 calories, which is way too few to be healthy and to lose weight in a healthy way. Your metabolism will slow and your body will store what you eat once it enters survival mode at that calorie level.

It works when I use and stay in my calorie range and log my food intake. The times it doesn't work = user error/failure, not method error. I know that not everyone is like this, but I believe I will need to be mindful on a long-term basis about what I eat in order to be fit and healthy. It's a good wake-up call to see how calories quickly add up without really realizing it.

The only downside is that a trial period isn't available.

Saturday, June 9

Oh That Sparrow!

I identified the type of sparrow that is lurking around my balcony - a house sparrow. What I also learned is that they attack other birds! Maybe you knew that. They seem vicious, and I hope they are not attacking other nests that are near my balcony! The stories are sad.

My Bounty

I finally cut the lettuce which was growing in my railing box, and there is a lot of lettuce! I intend to take it to our fellowship dinner tomorrow for a sandwich toppings. My balcony is a great place to grow vegetables since there is full sun and no bunnies to nibble.

Also, my nasturtiums have made great progress from their early days as a seed:

Lastly, I am quite familiar now with the sound of Angry Sparrow who is likely irate that there is a Piece of Foil in the grill where his Nest belongs. He woke me up a couple times this week before 6 am. I hear you. This is still MY home, not yours, bird. You also shouldn't hang out long enough in my grill so that some "waste" is deposited. However, the two morning doves lounging comfortably on my balcony are welcome. So are the precious cardinal couple who feed each other birdseed.

Wednesday, June 6

Th Ancho-Lime Marinated BBQ Chicken went swimmingly with the couscous and vegetables I made yesterday. I grilled the chicken tonight and had some of the couscous leftovers. I loved it! So flavorful, healthy and complimentary.

After removing the chicken from the marinade, I boiled the excess in the microwave instead of discarding it, and I basted it on the chicken as it cooked. I might add some brown sugar to the rest of the marinade that wasn't used today (I made a whole recipe but used a portion for one breast of chicken).

Tuesday, June 5

More Recipes

I prepared the marinade from a recipe, Ancho-Lime Marinated BBQ Chicken today and will use it tomorrow on boneless chicken breasts. I was drawn to it for the lime and ancho chile part and need to restock some spices soon from Penzey's. I've been improvising with my lack of vanilla extract by scraping some vanilla beans for a couple other recent recipes.

Tonight, I am having the third grilled vegetable dish from my post below and hope it turns out well! I also made the recommended side dish, Onion Raita.

My dinner was delicious and so flavorful! I made Grilled Vegetables & Chickpeas w/ Couscous. The accompanying side dish tasted great with it. I made some changes to the vegetables. I don't care for zucchini, so I left out that and the yellow squash and used only onions and red and yellow peppers. Also, I added ground red pepper, an extra tablespoon of lemon juice, extra salt, some lemon zest, and a crushed clove of garlic. I would definitely make this again and look forward to the leftovers. It's so healthy too! I didn't make any changes to the Onion Raita, and it was handy to grill the onions together for both recipes.

What I've Been Doing

Since I haven't blogged much, I must be doing something, right?

Besides working, I have been:
- visiting my family in Oregon
- missing Ryan who is in Colorado & Wyoming for the summer
- talking on the phone and writing letters to Ryan
- being more intentional about exercise and eating
- fellowshipping with many women over email
- editing and enjoying my photos from Oregon
- tending the flowers on my balcony
- adding more blogs of my friends and acquaintances to my Google Reader. I now have 16 and it sure makes it easier and faster to see new blog posts all in one place.
- enjoying the fellowship and instruction of bible study (John's Epistles)
- thankful for the wisdom and discernment God has been giving me and the great sermons I've been hearing
- watching ticket prices for trips to Oregon (Sept, Nov & Dec) and San Diego (Oct)
- realizing my prayer life still needs work
- wondering when my Verizon wireless overages will end

Besides working, this summer I will/hope to:
- reach my fitness goals for the first time EVER
- attend Beethoven's 9th Symphony with Danila
- see Ryan at Synod in three weeks
- see my pregnant sister-in-law in three weeks
- enjoy fellowship with the small, all-female mission team coming to North Hills in July (Hi Shannon!)
- fly to Kansas for a few days in August to meet Ryan's family
- fly to Oregon in late August with Ryan to spend time with my family

The birds are still attempting to build a complete nest in my grill. But I'm bigger and use the grill for cooking.

