Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Resolutions

It's getting to be that time of year again. You know... where you start to think up all those crazy goals for yourself. Last year, a Christian radio station I listen to encouraged it's listeners to do a "one word challenge". My focus on the word "peace" for 2011 did wonders for my spirit and well being, so I've decided to take up the challenge again. 

For 2012 I will focus on the word, JOY

Webster defines joy as: "the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of  possessing what one desires". 

The important thing to remember is that by well-being doesn't come from possessing the worldly things that I desire... it comes from possessing the hope of eternal salvation. It's so hard to remember that my eternal life is so much more important than my life on earth. In fact, it's hard to really wrap my mind around that concept. Thankfully, because of Christ's death, we are allowed to be in the presence of God on a daily basis through the holy spirit. Now THOSE are somethings to be joyful about! 

My hope is that toward the end of 2012 I will have become a more joyful person. I'd like to be a young women who is known for a joyful spirit. Now that I've learned to seek peace through the Lord, I want to seek joy through Him.  The Lord has the power to make ALL things good, but we have to open our hearts and ask Him for understanding. 

Along with the the focus on joy, I've made a couple of other specific goals for myself. 

Here is my list of goals for the year: 

- Read 4 books (hey.... for me that's doing pretty well)

- Read Karyn Henley's Day by Day Bible for Kids (I want to read the overall story of the bible this year)

- Be able to run for 30 minutes (Using the Couch to 5K plan)

Here is a list of my goals to be completed each month:

- Write a note of encouragement every month

- Cook something new 3 times a month 

Here is a list of my goals for each week:

- Say a weekly prayer of just thanksgiving 

- Pray for the people in the church bulletin 

I usually don't make this many goals for myself but I'm feeling ambitious. I think I'll print them all out and tape them to my mirror so I'll remember them! 

Good luck with all of your new goals for the new year! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 4 Favorite Food Network Stars

In this rather relaxing phase of my life I'm getting in plenty of TV time. It's no big secret that I LOVE the Food Network.... actually I love any show that offers cooking instruction. (Maybe I should have gone to cooking school!) 

I really think that I could watch cooking shows all day and not get bored of it. I think it's one of the only things that I just LOVE to learn. 

So I decided to blog about my personal favorite food network stars. Here are my top 4! 

 4. Paula Deen
My belly certainly can not handle her meals very often but goodness I just love watching her. She got such a fun personality and recently she's had lots of fun guests on her show. I love it when her son Bobby joins her and often makes lighter dishes. She rightfully deserves to be on my top list! 

3. Rachel Ray
I was a fan of Rachel Ray a long time ago when we first got cable and I discovered the Food Network. I got a bit burnt out on her though because all of a sudden the whole world seemed to be in love with her and she was everywhere. Lately I've been recording her talk show (which isn't on Food Network) and I love it. She uses such good ingredients and her food is always so fresh. Gotta love her!

3. Ree Drummond 
OK so the Pioneer Woman hasn't seen too much of the Food Network yet but it's coming. According to the Food Network she'll have new shows in January! Woo hoo! I love her family, her style, and of course her food! I think I'm such a huge fan because she literally taught me how to cook. From chopping onions and peppers to braising meets to rolling out pie dough..... I've learned a lot from her. 

1. Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) 
I haven't always been a big fan of Ina, but as I've gotten older and actually am in the kitchen a lot more, I've learned to appreciate the many things she brings to the table. Her style is simple yet elegant. She doesn't make anything too dressy... but it always looks fit for the fancy. All of her recipes that I've used have turned out fabulous. I love the ingredients she uses and I love the things she cooks. I ALWAYS look forward to her show on Saturday morning! 

So there you have it! My top 4 favorite food network stars! Who's yours? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

chores chores!

Last week I got behind on chores. Actually it seems I'm always behind on them. I know you're thinking "how many chores can this wife with no children in a one bedroom apartment possible have?"..... and I know I know I don't have that many.

But I'm still managing to be behind. And it drives me crazy. And I know I'm beginning sentences with "and" which is wrong.

