Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How great thou art

This morning on my drive to work I was admiring the sunrise and reminded of the Lord’s Majesty. The Lord who paints the colors into the sky every morning, does so with such ease and all the while loving each of us despite our disobedient nature. Truly, how great thou art!

The skillet is moving up

As you know, when I first started cooking with my cast iron skillet in January there were MANY problems and failed recipes. I got scared of the skillet---how crazy does that sound?! Anyhow, I stuck with it considering everyone’s cast-iron-skillet-wisdom, and honestly I have to say that skillet has definitely moved up the ladder. What I learned- it takes time to season and don’t let it get too hot. Recently I have been selecting dinner menus and recipes based on whether or not I can use my skillet.

Other recipes from last week (some with and some without the use of the skillet): Strawberry Shortcake- This is a PW recipe that Haylee from our Smallgroup made. From the moment we first tasted her cake, I wanted to try it myself. I made this for our Doulos bible study and one of the singles asked me if I would make this for her wedding cake! YES, it really is that delicious, and you must try it! Like Haylee, I used larger strawberry chunks and left it in the oven for 51 minutes giving it a slightly crispy edge with a moist inside. As you can see, mine did not turn out as pretty as the PW’s, so the last picture is borrowed from her website.
Onion Dip- Again this was from my super market line cookbook, and I thought it was a little boring, probably because I’m not a huge fan of onion dips…but I did get to use my skillet, so it was a decent trade-off.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aid Sudan

On Saturday Phil will be running in the Aid Sudan 5k (prayers for a safe run!). Aid Sudan is an inter-denominational non-profit organization working in three locations across the U.S. and targeted regions in Sudan. With few developed schools or medical clinics, and unavailable clean water, the Sudanese have had to largely rely on themselves for survival. In addition to war, disease, & famine, the Sudanese and many have no knowledge of the hope found in Jesus Christ. All profits from the run go towards growing strong Sudanese communities committed to serving Jesus Christ. We encourage you to either pray, serve, or give to this great ministry: http://aidsudan.org/

Bon appétit

Friday morning Phil fluffed my pillows and brought me movies before he went to work since I was stuck at home in bed. I really hate feeling so ill, but on a positive note, I finally, FINALLY, got to see the movie Julie & Julia- the inspiration for the cookbook club I joined last year. Primarily, I found it humorous that Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci , who were co-stars in the Devil Wears Prada, were costars again in completely different roles; wonderful acting talent! In the film there were two stories woven together and from the story of Julia Child I valued the reminder to persevere in the face of life challenges. Child wrote a book on French food yet she didn’t even speak French, and she did so with such a bubbly personality. Alternatively, I identified with Julie- a character who found blogging to be therapeutic and a reflection on reality. From both characters it was nice to be reminded of the value of having a “side thing”- something that is small and challenges you, yet brings you joy; I’m so glad my “side thing” is tasty! My next culinary challenge may be to tackle more of Child’s recipes. By the way, our cookbook blog was Cannon’s featured blog on Monday! I really don't know what that means, but we were.

Anyways, my new recipes from last week: Nilla Caramel Popcorn- This recipe came from the same book as the Oreo Cheesecake that I got in line at the market. The recipe was categorized under “gifts” but I made it for our bible study instead. It was sweet popcorn with caramel and vanilla wafers. Though it called for 12 cups of popcorn, it really didn’t make much. I think once it started heating it shrank or something; to make this is a gift, I will double it next time. Pizza- I used the PW’s recipe for pizza crust again last week. Since the previous pizza I made “didn’t have enough meat,” I decided to try it again to appease the taste-buds in our house. This pizza had sausage, pepperoni, spinach, feta, mozzarella, green peppers, olives, and…well that’s all I can remember. It was received by both of us a lot better than the previous one.
Cheesy Shrimp on Grits Toast- This recipe seemed to go over pretty well last week at Smallgroup. I made a grits toast topped with a shrimp spread. I think next time I will double the recipe so that I have enough. To cut my grits before toasting them, I used a cleaned Hunt's tomato paste can--they really make the best cookie cutters too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

"Blonde Moment"

