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Sunday, August 31, 2008

It makes the brain hurt

Ok this is me asking you for some help.

It's really serious, too.

It's a question that has been plaguing me for like, minutes.

(Actually it's been plaguing me for a while, I just didn't want to admit it, but there, I did.)

So, I comment as WayMoreHomemade and that is also my blog web address, but the title is "Did I Say That Out Loud?" Does that confuse anyone?

Would it make more sense for the title to be Way More Homemade? But I don't write about just food. And the WayMoreHomemade thing comes from a "Did I say that out loud?" experience. And I'm pretty sure that didisaythatoutloud.blogspot.com is already taken.

Oh the complicated nature of the blog identity.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Foodie Friday - Fiesta

I was picking Sarah up at school the other day and it happened to be her teacher that helped her into my car in the car line. This was fortunate because she was able to tell me about a room mom meeting that was happening that afternoon with all the 2nd grade room moms. Yes, of course, I can go.

After the meeting her teacher told me a little Sarah story that I thought I’d share.

Earlier that day she had noticed Sarah just kind of staring at her. I don’t know if it made her uncomfortable, but she did notice it. She said that then, all of the sudden, Sarah hopped up, ran over to her and gave her a hug and said, “You look like my mom. I love you and you look like my mom.” She said it was really the sweetest thing. We figure she just got to looking at her and saw brown hair, brown eyes, olive-ish skin and thought she looked like me.

I got to thinking about this story more later and I think that’s why we like people like Beth Moore so much. We just want to just hug her neck because she looks like our Heavenly Father and His Son. In fact that’s what one Siesta did during the question & answer session on Saturday. She simply asked if she could give Beth a hug. We just want to say, “I love you and you look a lot like Jesus.” Because she does.

So, in honor of the Siesta Fiesta last weekend in San Antonio, I’m sharing a very Texan recipe for King Ranch Chicken that I made for my friend Beth D. as she was laid up on bed rest last weekend.

By the way, Beth D. saw her doctor on Monday and was released from bed rest and was just told to take it easy. Praise the Lord!


King Ranch Chicken
(from Cooks Country magazine)

Ingredients

12 (6 inch) corn tortillas

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 med onions, chopped fine

1 - 2 jalapenos, minced (to taste)

2 tsp ground cumin

2 (10 ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes

5 tblsp all-purpose flour

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups chicken broth

1-1/2 lbs chicken

2 tblsp minced fresh cilantro

4 cups shredded Cojack cheese

Salt and pepper

2-1/4 cups Fritos crushed

Directions:

Heat oven to 450. Spray tortillas on both sides with cooking spray and place on cookie sheet. Crisp in oven (about 12 minutes) and break into pieces.

Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10 min). Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened (2-3 minutes). Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink (about 4 minutes). Off heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray and scatter half of tortilla pieces inside. Cover with half of the filling, rest of tortilla pieces, and then rest of filling.

Bake until filling is bubbling (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle crushed Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned (about 10 minutes). Cool and serve.

I love to serve this with a caesar salad using a southwestern caesar dressing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three year old Theology

You know, every once in a while I hear something and it touches me. But I’m not really sure how it is going to flesh out. How rubber meets the road.

Then, something happens in real life and I have an “AH-HA” moment.

That happened today.

Nathan had his 3 year old check-up today.

Yes, I know… he turned 3 like 3 months ago. But it was a busy summer. You know how it goes. By the time I made the appointment, I had to schedule it for a month away. Then had to reschedule when he was at Nanny’s house and the Dr.’s office was super busy with back to school check-ups and everything. So here we are, nearly 3 months later. Whatever… we finally got it done.

So as we were in the appointment, the doctor is asking him all kinds of questions. What did he have for breakfast? Cheerios. (Good answer son. Don’t tell her about the Ding-dongs.) Does he like vegetables? Yes. Then he asks if we can go home. In just a minute.

So then she asks him about his big sister.

How is your big sister? How’s Sarah?

I have a big sister.

Yes, I know.

And I have a big dad.

A big dad. Yes, you do.

And I have mommy.

Yes.

And she has me.

And she has me… yes, my son, I have you.