So I'm sitting and thinking that I wish I could snap my fingers and everything be perfect. I'll keep it perfect... I just don't want to make it perfect!

But I know it's been perfect before and I haven't kept it up so I know that I'm lying to myself.

I know I know "just wait until you have kids and a house"...... I KNOW! That's why this bothers me! It's only the 2 of us in a small space and I STILL am a lousy housekeeper!

So now that I've vented to you a little bit about the reality of perfect me.... I'm going to get up and clean out fridge, clean our little bathroom, and do a load of hand washed clothes. Then I'm going to make a schedule for my chores. Maybe that will help.

Except.... oops.... it's time to start cooking dinner!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

perfect peace

A few weeks ago a dear friend of the family gave me a book by Sarah Young called "Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence". It has short daily readings that are written like Jesus is directly speaking to you. I tend to read it right before I go to bed so I can ponder it as I try to go to sleep. Tonights was so moving to me that I had to share it with you all.

I know I'm sure to be breaking some sort of copyright law but because hardly anyone reads my blog and I'm not taking any credit for it and because it's so good.... I'm willing to take that risk!

"I am with you in all that you do, even in the most menial task. I am always aware of you, concerned with every detail of your life. Nothing escapes My notice- not even the number of hairs on your head. However, your awareness of My Presence falters and flickers; as a result, your life experience feels fragmented. When your focus is broad enough to include Me in your thoughts, you feel safe and complete. When your perception narrows so that problems or details fill your consciousness, you feel empty and incomplete.

Learn to look steadily at Me in all your moments and all your circumstance. Though the world in unstable and in flux, you can experience continuity through your uninterrupted awareness of My Presence. Fix your gaze on what is unseen, even as the visible world parades before your eyes."

Wow... I don't think there is a more fitting thought for me to read. Now, I am very thankful for my current job, but there are many times when I feel shame in being an aid... a lunch lady. I certainly did not want that for my future when I was in high school. (I'm just being real with you). When I first started my job, I met a wonderful woman who is also an aid. We both studied religious matters in school and are in a little bit of the same situation. Her positive attitude and continual reference to the Lord has helped me to see God at work in my life through this job, and has helped me to find the blessing in it. And when I'm focusing on how God is working in my life I feel completely at peace.

In reality, from time to time, I get distracted from my God and His purpose and I grow anxious and unhappy with myself. I loose sight of the unseen because I'm only focusing on what I can see right now.

At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to focus on the word "peace". I think the greatest lesson I've experienced this year is that true peace ONLY comes from finding God at work in your life. For feeling God's presence in my life has brought about the greatest sense of peace I could have ever hoped for.

So go back and read that excerpt from the book and give it another thought. I hope you'll find encouragement in it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a call

I while back I was given a difficult situation at work and, of course, I immediately began to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and completely out of my element. I wanted to run away -right then and there- just so I wouldn’t have to figure it out. Have you ever been there?  It took me a couple of days before I was reminded that I could pray about the situation. I tried to approach God with humbleness. My first thoughts were, “Dear Lord, I’m approaching you tonight simply because of the amazing truth that you are my Lord. I know that you’ve got the power to get me through anything.”

As I started to elaborate to the Lord about my situation, my mind began to drift a little bit. Then, like lightning, a solution to my problem came to me. I suddenly felt silly for being so overwhelmed in the first place. I knew right away my Lord heard me and had brought me the peace I was seeking. It was incredible.

I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies”, says David to the Lord after he was saved from his enemies. (Psalm 18:3)

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord is my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he was delighted in me”, sang David to the Lord. (Psalm 18:16-19)

Sure, my problem was completely trivial compared to David’s problems, but I still called to God. He took hold of me and cleared my mind so that I might see a solution! He was there for me to lean on for support. He rescued me from my anxiety. Praise be to God!

It’s a simple lesson I’ve heard all my life- cast your burdens onto God.  Yet time and time again I try to rely upon myself. Sometimes I remember to pray, but lack the faith that God will deliver. When I surrender my problems to Him in full faith, I’m always amazed. God hears my prayer and he delivers.