I made the PW’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake in a Skillet last week for smallgroup, and I think it went over well…at least I hope that it did. I must admit that sometimes I’m guilty of having “blonde moments” and I definitely had one while making this cake. When I was at the last step of the recipe (the part where you flip the cake upside-down), I realized that my skillet was 12 inches……and I don’t have any plates that big. I was frantically looking around for something to flip the cake onto before it cooled, but all I could come up with was a charger. Not only did I forget to get a plate big enough, but the charger that I decided to use was plastic, so the edges were burnt off. Sometimes I just have to laugh at the things I do. Anyhow, here is the cake that I took on a burnt charger to smallgroup.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hawley Lasagna

It was beyond the normal busy this week, so there weren’t very many new recipes this week. Instead I stuck with my trusty staples that I could whip up quickly to get us through the week. I did manage to sneak in one new recipe for one of our bible studies, Oreo Cheesecake Bars. This recipe was not by the PW, Paula Deen, or even the Barefoot Contessa. You know those small recipe booklets in the grocery store line?…Oh yes, I’m a Marketer's dream customer; those $2 recipe books get me every time! Any how I digress, this was a delicious cheesecake filled with oreos and a crush oreo crust.
Even though we just had lasagna a couple weeks ago, Phil & I made another one but according to our own recipe. This was a chance for us to use our fresh herbs; the ones that are growing out of control! Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy, but this is a picture of me with NASA Man at the Rockettes game on Friday night-- I am somewhat still a child, and these characters still fascinate me. This is as close as we have made it to anything NASA-related. With the recent government changes in NASA on the horizon, I think we better make the short trip down the road to check it out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Do you like oregano?

If you do, please let me know and I will bring you some fresh oregano from my "herb garden." I have an abundance of the stuff! The first week I had the herbs I forgot to water them and the oregano was pretty droopy so I figured that it wouldn’t last much longer; but let me tell you, that stuff is resilient. Want some? I’d be more than happy to share with you! In fact, I’d be happy to share any of it with you: Italian parsley, rosemary, or the growing-out-of-control oregano. Look how much they have grown in only 2 weeks (and with only 1 week of water!)
Two weeks ago

Last night. You can really see a difference in the rosemary and the oregano. I have to keep pulling the blinds higher and higher so that the oregano isn't touching it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kemah, Texas

Over the Easter break Phil and I made our first trip to Kemah, Texas. We had heard about Kemah when we first moved to Houston, but hurricane Ike got there before we could. Now that it’s been built back up, we decided to check it out.
The Kemah lighthouse

On our way to Kemah, Phil’s mom called us and said that she just watched an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featuring restaurants in Kemah. She said that we just had to check out T-Bone Tom’s. We had dinner there and ordered the Armadillo Eggs that were mentioned on the show. They were huge mounds of deep-fried BBQ stuffed with jalapenos. They were SPICEY!

The boardwalk

To prove that we were actually there

We took a picture of this because we thought it was neat to see exactly how many miles away Joni and Anthony were. Miss you guys!!!Extreme Home Make-Over renovated a home for an inspirational family, the Beach family, in Kemah a couple months ago and the show aired on Sunday. If you get a chance check out their story on ABC.com, I’m certain you will be filled with hope and reminded of the importance of giving back to others.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cookbook Club Updates

These are the new recipes that I tried last week for the cookbook club: Penne Alla Betsy- From all the alterations I made to this recipe, I’m not sure I can still call it by this name. I used chicken instead of shrimp, whole wheat pasta, and I omitted the wine and basil. I wasn’t too thrilled with this dish, but maybe if I hadn’t made so many alterations I would’ve been. Simple, Perfect Enchiladas- I am not an enchilada aficionado in the least; however, I shocked myself with how delicious these were. I thought this recipe was exhausting, but the final product was totally worth it. What makes this recipe truly delectable is the fresh cilantro….....and the green onions…….oh and the green chilies…mmm and the olives…..ok seriously who am I kidding?! It was all so fantastic and you’re just going to have to see for yourself!
My busy stove!
Perfect Pound Cake & Holiday Bacon Appetizers- I got these 2 off of the PW’s website. While the pound cake was tasty, it was definitely not pretty. Obvious Tip- be sure to grease the bundt pan well so that it comes out in one piece (I clearly forgot that step). For the appetizers, which we decided should be named Bacon Buddies, I put them in the oven at 345 degrees for 25 minutes. I was probably the only one at Bible study who didn’t like these. Oh well, better luck this week!

Easter Eggs

Phil and I dyed eggs for Easter last week. Here is some of our “artwork”:
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