And that brought back to mind the message of Inheritance from this weekend at Living Proof Live. Point number 3 was “I am an heir of God. He is my portion… and I am His.” The last part of that statement is the hard one to grasp. I am His portion. I am His inheritance. His treasured possession.

Nathan’s sweet statement kind of brought this home for me.

A parent’s love for their child is unlike any other. Just as there is no love like that between husband and wife. And the love between friends, sisters, Siestas… well, that’s in a class all its own.

What is blowing my mind right now is that God’s love for me is the embodiment of all these types of love. He sees us as His bride. He sees us as His children. He calls us His friends.

But as I looked at Nathan after he said that today, I thought to myself, “Yes, you are my inheritance. I get it.” That’s what it’s about. The LOVE that God has for me and how he looks on me in anticipation of what I will one day become. The same way I look upon my own children.

He is my portion… and I AM HIS!!!

And we also have a BIG DAD!

Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday to ME!


OOOOH! I love me some toys!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Worship and Fiesta

Mr. Travis Cottrell can lead some worship, can he not?


But guess who else was there.

Kelly Minter!!!

So not only did she bless my friend K and I immensely this summer as we did the No Other Gods study together, but she blessed us on Saturday with a song.


video

And Mr. Cottrell gave us a sample of what is coming on his Christmas Album this fall. I tried to get some video of that, but it wasn't working. So, you'll just have to wait and see. But friends... it was INCREDIBLE!

I went to LPL with my friend K and her mom. They are the sweetest most gracious people. When I was trying to figure out where I was going to sleep on Friday night, they immediately had a roll-away bed brought up to their room. I just love them so much.


The idea of the Fiesta was for some of us bloggers to meet one another and have a seperate time with Beth Moore and her daughters after the conference was over. Being fairly new to the blogging world, there were only a few people that I "knew" or even knew of.

I met Kate for the first time on Friday evening as I sat next to her. She is just darling and being from Colorado, was amazed at our heat and humidity. Bless her heart.


I desperately wanted to at least touch base with Holly who is a fellow Aggie. I got that opportunity and she is just as sweet as she can be.


I felt honored to get to meet Annette, whom I read and enjoy a lot, and Melanie of BigMama fame, who is also a fellow Aggie. Aren't they both so gorgeous!?!


As I said in a previous post, I missed out on some of the other events because of circumstances over which only God was in control. So, while I had a "drive-by" meeting/hug with Gayle, I didn't get the chance to talk to her.

And, yes, I did hug them. Some of them anyways.

Oh, and there was a girl that looked an awful lot like Sophie of BooMama fame on my flight home... but I was too embarrased to walk up to a stranger and say, "Are you BooMama?"

This is BigMama, BooMama, and FryDaddy trying, but not succeeding at some banter.


Our time with Beth, Amanda and Melissa was really sweet. The three of them took photos with all of us in groups, then gave away some prizes and did a question and answer session. The one thing that really touched me was how Beth recognized people's "blog identities." She commented that when her "Supperman" (because he cooks) is gone and now that the girls are gone, sometimes the blog give her a sense of community and she reads the comments often. I tell you, that encouraged me to continue to comment and give encouraging words.


And here's our Siesta Mama with Miesta Moose that made the journey from... Wyoming, was it?


The entire weekend was so full. Full of friends old and new. Full of the presence of the Living God. Full to the brim and overflowing.

The Inheritance

The message that the Lord delivered to us through Beth Moore this weekend was about inheritance. Our inheritance as children of God and co-heirs with Christ.

This is a term that I have heard all my adult life. However, I never gave a lot of thought to it. Probably because I never truly understood it. Beth Moore is so gifted in digging down and getting to the root of the principle she is teaching about so that it really starts to make sense. And much like the message at Living Proof Live in Baltimore, MD in 2004 on Jealousy (Godly jealousy vs. human jealousy), inheritance has become a concept, no, a precept, that I am beginning to grasp.

We, as women, are heiresses.

At one point she quoted Paris Hilton, our most famous heiress here in the USA. “There is no sin worse in life that being boring...” from her book Confessions of an Heiress (2004).

We all had to repeat, I think several times, “I am an heiress, and I am NOT a bore.”