When we call to the Lord, He will take hold of us, support us, and rescue us. You might not always receive the peace you desire right away, but if you hold tight and continue to lean on God, He will provide the support you need and He will deliver you!

I hope my testimony will remind you of the times you’ve felt God at work in your life. Never forget those works of the Lord! Use them as fuel for your spiritual life, and may you be reminded and encouraged to always call on the Lord!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the thing about mornings

I'm going to make a confession. I'm not a morning person.

I have oh so many horrible memories of being woken up growing up. Like my daddy coming in singing "It's time to get up" to the tune of "The Adam's Family"... or my daddy taking off my blankets and tickling me until I just about went into cardiac arrest..... and of course the all popular phrase "WAKEY WAKEY"! But I don't have him around to wake me up these days.

I'm currently working 11:00- 5:30. With no important obligations (Unless you consider chores important and I don't when I'm sleeping!) it's super easy to sleep until 9:45. I know.... that's awful. I am trying REALLY REALLY hard to not sleep in that late though.

Here is what happens:
Alarm is set for 7
I snooze for an hour
I check all of my e-mails on my phone (still in bed)
I check all Facebook statuses on my phone (still in bed)
I think to myself.... come on Kristin.... you need to get up.
I think about what I need to do.
I think to myself.... come on Kristin.... you need to get up.
Then I look at my e-mail one more time..... you know.... to make sure nothing new happened.
Then I think to myself... KRISTIN GET UP!
Then I get up.
Then I'm all stiff cause I guess I don't sleep in a good position or something.
So I go sit on the couch and get on my computer.

Now, I do a bit better when I have something specific going on. Or on Saturdays and Sundays when Blake sleeps late.... I tend to wake up early naturally. But when he isn't here..... I could sleep ALL day.

I really hope that I can get better at this whole waking up thing. I've never in my life been good at it though so I'm not so sure.

A girl can dream though!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

To want or not want a dog?

I want a doggy. But then I don't want one. And then I want one again.

Here are the cons:
-They get stinky
- I hate the smell of pet food
-You have to pick up their poop
-They might bark too much and annoy the neighbors
-It might be mean to me....
-Shed.... eww I hate hair
-What if it's sick.... that's expensive!
-What to do when I travel?

Here are the pros:
-A sweet little thing to cuddle with
-I'll have someone to enjoy casual walks in the park with
-I'll have something to talk to when I'm home alone so I don't feel crazy talking to myself
-They are just so darn cute

My practical side and my dreamy side are at odds right now. I don't know what this girl is to do. The husband doesn't want one... so there is no way I can convince him if I'm not fully committed to wanting one.

Hmmm..... maybe I just need to get a stuffed animal dog and sit it in my lap and pretend it's a real dog? No... that's not the same thing.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

how I make egg whites edible

I love eggs. They are quick to make and on days when I don't feel like doing much I opt for eggs. If it's breakfast I typically just eat one whole egg, but if it's lunch or dinner and I need a larger main dish I use 1 egg and 2 egg whites. Egg whites tend to be very bland in my opinion and also watery. No amount of spices can fix them. What can fix them is a little egg yolk! So.... 1 egg plus 2 whites.

 OK, I promise I'm not making a photo tutorial for how to make scrambled eggs. I just want to share what I do to spice up my eggs (which have the potential to be awfully bland. I add McCormick Garlic Pepper Seasoning... it's yummy! Then I crack some more pepper in them along with a sprinkle of Kosher salt. I add whatever fresh herb I happen to have on hand. Today it was thyme. But chives or basil or cilantro or parsley would be divine as well. 

I also like to add cheese to my eggs as they are cooking. I'm particularly fond of parmesan blends. 

Serve it up with some bread and fresh fruit! 

The eggs (cheese included) are 4 WW plus points. A Sister Schubert's  Roll is 4 as well. Fruit is free so here ya go- a filling and well balanced 8 point lunch. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Strong Deliverer

One of the many things I learned as I matured out of my teen years was that every one faces hard times. I’m sure that anyone I ask would be able to tell me something that is going on in his or her life that is difficult.