Books I'm reading or recently read: Passion & Purity; Tom Clancy's Splintercell Checkmate; The Robber Bride; Matthew; Luke

Thursday, May 31


I added a few recipes to "Recipes I Want to Try" which I hope to make in the next week. All involve grilling vegetables with various seasonings or rubs.

Grilled Vegetables with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grilled Vegetables With Cilantro Butter
Grilled Vegetables and Chickpeas with Couscous
Grilled Vegetables with Feta

For dinner tonight I made the last recipe above and was really pleased with it. It was filling and nutritious. Once the grilled vegetables were cut, I tossed them in some leftover vinaigrette for additional flavor. I'd make it again!

Tuesday, May 29

Oregon Pictures

My time in Oregon is at an end. It was fabulous! Here are three albums:
Oregon Family
Peony & Iris Farms

Tuesday, May 22

Friday, May 18


Here are some fascinating lightning photographs taken by a professional photographer, which I found using StumbleUpon, with my interests set to photography. And that, folks, is all I have for you!

Well, I also stumbled upon this "photo" which is pretty cool. Move your mouse from the left side to the right side and see it change.

NOW that is all.

Monday, May 7


I made a Double Chocolate Torte for Ryan's birthday yesterday. I made it ahead on Saturday night, and it turned out wonderful! The bottom half is a dense, dark, chocolaty cake (minimal flour), and the top half is a smooth mousse. It's a great do-ahead dessert that isn't necessarily "quick" but is worth the multiple steps involved.

Tuesday, April 24

It continues....

The mother bird must be ready to lay her eggs....they made a lot of progress today from last night! Any ideas to keep them from building? I can't let the nest remain there. Or, if I do, how long would the nest need to be there? Maybe I could put a box with some holes in it so they can get in and out and place it underneath the grill.

My mom gave me the following idea which I think might work. The wind will blow the foil and scare them off. I put the nest above under the grill in a plastic crate. We'll see. I doubt they'll use it since I touched it. It's a foil seahorse! haha.

Monday, April 23

They won't give up

A month ago, I took a picture of a nest some birds had built in my grill:

I removed the nest (no eggs were in it, thankfully) and since then have removed parts of a new nest several times. Before using my grill tonight, there was yet more work done on a nest. I removed the materials, and within 30 min of turning the grill off, they were at it again:

I'm worried that one day, I'll open the grill and find a completed nest with eggs. What then? They can't live there all summer! They will also be competing with wasps for use of my grill as a home!

Wednesday, April 18

More, yes, more

Now, I don't plan to post a picture of the nasturtiums every day but liked this one.

No Joke!

Real growth this time, from this to this in two days:

It helps that nasturtiums are probably the easiest flower to grow from seed, and they grow quickly!

Monday, April 16

Mega Growth

Woah! Day 5?

Psych! Remember that word?

Sunday, April 15

Signs of Life in steps

Photo diary of a nasturtium, #1

From this:

To this, in a few days:
(sorry, pics aren't working right now)

Friday, April 13

Oh Dear

"Diner scarred for life after sausage explodes in her face"

I read this headline and thought, Right, scarred for life? Rather, an exaggeration of emotional scarring as a result of embarassment that your sausage dinner exploded. Well, that's not the case. It's a lot worse.

Tuesday, April 10

Call that Number, Folks!

How would you like to meet your mate this way?