We looked at Psalm 16, specifically verses 5-6 in the English Standard Version (ESV):
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

She gave us 8 basic points:
1. I am an heir of God. My life is not left to chance.
2. I am an heir of God. I am inheriting a kingdom.
3. I am an heir of God. He is my portion…. And I am His.
4. I am an heir of God. The down-payment has been made.
5. I am an heir of God. My boundary lines form a pleasing place.
6. I am an heir of God. The will has been activated.
7. I am an heir of God. I can be secure.
8. I am an heir of God. I have a beautiful inheritance.

We worked hard during these 3 sessions. She kept coming across scripture after scripture and we turned literally from Genesis to Revelation and just about everywhere in between.

In fact, I was standing next to a lady in the concession line on Saturday morning, while trying to get some caffeine since the Starbucks line at the hotel was reeeediculous. This poor woman said, “Whew, I am out of practice. Last night was hard.” I just had to snicker to myself and thought, “Doesn’t she realize I am totally going to blog about this conversation?” (You know, I had my Siesta Fiesta t-shirt on and everything.)

Anyways, Beth would come to one scripture reference after another and say, “Oh, we’re not going to go there because we just don’t have time. Oh… yes, we have to. I’ll just read it to you.” And just about every time what does she say, “Oh, I’m just going to have to back up to verse .” You could just feel the energy and excitement from her. It was contagious.

So, the things that really spoke to me? All of it. But let’s see if I can boil it down a little.

My life is not left to chance. Although I have always known this and believed it to an extent, I have lately been realizing that I struggle with trusting God’s purposes. Out of bad stuff that has happened in my life, I tend to ask, “Why?” A natural reaction, to be sure, but I am finally beginning to understand (years and years later) that I will likely never understand and I just need to trust that He is in control and does not act except in His perfect character of goodness, love, grace and mercy.

I am inheriting a Kingdom. One of the things that I so often miss is that the kingdom is NOW. Yes, in the future, we will eventually be in it and take possession of it in a physical sense in heaven. But I need to take possession of it now in a spiritual sense. Although we are not in the Kingdom right now, it is IN US.

He is my portion…. And I am His. Of course the “He is my portion” statement refers back to the Levites who had no inheritance (portion of land) in the Promised Land. God told them He was their inheritance and portion. They were consecrated by God and given back as a gift to the people and lived among all the peoples of Israel. But then she brought in Ephesians 1:18 and pointed out the phrase, “the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.” His inheritance is us. Is me. His child. His treasured possession is people. That was just so convicting to me because I tend to put so little value on other people comparatively.

The down-payment has been made. Beth talked about Ephesians 1:11-14 and the deposit of the holy spirit guaranteeing our inheritance. Her quotes that stuck with me here were: “The deposit of the holy Spirit trumps anything earthly that we’ve inherited.” and, “Stop trying to be someone else. Be full on in the Holy Ghost and you will not be able to miss your calling.” She threatened, “Don’t make me start Holy Ghost talkin’!” Maybe you had to be there… it was funny.

My boundary lines form a pleasing place. She gave us this diagram and it really spoke to me about my territory. My intimacy with God sets the highest boundary. I can’t go any further than my intimacy with Him. My past is behind me and is unchangeable. My life experiences may be good, bad, or ugly (I’ve had them all) but they are mine. I need to own them for what they are.


The will has been activated. Someone has to die for there to be an inheritance. Enter Jesus Christ. See Hebrews 9:15-17 and Galatians 3:29-4:7. She also brought out that part of our inheritance includes His presence. The only way there can be an inheritance with that person’s presence is for there to be a death and resurrection. Hallelujah!

I can be secure. If we can get our identity in Christ, we will not seek approval/affirmation from others. She talked about how our young girls are taking on behaviors that previous generations of sexually abused girls would exhibit, even the ones who have never been physically abused. They are seeking affirmation and identity dependent on their sensuality and making choice after choice based upon that view of themselves. Her point was that we have been sexually mauled by our culture. So true. So true. This reality just makes me more vigilant about how I raise my own daughter.

I have a beautiful inheritance. 2 Timothy 4:6. Beth Moore's quote, “We have a beautiful inheritance in heaven before God, but until then, we have a beautiful fight.”