When I think of human struggles in the Bible, it is the Israelites that first come to my mind. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like to be treated horribly as a slave and then to be delivered by God, only to find yourself in a place that makes you long for the life of a slave.  It’s easy for us to think of them as selfish and complainers- but it must have been awful in that desert if they longed to be slaves again! I’m sure they often wondered why their God of deliverance brought them more struggle.  Do we ourselves often wonder why God brings us struggle?

 Deuteronomy 8:2-3 reads:
“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger, and then feeding you with manna, which neither   you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”.

 So I’d like to encourage you to think about how God might be testing you when you face struggles. What might God be trying to teach you? Is He trying to humble you? Maybe He wants to see if your heart is right behind your good deeds. Perhaps God wants to teach you to trust Him or to depend on His promises rather the promises of the world. What ever your struggles might be, look for how God might be working through them to deliver you. It’s always a little more encouraging to focus on how God is working in us rather than focusing on how Satan is working to get us! If we allow Him, the God who delivered the Israelites will deliver us too!  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

a little bit of difference in my life

I think it's interesting how different God designs his children. We express ourselves differently, we think differently, we react differently, our abilities are different, our instincts are different. Face it- we are just so different! 

I see this a lot in me and Blake. Don't get me wrong, we have plenty alike.... but it feels like the differences are often what's most apparent. And I love our differences... through at times it can make things challenging... in the end it keeps us balanced. It always makes things interesting to say the least. Here are some of the things I notice the most. 

- He likes pizza more than any food in the world and could eat it every day. When I think of that I think of my throat exploding from acid reflux. I'd much rather have ice cream every day! (Savory vs. sweet)

- He likes things done in a timely fashion and does them in a timely fashion. I think the word for that would be punctual... am I right? Well as much as I like the idea of things done in a timely fashion.... I don't carry it out. I am my father's daughter. For example..... it took me over a month to take my car title into the car agency to get it transferred to my name and registered in Oklahoma. Blake would have had that done the day after he received the title. 

- Blake thinks dishes should be done right after dinner. I realize this is what many people think... but for some reason it's the last thing I want to do. I'd rather get back to it. I will be teaching my kids how to do dishes from a very early age. I don't like them. 

- Blake likes dirty dishes to go on the counter.... I like them to go in the sink.... if there are dirty dishes in the sink he will request I take care of them so that he can do the rest. It's funny. (Of course the logical person would say... hey they go in the dishwasher!) Why do we have such differences! 

- He is very private. I.... as you might have guessed... am not! I can't keep anything in to save my life. Don't worry friends... I've never kept any big secrets inside. I'm the worst secret keeper ever. But it's also that I have this need inside of me to share what's going on in my mind and if I don't then I can't sleep or focus on anything else. It's like a kid who needs his recess time to run out his energy. I need talking time to get out everything on my mind. (I actually have always thought it'd be fun to have a therapist just so I had someone who HAD to listen to everything on my mind) Blake on the other hand only tells when it needs to be told. I need him in my life to keep from spilling my every thought (which are not always good ones!) to everyone! 

- Blake underestimates.... I over estimate. This goes for time, money, whatever. For example he thought we could move apartments across town in a couple of hours. I thought it would take like the entire day. We were both wrong! Or I might say it takes an hour to get somewhere, he says 30 minutes... in reality it's 45. We need each other!

-Blake likes PC and I like Mac. Enough said. Don't even get me started on this one. We feel VERY strongly about our sides and a casual convo can quickly turn ugly! 

-Blake likes to deal with things (or talk about things) the next day.... or plan a time to deal with them. Not me! I've got to deal with it right then when it happens. Even if it's 11pm... or 2 am! If I don't, I can think of nothing else! Oh boy!

-Blake shops with a plan of action.... I prefer to browse. Even though I take my list into the grocery store I must look down every row. I have to look at everything in the store... every week. (But for real.... if I go to the store looking for a certain style shirt... I won't be able to find it... I will however be able to find a cute pair of shoes on sale... that's how it works for me!)