Monday, April 9


Cranberry Pot Roast: turned out great, will type/post recipe if requested. I couldn't find fresh cranberries, but a can of whole cranberry sauce was an acceptable substitute. I combined the instructions in the recipe with instructions from America's Test Kitchen and was pleased with the results. In short, the roast was cooked for about 3 3/4 hours at 300 degrees. I was happy to see it got to the stage of being "melty" and easily falling apart when I cut it. It was cooked in beef broth, chicken broth and white wine, among other seasonings, with the liquid coming halfway up the sides (per ATK).
Swirled Cranberry Cheesecake: this didn't happen, unfortunately, since fresh cranberries weren't available. I made
Texas Sheet Cake instead. I hope to make it in the future.
Green Beans with Pine Nuts, Garlic & Basil: didn't happen since I couldn't find fresh basil. Instead, I made Green Beans with Pine Nuts, Garlic and Diced Tomatoes (adapted/made up), and my guests liked it quite well.
Lasagna: didn't happen. I made Macaroni Salad from America's Test Kitchen for the fellowship dinner instead. Main ingredients, besides pasta and mayo, were red onions, dijon mustard, lemon juice, cayenne, celery, salt and pepper. I liked. Friends liked.

I also made Tuscan White Bean & Garlic Soup for myself, from Giada De Laurentiis: easy (especially if you have an immersion blender), high in protein, nice taste. Two out of two friends approved.

Last week, I made some sandwiches called Venetian Panino for Lord's Day lunch, also by Giada. I liked them a lot and would make them again. I'm not a fan of a strong dijon mustard flavor, and the spread for this sandwich was just right.

Thursday, April 5

A bunch of recipes.

Everyone won the photo quiz! Good job.

I made my favorite green bean salad this week two times (once for myself and once for friends).

Finally, today is my Friday! Benshaw is closed tomorrow for Good Friday. I'm having some more friends over for dinner on Saturday and am making Cranberry Pot Roast (Northwest B&B cookbook), Confetti Mashed Potatoes (Three Rivers Pgh cookbook), Green Beans with Pine Nuts, Garlic & Basil, and Swirled Cranberry Cheesecake. The beans and dessert are new recipes. It's too bad it has turned cold again for several days because I really wanted to make some summery food, like hamburgers and this potato salad.

I'll be cooking a lot tomorrow and Saturday because we also have a fellowship dinner for church after our morning Lord's Supper service, so I have a salad and a main dish to prepare. I'm considering a new recipe, Four Cheese Lasagna from the issue of Cook's Illustrated that came in the mail yesterday. It contains fontina, gorgonzola, gruyere and parmesan cheese, plus a fifth cheese, ricotta. Yes, it's still called Four Cheese Lasagna! The recipes featured in Cook's Illustrated also contain a write-up of methods tested for the final, best recipe. If I don't make this dish, I might make the a meat lasagna recipe they've published.

My aunt emailed me this salad recipe which sounds delicious. Browned butter has a wonderful flavor. All of these recipes have a touch of flare that is different than your basic recipe...which I love!

Friday, March 30

Good Tidings!

Yay! I just purchased tickets to travel to Oregon in May! My family is quite excited of course, as am I. The bonus is being able to visit the beauty of Oregon in addition to seeing my family. And the dogs. It's exciting to think about going to Oregon so soon after being there a year ago (this is compared to 9 years passing since the trip before that, so this is a good rate!). Lord willing, I will be able to go a couple more times before the end of the year.

Thursday, March 29

Quiz #11

I bet you never thought you'd see one of these again! A photo quiz, that is.

Tuesday, March 27

News bits

I saw an article today about a measure in Germany to curb infanticide by providing drop bins for unwanted newborns. How sad! How horrendous that this happens. While it's good that they want to reduce deaths by giving the mother a drop-point for her unwatned baby instead of murdering the child, it's just so sad that it happens. Even more, the article indicates some women have murdered more than one baby. What is also sad is these mothers are arrested for killing their children outside their womb, but no action is taken against mothers who kill their unborn children. The article may be found here.
"Woman, dog both sick after eating recalled pet food"
I feel bad she's sick, but really, eating your dog's food to get the dog to think it's people food? She could have completely avoided this. I feel worse for the dog that is poorly trained and sick!
I'm making a couple new things this week and next, so I'll post my results. Recipes include:
Garlic-Herb Marinated Chicken Kebabs (Cook's Illustrated)
Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Bon Appetit)
Double Chocolate Tort (Bon Appetit)

Tuesday, March 20

Cooking Style

Here is a quiz my aunt sent me, called "What is Your Culinary Style?" Have a go at it! I came out "Healthy: You are a health-conscious chef who knows that you don't have to sacrifice flavor to lose the fat. You believe in a well-balanced diet and like to cook with fresh, straightforward ingredients. For you, the trick to making good food lies in the seasoning; which is why you are never without herbs and spices."