A beautiful inheritance… and until then, a beautiful fight. And I pray for the strength to give this beautiful fight my all. I will look in the mirror each morning and say,

“I am an heiress. A little rough around the edges. But I am an heiress, and I have a beautiful inheritance.”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Providence

So, the trip.

It was as excellent as any trip could be.

Today I will share some logistical things that just really shows how God had his hand on me, provided for me every step of the way, and put me exactly where I needed to be in miraculous ways.

I’ll share other things about the weekend in later posts.

We (my dear friend K, her mom and I) flew out on Friday morning with basically no delays. This in and of itself is a miracle as I found out later that there were so many delays later on in the day due to the weather there in San Antonio. The Lord put us on the right flight at the right time, Hallelujah!

As we landed I found that I had a voice mail. It was from my friend Beth who I was supposed to spend Friday and Saturday nights with. She is currently pregnant with TWINS (YEA!) and her message said that not only was she having some difficulty which was causing her to be on some bed-rest this weekend, but her one year-old was also sick.

I had already been concerned about them having to come downtown to get me and trying to get back downtown early in the morning, etc. In fact, I had emailed a Siesta from the LPM blog to see if I could catch rides with her. But at the moment that I got this voice mail from Beth, I knew that I just needed to not stay with them on Friday night and began praying and believing that the Lord would provide so that I would not have to add the stress of a house guest for Friday night on them and that any transportation issues for Saturday would be taken care of.

He abundantly provided.

I called my man and gave him the task. He was up to it. He’s so good that way. Using points, he was able to get me a room there at the Marriot Rivercenter where my friends and just about everyone else from the conference were staying. It cost me a grand total of $15. And I had a room with a king sized bed all to myself.



I don’t have to tell you… it was a blessing.

Then, after wandering around the mall and finding a super cute blouse on sale at Macy’s, I hung out back in my room, all by myself, for a while. Lo and behold, I had an email from Siesta Lori Anne that she did, in fact, live near my friend Beth and she could absolutely give me a ride. So I called her, told her of my change in plans and we then made plans to meet up and I could get a ride from her out to Beth’s house on Saturday afternoon.

He abundantly provided!

Well, back up a little to a couple of weeks ago as I was finalizing (or so I thought) my plans. By the time I finally had time to think about this trip and the Siesta Fiesta, I had missed out on signing up for the PJ party that some of them were having on Saturday night.

So, although I would have loved so badly to hang out with some of you playing games and gabbing all night on Saturday night, I played with Beth’s one year old son and gave Nick, his dad, a little bit of a break. I got to play “Aunt” Donna and laugh when he misbehaved because, hey, I’m not the mom. Woo hoo! It was a blast. And he is just a doll! I also had the privilege of cooking for them so that they could have a meal for a day or two. It wasn’t much, but I think it helps a little and that was definitely where I needed to be.

He so abundantly provided!

Travis Cottrell told us on Saturday afternoon that he would be at Oak Hills Church at Saturday evening and Sunday morning services leading in worship. Their pastor is someone you may have heard of before… Max Lucado. He was going to be preaching this weekend, which he doesn’t all the time. And it just not so happens that Beth and Nick live, oh, 10 minutes from Oak Hills Church. So, I went this morning and was so incredibly blessed.

And yet again… He abundantly provides!!!

My flight home left on time in spite of weather. And a woman, who obviously needed to talk through some religious issues made it on to the flight and sat next to me. I wasn’t sure at first how the conversation was going to go, but it was good. And it showed me that I could depend on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to give me the words that needed to be said. Whatever I did say didn’t seem to turn her off, because we talked for the entire flight. A divine appointment, to be sure.

So the point of this story (*gasp* there is a point?) is that God provided for every logistical detail so that I would be where I needed to be when I needed to be there.
And to quote Beth Moore from this weekend:
"Providence is the FACT that God works as powerfully in the every day as in the miraculous."

The weekend... it was providential.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What ever will you do?

There will be no Foodie Friday this week.


I KNOW... it's SO distressing.


But there's a good reason... I promise.


I plan on spending this evening at parents' night up at the school hearing from Sarah's teacher and trying to convince the other parents in our class that helping me out with all the room-parent responsibilities is a worthy cause because I don't have endless amounts of time or energy to do it all myself.


We'll just have to see how all that will go over.