Through all of our differences (and there are plenty more) I'm so glad we share our love for the Lord, our love for each other,  and our love for ROAD TRIPS, Food Network, House Hunters, NON beach vacations, conservative politics, quality food, and cozy holidays. There are so many times when I think, "oh my goodness I'm so glad I'm with you because I don't think anyone else would agree with me on this... or understand why I want this". Even though there are so many times I feel like we are not "getting" each other.... I know we really do understand each other in the end. 

It's funny being married and the things that you learn. It's only been 17 months of marriage, but I've learned a great deal! One of those things I've learned is "Find the things you do have in common and save them for a grumpy day! Meaning.... when those differences get frustrating (and they certainly do)... remember the similarities and focus on them instead! 

I hope this didn't bore you to sleep.... if anyone actually read this! If ya did thanks for hanging in there with me! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

spiritual thoughts: focusing on his love

One of the greatest advantages of my job at the christian school is that I'm surrounded by people who draw to God on a daily basis. When someone feels the least bit anxious about something, it's quite normal to hear things like: "well, pray about it", "I'll be praying for you", "all you can do is pray about it". This type of environment has really done wonders for my prayer life.

What used to be a routine evening prayer in my journal (which followed the traditional format of praise, thank, ask, confess, thank, praise, in Jesus name amen) has turned into praying all through out the day.

These prayers are not done in a way of talking to a friend either. I want to be very reverent to my heavenly father. What I've found myself doing is drawing near to God in the midst of stress, or happiness, or whatever my emotion might be.

Little things come up all time, and when I feel anxious I praise God for being a mighty and awesome God who is powerful and loving enough to bring me peace and strength. When I feel happy about something I praise God for making all things good. I've learned to continually praise God throughout the day for his greatness. I don't know that I've ever felt closer to God. I can feel him working on me and working in my life.

This is a song that's been on my mind. It's all about praising God through it all and finding strength through Him... and most importantly gaining strength FROM praising Him. Copy and paste the following link into your browser and take a few minutes to reflect on the message of this song. Take a moment to reflect on God's great love for us. Read through the lyrics.

Your Love O Lord- Third Day

Your love, oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow of your wings

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the yummiest flaky pastry dough (great for fruit pies!)

I want to share with you my favorite pie crust recipe. It's different than any recipe I see on cooking blogs, cook books, and it's different than the recipes people have given me. That's why I feel it is worth sharing! Most pie crust recipes contain shortening or lard, this recipe is ALL butter. 

Butter, though it has a bad rep, is truly a wonderful thing and in most circumstances it is the fat I choose to use. It's natural and pure.... and let me tell ya I LOVE the results. 

Before I get into this I have to tell that, no, I didn't make it up, it's from my Williams Sonoma Baking Book. It's untraditional. It's a bit thicker and it tastes different- it's so very yummy though. 

Some might think because it has sugar that it isn't good for savory pies and they would be wrong! I use this for my chicken pot pie and it's wonderful! So take a look and maybe someday you might want to try it! :)

Here is what you'll need: 
2.5 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of unsalted butter, and 6 tablespoons of ice cold water (I like to sprinkle some cinnamon in it if it's for a fruit pie... that's my own little thing)

Begin by cutting the butter into small squares. Place them in the freezer as you get your other ingredients together. You want your butter COLD!

Put all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and combine. 

Add butter to bowl and toss with a fork to coat all of the pieces. 

Now.... You COULD use a pastry cutter which is perfectly normal and handy. 

But if you've got a stand mixer this is the easiest way to do it. 

Using a paddle attachment on your mixer, combine on low to medium speed until the biggest butter pieces are the size of peas. 

Slowly add the water, one tablespoon at a time until your dough is all stuck together. (And your mixer goes "ker plunk ker plunk") You probably will not need all of the water it depends on the humidity. 

Divide dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and place in the fridge. I will tell you this dough does the best when rolled right away! So be quick about how you do this! 

