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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Country French Omelet Photo Tutorial

I'm not a huge fan of omelets. I am a huge fan of Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa. For those of you who are not obsessed with the Food Network, Ina has a very elegant yet simple style of cooking. She cooks lots of french food and this particular dish is copied from one of her favorite restaurants in Paris. When I saw her making this my mouth was watering... bacon, potatoes, bacon... YUM!

This is not cooked at all in the way you'd prepare a traditional omelet- no flipping involved... that's what makes this omelet so easy! I hope you'll enjoy this photo tutorial and be inspired to make this dish yourself!

Here is what you will need:

eggs, chopped yukon gold potato, milk, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, chopped bacon, butter, olive oil, and green onion or fresh chives

First heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a 10 in skillet/ omelet pan. (Note: Use a pan that is oven proof) It's important you heat the oil on medium LOW heat.

Add the bacon and cook about 5 minutes on medium LOW heat. If you have the heat too hot you'll know because your oil will be popping violently (and it will pop out and burn your foot.... no that never happened to me....maybe) You want the bacon to brown but not get crisp.

When your bacon is browned, but not crisp... remove with a slotted spoon to a plate... no paper towel please.

Add the potatoes to the pan, add salt and pepper, and cook for 8- 10 min... do not up the temp! Turn frequently so that they brown evenly and you'll be happy with the little treasures you create!

*Be careful when you add the potatoes... hot oil will splatter!

As they are cooking combine eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some freshly cracked pepper with a fork. Whisk very fast and very well. Just trust me.... if you think you've whisked it enough... whisk it some more. You want them very whisked.

Look at those potatoes... they look amazing just like this.

When your potatoes are tender and browned, remove to your bacon plate. Discard the grease from the skillet.

Now this next step might seem a little unnecessary if your using a non stick pan, but trust me... just trust me.., you'll be so glad you didn't skip it. The first time I made this, I skipped this step, then I followed this step the next time and was amazed. So live a little it's only one tablespoon.

Melt 1 table spoon of butter on the pan over LOW LOW heat. As it melts twirl the pan around so that the entire bottom of the skillet and some of the edge is covered with butter bubbles.

Next, poor the eggs into the pan. Disperse the potatoes, bacon, and green onion/ chives in the egg mixture.

Bake in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees and then it's ready! Remember to use a potholder to take your pan out... it's hot :)

This is technically 2 servings, but if you decide to serve it with biscuits or toast and fruit it can easily serve 4.

Blake would love for me to make this with some sausage... and sure you can add all the flavors you want but I really think the reason I love this is because of the "french" flavor. I'm not fond of the the traditional omelet flavors anyways.

This is very simple to make but it will taste and look very special! This is just such a wonderful meal and I hope you'll make this and love it too! Here is the recipe:

Country French Omelet by Ina Garten

1 TB olive oil
3 slices of thick bacon, cut into 1 in slices
1 cup, unpeeled chopped Yukon gold potato (1 in pieces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5 extra-large eggs
3 TB milk
1 TB butter
1 TB fresh chopped chives or green onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat olive oil in an oven proof 10 in. skillet over med- low heat. Add bacon and cook about 5 minutes on medium low heat until browned but not crisp. Remove to a plate.

Add potatoes and sprinkle salt and pepper, cook 8-10 minutes stirring frequently in order to brown them evenly. Cook until they are browned and tender. Remove to plate.

Meanwhile, combine eggs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk very well with a fork.

After potatoes are removed, discard the oil. Add butter to pan and melt over very low heat. Coat pan with the melted butter and add the eggs. Poor the potatoes, bacon, and green onion onto the egg mixture evenly.

Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

rising above the weight of the world

"Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40: 30-31

The past few months I've found my heart to be heavy in self pity. I was approaching graduation, and though that brought great joy, the realization that I didn't have a job as a children's minister was lurking in my mind. These are some of the thoughts that often came to me:
"People will think I picked a bad major"
"Every one will think I wasted my time getting a degree I'm not using"
"Am I disappointing my parents after they've invested so much time money in my education?"

"I won't be representing the OC children's ministry program very well if I don't find a job as a children's minister"

These thoughts were like poison to me and I wallowed myself in agonizing self pity. I found a job as an assistant teacher at a child development center and I dreaded every morning I woke up. I was thankful to the Lord for helping me find a job, but I wasn't happy at all. I knew that my parents still loved me and that they were not disappointed. I knew it didn't matter what others thought. I knew it was important I got a degree. I could find little happiness though.

During this time, I'd been reminded to go back to God in prayer continuously. It is my greatest joy to be able to share with you what has been shown to me through my time with the Lord.

I've learned that all of my negativity wasn't coming from me it was coming from the evil one. Let me remind you that Satan can send some powerful negativity. That stuff is so powerful that if you are not on your guard you will be pulled under by it. That is what happened to me. I was unable to feel as close to God as I wanted to, because I was trapped under the heavy burden of self pity. When I finally remembered to draw to God I had instant results.

I've taken on a job at Southwest Covenant Christian School as the elementary lunch supervisor and the director of the after care. It sounds like a "thankless" job and in many ways is but I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I am in such an encouraging environment that is full of optimism. What sticks out to me the most at SWCS, is the love of the Lord. All of the teachers and staff are constantly talking about how God is working in their life- it's in their casual conversation in the break room. It is so encouraging and I know that the Lord called me to work there because I needed that. I needed to be lifted up. I know that he also wanted me to find humility in a job of service. He wants me to serve at this school that is helping families to raise spiritual champions. I am right where he wants me to be.