Like a lead balloon, I'm sure.


Then I plan on going home and seriously trying to spend some time in preparing physically, mentally and spiritually for a conference that I am attending this weekend. Yep, tomorrow I get on a jet plane.


It's just a little conference with a really good Christian speaker and Bible teacher. Maybe you've heard of her... Beth Moore.



:)



So, yes, I'm on my way to Living Proof Live in San Antonio and looking forward to a WORD!


I've been planning on this since March or so... not long after I entered the blogging world. It was at that point that I started reading the LPM blog and found that there is going to be a Fiesta of LPM readers (AKA Siestas) and bloggers at this LPL event. The more I got to know some of the ladies that frequent the LPM blog by reading their comments, the more I couldn't wait to at least shake their hand... because you know, I'm not much of a hugger.


Or maybe you didn't know that.


I'm not so much a hugger with you unless I know you really well and for quite a while. I'm not sure why, but I have personal space issues.


In fact, I'm a little concerned about the Fiesta because all the ladies keep talking about giving everyone a big hug. More than likely, they are just talking to those other bloggers that they have known really well and for quite a while and I have nothing to be concerned about.


But I digress.


SO, my point is (as if I EVER have one) I'm headed to San Antonio and I may even do a little "live" blogging throughout my weekend.


Let me know if you're going. I look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - 1st Day of 2nd Grade



Of course we had to have our friendly neighborhood peacock in the background. The 1st day of school wouldn't be the same without him.

You can see more Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Potty Training Chronicles: Stubborn Trumps Logic

Surprise.

I’ll bet you thought you weren’t going to see any more of these posts.

But my son is stubborn. And here we are again.

We went on vacation in July and it was so good. The boy had no accidents in the course of the entire 12+ hour car ride and days spent on the beach. He told us every time in the car when he needed to go to the bathroom.

Of course, we’re convinced that a few of those were just so he could tee-tee in the grass. It’s an exciting thing, apparently.

He even told us when he needed to poop. One of those times being when we were headed back to the car from a public beach that we went to because our beach at our condo was too over-run with seaweed. We were lucky that there was a port-o-potty right there.



An important first in life is your first port-o-potty experience.

It changes you forever.

But then we got home and it’s been chaos ever since. Especially after spending 4 days at Nanny’s house having “Nanny Camp” while big sister was at camp. I’ll swear that he lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

It got really bad at the end of last week. We were beside ourselves after 2 accidents at day-care and then one at home also. All in one day. And it’s the #2 side of things that’s the problem… #1 has never really been the issue.

So here’s where we are: He can do it. He has proven it. Logically, I should be dancing in the streets and shouting, “WE’RE DONE!!” But he, for some reason, is being stubborn and choosing not to.

Here’s where it gets funny, weird, and quite frustrating.

We are trying to help him by telling him when we think he needs to go. Maybe this is our problem, but when left entirely up to him at this point, we have days like we had last week and it’s not pleasant.

So last night, Mike tells him to go sit on the potty and try to poop before getting in the shower. Nathan doesn’t want to and says so. It goes on and really turns into an obedience issue of dad told him to do something and he’s balking at it.

In fact, he is apparently over at the potty puts just one cheek up on the toilet and then looks at Mike as if to say, “OK?” Mike gets on to him again and so this time he barely has both cheeks up on the edge of the seat, but not enough so that he can be productive in any way. He looks at Mike this time as if to say, “THERE, I’m ON the potty.”

Daddy’s hand, please meet Nathan’s bottom.


We laughed about it later. He's just such a little toot sometimes.

The thing is that once we get him sitting down and give him some privacy, he usually goes. He’s excited, we’re excited, he gets praise and candy and stickers.

But it seems, at this point, that no amount of prizes or sticker charts for success or toys taken away for messes is going to make a difference.

He knows what to do and how to do it. Logically it’s a no-brainer. But stubborn trumps logic.

Every time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday report

I don't have a lot to share today except that my little man has croup. Good grief.

And my princess is starting her 2nd week of 2nd grade. Yikes.

And I'm just trying to keep up with getting back into our "normal" routine of things. I have stories to share, just no real time to "write" them down. Soon, I hope.