Place the other half on a sheet of LIGHTLY floured parchment paper and form into a disk. 

Next, place another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. (I learned this trick from Pioneer Woman) 

Roll out your dough! 

Roll it out to a 12 inch circle. 

Very gently, remove the top piece of parchment paper. 

Place on top of your pie pan to get an idea of how to center it. 

Swiftly, flip it over and gently remove the parchment paper. Press into the dish. Trim the edges then place in the fridge. 

Prepare your filling and roll out your top crust. 

Dump in your filling and place your top crust on in the same fashion as the bottom crust and seal the edges. Make some slits in it. (I like to sprinkle sugar on top for extra sweetness)

Bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Place foil around the edges for the first 30 minutes. 

Like I said before, the crust is a little different. It's a bit thicker and will almost remind you of a shortbread cookie. It's so yummy though! 

I would show you a pice of the pie once cut, but I'm taking this to our church home group tonight! 

Anyways, pies are yummy and always a crowd pleaser. I love making them! Hope you'll try this! 

Flaky Pastry Dough
Williams Sonoma Baking Book

2.5 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
6 tablespoons of ice water

Fit mixer with paddle attachment if using. Combine the dry ingredients. Add butter and toss with a fork to coat. Mix on medium low until the butter pieces resemble small peas. Or cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Add the water slowly until the dough pulls together. 

This dough should be rolled right away for best results! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

what a month

As I was laying in bed tonight my brain began to wander. Got lots on the mind.... I still need to get a birthday card for Blake (who's birthday is tomorrow), I never laminated my seating charts today like I planned on, I never turned off the laminator so I hope someone did, I really like my new Wednesday night bible class, I've gained too much weight, my tea burned my tongue. Anyways.... I decided to get up.

I still can't believe it's September. So much has happened to me in the past month. We moved, I quit my job, found a new one, and started it, we've found a church home and we've got new furniture being delivered in a couple of weeks! Lots of changes. Lots of big changes....

Ok the furniture not so much... although I can't stop dreaming about how this will be our dinning table where we eat our holiday meals years and years to come... and where we'll eat with kids we might some day have.... and where I'll serve many new dishes I learn to make. Where I'll host Sunday dinners for other church members.... can you tell I'm a dreamer?

Anyways with all of this change, I've been able to accomplish the one goal I made for the new year that I didn't think I'd actually find. It was PEACE. My goal was to find peace with myself. That is exactly what I've done this past month. Even though I might not be at peace with my weight and my ability to maintain goals.... I'm at peace with my relationship with God and I'm at peace with my inner being. I'm at peace with the fact that I'm not a children's minister, and that I'm in a job that isn't centered around my degree. It was only through all of my struggles that I was able to find peace. God sure does work in mysterious ways.

One thing I do know is that God is awesome. My God has given me the ability to dream  I dream of everything I want to be- of who God might want me to be. One of my favorite things to do is to just sit and think.... not do anything but think. It's my thinking that's brought me to where I am today. My wild brain... overly emotional, sensitive thinking. God knows exactly what I need. I thank Him for the changes he's given me this past month, and I'm thankful for the peace he's brought my way.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Photo Cooking Tutorial: Beef and Pepper Stir Fry

I want to share with you one of the first meals I made for Blake when we got married. I've made this dish many times and it's always a hit! Beef and Pepper Stir Fry! This can serve 2-4 people. It just depends on how hungry you are and what you are eating it with! 

Here is what you'll need! 
cornstarch, sherry or beef broth, soy sauce, garlic, crushed red pepper, 1 lb top sirloin, oil, green and red pepper

The first thing you need to do is measure out all ingredients. Things happen fast with stir fry! 

Chop the tops and bottoms off of the peppers. 

Next chop them vertically and rip out the innards. 

Chop into thin strips. 

Chop beef into thin strips. 

Mix half of the cornstarch, sherry, and soy sauce. Then add red pepper flakes and garlic. (*Go easy on the red pepper if you don't like the heat... it gets hot!)

Use your hands to add the meat, and rub the mixture all over the meat. 