I think that is pretty true for me. That doesn't mean I EAT healthy, but I do like fresh, straightforward ingredients and good spices/flavors for cooking. I also took the grilling personality quiz and came out Expert.

Tuesday, March 13

Rebecca's feet are cute.

I am a bad blogger, I know. I KNOW. No photo quizzes, no recipes. I've been doing stuff and spending time with friends. The reason for no photo quizzes: no ideas! Needtocomeupwithsomeideas. Reason for no recipes? I've been making the same thing over and over - Island Rice! I know I ought to stop while I am ahead and while I still love it. Wait! I do have a new recipe. I made some soup last night and it was a new recipe, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Recipe here. I used regular brown rice though and not the boil-in-a-bag rice. That is about all I have for you. Rebecca had a funny idea and posted a picture of her feet as a way to fill her blog! hehe. I love you, Rebecca!

My family's belongings arrived this past weekend; thanks to God for that.

I took a typing test here and had the following result the first time: "During the test, you typed at a speed of 64 words/minute and made 16 errors. According to these results, you are an expert typist and should consider taking the corresponding course when you register." They tell you not to backspace but I forgot that, and I think they count that as an error in additon to the things we normal people would consider errors. The second time, I had 75 wpm and 8 errors! haha. Try it if you like.

Monday, March 5


Drudge said it best in its headline "Kentucky Fried Hillary: NY Senator Adopts Southern Drawl In Church Service".

Listen here. It reminds me when Al Gore changed his tone noticeably when speaking to a black audience. What are they doing "preaching" in churches anyway?

I have made Island Rice a couple of times recently and would consider this my favorite rice dish. I first made it a few months ago, and I substitute 1/2 cup lite coconut milk for 1/2 cup of the water called for. This goes fabulously with spicy chicken or pork, such as Asian BBQ Chicken or Jerk-Style Chicken. I have also had it with sauteed onions and red peppers with all the fixings for fajitas and eaten it in a tortilla or piled on a plate without a tortilla.

Saturday, March 3


Rebecca and I had a fantastic time catching up!

Thursday, March 1

Nothings and Somethings Bullet Style

  • My family arrived safely in Oregon last Friday and received the keys to the their new house on Wednesday. Their belongings should arrive in the next week or so, and in the meantime, they'll paint and make some minor changes to the house.
  • I went to McConnell's Mill last week and enjoyed a beautiful hike with a good friend. Pics here. It was my first time hiking there in the winter after a dozen times in other seasons, and it was a delight to see all the snow.
  • I haven't cooked anything new for a while! Nothing to share there.
  • My old college roommate, Rebecca, is visiting tomorrow! You may have noticed some funny dialog in the comments from her on here about how incredibly excited we are so see each other (and you can find ones from me on her blog). We last saw each other in July 2005 at Danila's wedding, and even then, it was a busy time. So we are going to talkandtalkandgiggleandtalkandeatandlaughandtalk for hours and we'll love it!
  • My cup runs over.

Friday, February 23


This is bound to be a less-than-exciting post. Work has been busy, but I've had a low-key week otherwise which is nice. I've thought often over the last couple of weeks how good the Lord is in His consistent provision of fellowship with other believers, both new and old friends. It's a taste of heaven!

My family crossed the border to Oregon yesterday (cheers) and anticipate arriving in my grandma's house later today. I praise God for the clear, yes CLEAR weather they had their entire trip. They close on their new house next Thursday, and their belongings will arrive a week or so after that.

In other important news, my breakfast today and yesterday was a PB&J sandwich. I have no shame in doing that! I needed a switch from oatmeal and forgot to buy more Grape Nuts. But I really have no shame! I feel no need to explain myself!

Friday, February 16

And They're Off.....'ll be a few months before I see them again.

8 days of close quarters....