Have a good week and I hope to be back some... probably just not as often as I would like.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Foodie Friday - Beijing 2008

I know I haven’t been around much this week. I have just been so incredibly busy.

I’ve had Olympic swimming to watch, Michael Phelps’ iPod to think about, gymnastics to watch, Michael Phelps’ freestyle stroke to analyze, medal counts to compare, smashed Olympic records to consider, Michael Phelps’ iPod to think about some more.

You know… super important stuff.

Oh, and getting my daughter started on her first week of school as a 2nd grader, laundry, aerobics, feeding my family, work and other various activities of much less importance.

And by the way, many thanks to my friends The G’s (Rock Chalk!!) who gave me some enlightenment about Michael Phelps’ iPod (lyrics warning – reading this may damage your delicate sensibilities). This pretty much lined up with my man’s prediction of what Phelps probably listened to. But you have to admit, the thought of him listening to a motivational speaker is kind of funny. Well, I guess you don’t have to admit it… but it’s a fact… it’s funny.

*** updated to add this link about the Phelps playlist... It's an obsession. I admit it. ***

So, as we have been so entrenched in all things Olympic over the last week, I thought it appropriate to do a Foodie Friday post as a tribute to the Beijing 2008 Summer Games.

My whole family loves to go to Pei Wei. It’s not specifically Chinese, but it is Asian “inspired.” Here are our favorite standard menu items (we rarely venture out from these): Mike – Kung Pao Chicken w/brown rice; Donna – Orange Peel Chicken w/brown rice; Sarah & Nathan – Honey Seared Chicken w/noodles. All of us also enjoy edamame and our complimentary fortune cookies.

The kids love their Honey Seared Chicken so much that I decided to try to make it at home one time. It’s a little involved, but this recipe is about as close as I’m going to get without spending hours upon hours in the kitchen testing and re-testing recipes. I’ll leave that to the experts at America’s Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated.

So if you are so inclined and you want to force your children to be a little adventurous, go get some edamame from the freezer section of your grocery store (they're soy beans you know - so look in the vegetable section), and make that along with the following recipe for Honey Chicken Teriyaki along with some noodles or brown rice (seasoned with key lime juice, dried orange peel, dried tarragon while cooking).



Honey Chicken Teriyaki
(it looks like I found this at some place called cdkitchen.com)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying


Glaze
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional

Directions:
Pour 1/2 inch oil in a wide frying pan; place over medium high heat. Cut chicken into 2 inch squares. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add chicken half at a time. Cook, turning as needed, until chicken is golden brown. Allow total of 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile heat soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger in small pan. Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly. Dip in honey mixture, then place on a rack set in a baking pan. When all chicken is cooked and dipped, sprinkle with sesame seeds, if used. Bake at 250F for 20 minutes. Brush with glaze after 10 minutes.


*****
Now... we all know that I never end up doing anything exactly like the recipe. So, here's how this recipe usually goes down in our house:


*****


Honey Chicken Teriyaki

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt & pepper
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying (mostly Canola & a little Sesame Oil for taste)


Glaze
1/4 cup soy sauce (approx)
1/2 cup honey (approx)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove garlic, pressed
teaspoon ground ginger

Directions: Pour 1/2 inch oil in a wide frying pan; place over medium high heat. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch squares (it's got to be small enough for the kiddos to pick up with chopsticks). Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour. When oil is hot, add chicken half at a time (actually ends up being about 3 batches). Cook, turning as needed, until chicken is golden brown. Allow total of 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile heat soy sauce, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger in small pan. Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly. Place on foil covered baking pan. Once all chicken is cooked & on pan, spoon about half of the honey mixture over and slightly toss. Bake at whatever temperature I happen to decide on for whatever time I have left before it all needs to be on the table. Toss in remaining honey mixture (as long as your husband hasn't come behind you and poured it out so that he can put the pan in the dishwasher - I love you honey!)



*****

By the way... I made this tonight (Thursday) for dinner. I had every intention of taking a picture of it for you, but time and getting dinner on the table took precedence.

Sarah told me it was like having Pei Wei at home. And Nathan, my 3 year old, told me, "This is delicious." For a minute there, I thought we weren't going to have enough

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Burning Question

We have diligently been watching the olympics in the evenings. And, since my man was a swimmer in middle/high school, we're watching a lot of swimming.