In another bowl or cup, mix a half cup of water with the remaining sherry, soy sauce, and corn starch. 

Next heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Don't use olive oil because it can't handle medium high heat. Use something like safflower or canola. 

Cook the peppers for about a minute or so. They should be crisp tender. Remove to a plate. 

Add half of the beef and cook for about a minute on each side. 

Add to the plate of peppers. Cook the remaining meat. 

Add the peppers and meat to the pan. Then give the liquid mixture you made another whisk and add to the pan. Let it get to a boil and cook for a couple minutes to thicken. 

Serve with rice or Chow mien noodles. 

Now I must be honest..... this was my first time to not serve it with rice and Blake wasn't very thrilled. I can agree with him... it's much better with rice!

Here is the recipe!

Beef and Pepper Stir Fry
Taste of Home: The Complete Guide to Country Cooking 

2 TB cornstarch, divided
4 TB sherry or beef broth, divided
4 TB soy sauce, divided
1 garlic glove, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound top sirloin, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
3 TB oil, divided
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
Chor mein noodles or hot cooked rice

In a medium bowl, combine 1 TB cornstarch, 2 TB sherry, 2 TB soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes. Add beef and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine water with remaining cornstarch, sherry and soy sauce. Set aside.

In a wok or skillet, heat 1 TB oil over medium-high. Add peppers, stir fry for 1 minute or until crisp tender. Remove to a plate.

Add remaining oil and add half of the meat; stir fry until no longer pink. (About 2 minutes) Remove to the plate and cook the remaining meat.

Add the peppers and meat back to the skillet. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil. Stir constantly until thickened. Cook one minute longer. Serve immediately over chow mean noodles or rice.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Well folks.... here is the deal. I should not blog about my goals.... it clearly brings me bad luck and does not not work for me mentally. I was doing wonderful with my goal before I shared it with people. Something about sharing goals with people puts pressure on me.... and when I face pressure I just back away. For example... in high school... and in college.... when finals rolled around.... I didn't study.... because I felt too pressured. When I feel pressured I simply walk away. It's not a trait I'm particularly proud of.... it's just something I've noticed about myself and I'm learning to deal with. So I'm not going to add pressure onto my health goals... because it doesn't give me the results I want.

Basically I only exercised 20 min on Thursday... I didn't do it yesterday... and today it didn't happen. This is what happens when I tell people about my goals. I do much better when I keep my mouth shut.

So I won't be sharing my goals anymore... it simply doesn't help! I just share with you my results.... which will hopefully be good!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Well I've made a goal this week. To walk for one hour every evening this week. (On the treadmill of course) I love that our fitness room has individual TVs (with cable) attached to every machine. So far, I've made it 3 days. I hope that next week I will be able to tell you that I did it every day! I've also been trying to drink a cup of tea every evening.... which is super easy to do when I've got my yummy orange cinnamon tea from Seattle.... I might have to order some more!

Next week I'm going to add another goal into my life. Oatmeal for breakfast! That's a hard one for me! I love breakfast food.... LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And I love it for breakfast time the best :) It is my favorite meal to eat of the day.... when I wake up breakfast is what gets me out of bed. I've got some amazing oatmeal though that has dried apples and flax seed and is just really yummy and I need to eat it up. So next week that's my goal... and trust me I don't plan to keep that one forever but I would like to get in the habit of eating healthier breakfast.... rather than an indulgent one.

So hopefully next week I can tell you that my one hour walk go is going well and that I've started my oatmeal goal strong.

Goals are good.... they give me focus. I've never been that great at keeping them. I figure if I make them short term, realistic, and have accountability I'll succeed!

That's what's going on with me!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

let nothing move you

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
~1 Corinthians 15:58~

I love the book of 1 Corinthians. Paul wrote this book to encourage and guide a group of Christians. When I think of the persecution and mixed messages that Christians must have been faced with during that time I feel so lucky to live in the bible belt of the good ol' United States of America.

It's these letters that truly help us to see the product of Christ's teaching and if we truly study them they can offer us so much guidance.