I have my entire life to use my degree, and I must never loose sight as to why I chose to major in ministry. God gave me unique experiences as a daughter of ministers so that I might be able to do great things for the kingdom. That is why I majored in ministry- NOT so that I'd become a staffed children's minister. I wanted the education so that I would be able to take it with me where ever I go and serve my God where ever I have the opportunity to do so.

We will all face hard times, but it is only when we put all of our hope in the Lord that we will truly be lifted up. We must always be on our guard so that, with the help of the Lord we will always be able to fight the weight of the world. No matter what is weighing you down, the Lord will help you rise above if you trust in Him!

I want to share with you one the most inspiring songs in my life. It's called "Ready to Fly" and it's by FFH. This song has spoken to me for a long time. When I was in high school it reminded me of how I was ready to be on my own, now it speaks to me in a different way. When we stay in our sorrows and struggles we are grounded to the world. We are chained to Satan. But when we put our hope in the Lord he will give us the strength we need to rise above it all and sore with wings of eagles.

Copy and paste the link in your browser!

Friday, August 5, 2011

friday night thoughts

1. There is a new outlet mall in Yukon for the OKC metro area. It's a pretty big deal because there are no outlet malls in the small state of Oklahoma. And let's face it the one in Gainsville, TX is pretty awful. The mall opened it's doors this weekend and lets just say that I don't want to be around the place. The small amount of parking is packed for tax free weekend and the new novelty of the whole thing. It's an outdoor style mall, I think that's a bad idea for a place that has brutal summers and winters, but hey no one asked me. I'm pretty excited about the place, don't get me wrong. I don't think I'll be hitting it up when the weather is over 100 degrees though. It's so crowded those crazy people have to be so so hot. You'll park your car in the dirt due to lack of parking space, then you'll shuffle through people outdoors and go inside to crowded stores, waiting in long lines to both try clothes on and check out. My strategy is to wait until we are in the low 80's and hit it up then. I am hopefully awaiting the day though. Fall can't get here soon enough.

2. In case you didn't know, "The Pioneer Woman" is my favorite blog to read. She is amazing. I'm so excited that she is going to have a show on Food Network. It'll be on Saturdays and you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be setting the DVR and not missing a single episode of her amazing life and dishes. I was telling my mom that I've never been THIS obsessed about a "celeb" like person before. When I was browsing her bio on the Food Network site I actually cried a bit. I think I'll write her a letter and tell her thank you so much for teaching me to cook.

3. Today was my last day to work for the Y. The kids and my co teacher did a cheer for me when I walked in the room this morning and I was greeted with many hugs. It's amazing... you can gripe and gripe at kids and at the end of the day they still want to sit in your lap so you can tickle them and love on them. And yes.... I loved on my kids. Many of them were there for over 9 hours a day and I think they need hugs... lots of hugs... and cuddle time... and the occasional kiss on the forehead for a few reserved favorites of mine. But this is a whole different subject. My point it... it's amazing how kids love the people who have to give them so much restriction and direction. It's just proof that kids need structure in their lives.

4. Blake and I watched the newer Alice in Wonderland movie.... we recorded it one time when it was on TV. It's so weird and I don't think I ever want to watch it again. I don't care if it's more like the original book or whatever it was just creepy. I don't recommend it at all.

5. Winnie the Pooh is now in some theaters. I really want to see it. The other day I was talking about it to kids at work and they had no clue who Winnie the Pooh was.... or Piglet... or Tigger... or Rabbit.... I was sad. I searched and searched and found a torn up book in another classroom and I blew off the dust and brought it to them. Then I told them about the wonderful stories. My kids were not impressed. It was a sad day. When I have kids I refuse to let them watch the new stuff.... only the old stuff that I watched... because it's way better. OK not really.... maybe. Oh gee my doctor was right I am an "old soul".

6. I'm SO ready for fall. Now that I'm no longer a student, summer is officially my least favorite season. There are no big holidays except for the 4th, and it's too hot. I don't like hot. I like perfect. But I really prefer cold any day over this awful heat. Think about it.... it's soooo much fun to have an ice day and stay inside and watch old movies, bake cookies, and drink hot cocoa and cider and have the windows open with the narnia land in the background. And Christmas tree lights... oh and Christmas music..... oh gee it's so much better than summer! Plus Fall brings football and that's fun! I think I'll be writing a blog about everything I love about fall.

This blog is getting too long so I'll stop writing my thoughts. If you happened to actually read this all.... which I doubt anyone did.... I love you!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

an almost midnight idea

I saw this picture online tonight. It's originally from Country Living's webpage. The idea is to use new stamps to press images onto shortbread cookies. Well I know that Christmas is a long way away but I have an idea that I MUST follow through with this year for the holidays. I'm going to make these cookies and use skewers to make holes in them (a suggestion from Country Living) and lace them with ribbon, and hang them on a mini Christmas Tree. Here is the catcher.... it won't be for decoration... it'll be my way of serving them.

Anyways... I really want to do it. The problem is that I always say I'm going to do something and then I don't follow through. However... perhaps if I share it with you then I will feel more motivated to follow through come the time.

So anyways there was my little "almost midnight idea"!