So, my burning question is this...



What is on Michael Phelps' playlist on his iPod?



The way he has his earbuds in his ears the entire time he is outside of the pool I figure it's motivational material. You know what I mean. That soothing voice that says, "You are a great swimmer. You will take the gold," over and over again.



What about you? What do you think? Any ideas/suggestions? What is on Michael Phelps' iPod?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Medal Count

I'm really getting a kick out of the Olympics right now. Oh my stars... did you see our guys on the high bar aparatus in the Men's Gymnastics Team Finals???


Olympic Medal winners at NBC Olympics.com!

Spoon

I went to get a cup of coffee this morning and got to thinking about something that I have seen at almost every coffee maker just about anywhere.


A spoon.



Resting on the counter-top.



With a small drop of coffee on it.



Why is it there?



My hope beyond hope is that it is as simple and innocent as someone stirring their hazelnut creamer into their coffee and then forgetting to either throw the spoon away (if it's plastic) or put it in the dishwasher.



However my fear is that it is something much more sinister entirely.



I think it's actually possible that someone thinks that I am going to take this spoon, that's been sitting on this germ-infested counter-top, that's been in the questionable contents of someone else's coffee cup - someone else, mind you, that I may not even know well enough to remember their name - and put this spoon into the contents of my coffee cup and then drink those contents along with all the germs I've just introduced to it.



Yeah.



Right.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We love some Skittles

Nathan got Skittles today out of the candy bowl at church.

On the way to the car we opened them and he had one.

"I love Skittles," he said. "They don't suck."

????

"You mean you don't suck on them?"

"Yeah."

"You chew them, right?"

"Yeah."

Oh... okay.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Foodie Friday - What would Carlos drink?

The Tour de France. The television event on Versus that I look forward to every summer. My man has even admitted to getting sucked into it with my influence. We may even play around with a "Fantasy Team" competition next year.




But, it is now over. Actually, by the time I actually post this, it will have been over for about 2 weeks. But since it never gets any headlines, I figure most of you haven't heard a thing about who won.

His name? Carlos Sastre. His country? Spain.




I love how his son is lifting up his hands in victory here at the final ceremony. Wants to be just like dad.

How did the Americans fare? Not bad. We had one, Christian Vande Velde, who finished 5th - which in terms of the biggest, most famous road bicycle race in the world... not bad at all.

If you really want to geek it up, you can see the standings here.

So in honor of the Tour de France Champion for 2008, Carlos Sastre of Spain, I present this week's Foodie Friday: What would Carlos drink?

Sangria, anyone?

We were invited recently over to a friend's house one Saturday evening. It was to be an evening of good food, better fellowship, and better still drinks. Our friends had requested Sangria.

After the idea was brought up, we all stood there and thought for a minute... none of us had ever made Sangria before. Which we all thought was odd since it had Mexican origins.

So I stepped up to the challenge and began doing some research on how to make this drink. One thing I found out... it doesn't have Mexican origins. It is Spanish in origin. Southern Spain to be exact. Read more of its history and origin here.

I found what looked like a good recipe and tried it out.

What I found was that it's mostly a "by taste" sort of thing. The recipe above was not bad after making some adjustments, which may have been necessitated by the absence of certain spirits in my cabinet that I was not willing to go spend the money on. I added a little more sugar and ginger ale. A couple of times I used some blood orange juice (an italian soda) which made it interesting. I used cherries as well as strawberries.

So, on a hot summer evening, with good food and great friends and fellowship, Sangria hit the spot for us.



And, being from Spain, I can use it to toast the new TDF Champion.


Congratulations Mr. Sastre! It was a race well done.



As a note: Obviously I have not been in France photographing the race. I accessed these pictures from the Team CSC-Saxo Bank website and are creditted to Tim De Waele.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Work hard, and then let Jesus

I got a wild hair on Saturday morning before I met with my friend K for our Bible study time doing No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. I actually decided to go outside and do some yard work.

*gasp*

Yes, I know.

But, believe it or not, I like the occasional time of working in the yard. There are such immediate results. And I tend to think a lot while I’m doing it. It sometimes ends up being a very refreshing time of quiet for me as long as the kids are otherwise occupied.