I find so much beauty and comfort in this verse. "Stand firm. Let nothing move you." Those are powerful words. Stand firm in our faith, our happiness, our hope, our light.... stand firm in everything that sets us apart from those who do not know Christ.

Others devote their labor to themselves and to their families. There are also many non Christians who do great things for other people..... consider Ellen Degenerous. (or however you spell her name) She isn't a Christian and yet she does amazing things for people and stands for many good causes and preaches that people shouldn't bully each other in school. When I see non christians who do so many nice things for people it makes me realize, that as Christians we've constantly got to be stepping up our game. We all want Christians to be respected, to have a reputation for being giving, and loving.

Lately it seems that the media portrays Christians to be judgmental and anything but loving. I say this not to be "Negative Nancy", but to be honest. We've got to continually up our game to show others the type of Christian that Christ calls us to be.

So let's remember to stand firm in Christ and let nothing move us. We should devote ourselves to accomplishing great things for the kingdom. Doing so will bring our Lord much glory. That sort of work is not in vain.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photo Tutorial: Oven- Baked Chicken Tenders

I realize that I'm not the next greatest food blogger, and that's fine... I really do not have that ambition. I enjoy taking pictures of my cooking process because it's fun and relaxing and there is a lot of beauty in food. One day, I hope to have kids of my own and I want to be able to pass the joy of cooking down to them. I've learned to cook by using photo tutorials and recipes that include step by step pictures. My idea is that one day I'll have a good collection of photo led recipes for my children when they get older so that they will learn to make the recipes of their childhood.

In honor of childhood I want to share one of my favorite treats to make- oven fried chicken fingers!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush 1/4th cup of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. See all of the brown on the pan.... these chicken fingers have created those marks.... I'm just preparing you for it!

Take 3 chicken breasts and cut each into 4 strips. (Note... I only used 2)

You'll need 3 shallow bowls. Add 1/2 cup flour to one bowl, 4 egg whites to another, and 1 cup of bread crumbs to another. Easy peasy folks!

To each bowl add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and a few cracks of pepper

To the breadcrumbs add 1/2 cup of freshly shredded or grated Parmesan cheese. Then add 2 teaspoons of your favorite herb seasoning mix. (Another alternative is 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon of thyme) Mix up the ingredients in all 3 bowls.

This is my favorite seasoning. My parents introduced me to it. I don't know where it's sold other than Whole Foods.... hopefully the OKC Whole Foods will open before this bottle runs out! I love this stuff!

One by one.... dip a strip in the flour...coat well... shake off excess... then coat with egg mixture... then roll in the bread crumb mixture. Place on pan.... do this with all of the strips. (I didn't take pictures of each step because it was almost 7 and I was getting a little speedy)

ALSO! At this point you can put them in the fridge uncovered for a few hours and it will actually make the crust crispier... I didn't do it this time though.

Bake for 8 minutes. Then flip each strip and cook 10 minutes longer. Be sure to cut into the largest strip to make sure there is no pink!

These are real easy to make but do involve some love and anyone you make them for will enjoy them! Also... if you have kids it seems like this could be fun to make with them.... let them get the dirty fingers instead of you!

Here is the quick recipe:

Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers from Williams-Sonoma's Family Meals Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup plain bred crumbs
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon fresh thyme & 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley (OR 2 teaspoons of your favorite herb seasoning)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each cut into 4 strips

1. Preheat oven to 425. Pour the oil into a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Place the flour, egg whites, and bread crumbs into 3 separate bowls. Line them up in that order. Season each bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir the Parmesan and herbs into the bread crumbs.

3. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the flour and tap off the excess, and then dip them into the egg whites and allow the excess to drip off. Finally, roll in the bread crumbs and place on the prepared pan, spacing them 1-2 inches apart. (At this point the chicken can be refrigerated, uncovered, for a few hours. The coating will dry out a bit and will crisp better in the oven)

4. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the pieces over and continue to bake until golden and opaque thought, 8-10 minutes longer. Serve right away!

Serves 4-6