And as long as the physical labor isn't too hard.

Because if the work is too hard, then it's too much like... well... work.

On this particular day, I for some reason decided that it was time to dig up that rosemary bush that’s been slowly dying over the last year. I’ve said countless times over the last 6 months or so, “Oh, I need to just dig that thing up and start over.” But I guess I kept holding out hope that it would pop back to life. But no. I realized that it had finally given up the proverbial ghost.

So I got out there and with the loppers cut off all the big branches. Then, I began to dig and pull up the roots. It’s so obvious it was dead because the roots weren’t hanging on at all. They all came right up. The whole job took less than a half-hour.

But that half hour was so full of spiritual lessons for me. I thought about this dead thing that had been sitting in my garden, just taking up and wasting space that could be used for something that was alive and useful. I realized that same thing could be said for all these things that I look for my life in, things that I make into idols, and how they take up room in my heart that could be filled with the life that Christ gives.

I also think I had been putting off digging the thing up because I was afraid that it would be too hard. That it would be too much work. And yet it wasn’t, because it was already dead.

I am the first to admit that letting go of some idols is hard work. However, I have to wonder that if I would go ahead and realize that they are already dead, since they are not producing fruit, and let the Master Gardener take over, if the job wouldn’t be a ton easier.

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:30.

But I think the hard work for me comes in admitting them and recognizing them. Once I can agree with God on what I am putting before Him, then I think I can let him clean house.

If I would go ahead and start just filling up with Him, wouldn’t He just take over and kick out those idols that are dead anyways? I have to believe that He would.

We’re not done with this study yet, and I am anxious to see what these last couple of weeks hold. But one thing I think K and I have realized already is that this is going to be a continual process.

Both of us have some idols and false gods that are very deeply seated in our personalities and psyches. These are the areas where we are most vulnerable to temptation. For me, one of these areas is independence, which leads to distrust, unbelief and pride. This is an area that I have to be extremely diligent about taking captive each thought and going back time and again to seek cleansing from Jesus.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Fun




I'm entering this in a "Summer Fun" photo contest at 5 Minutes for Mom. Nuthin' more fun than a day at the pool, huh?
You can also see more Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Not Worth the Calories

I lost a bunch of weight last year and slowly, over the last 4 or 5 months, I’ve gained a little back. I've been trying to re-lose it. I've been going to an aerobics class 2-3 times a week now on top of getting on my elliptical trainer each... well most mornings. I also have a favorite phrase right now when it comes to food that I'm trying to talk myself out of eating.

For certain foods, I just have to keep telling myself, “It’s not worth the calories.”

The bad part is that, unfortunately, there are some things that definitely ARE worth the calories.
For instance, a co-worker celebrated his 40th birthday last week. We took him out to lunch and we surprised him with a cake, which the whole office shared. While my lunch was definitely not worth the calories (IMO Olive Garden rarely is), the cake... oh the cake...

As I was sending out the email to everyone about joining us for cake, I recognized that almost everyone I know in the office was on a diet of one kind or another. So, I made sure that they realized that this cake was totally going to be worth the calories since this was not just your ordinary grocery store cake. I had ordered it from a local bakery called Hot Chocolates.

It wasn’t as pretty as something from Charm City Cakes (Ace of Cakes), but boy howdy… it was goooo-oood.

It was this same day that I read Psalm 29 in my quiet time earlier that morning. In verses 1 -2 the idea of God’s holiness and worthiness of our worship just hit me upside the head.

“Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”

I began to think back to what the Lord had revealed to me about His holiness just a month or so ago and began to link that to how completely and perfectly worthy He is of my worship.

And then it hit me as I was typing my email to our office-mates about the cake that our false gods and idols are SO not worth the calories, so to speak.

Not worth it at all.

Ever.

Not even those good things that God gives us that we have managed to distort and turn into objects of our worship… they’re not worth it.

Including the church.

Some of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Episcopal church here in the U.S. are going through a difficult time right now. However, the Bishop of Springfield was quoted last week as saying, “We are all idolaters. I discovered in 2003 that I had been putting TEC [The Episcopal Church] in front of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I committed myself not to do that any more. In 2006 I realized I was still working on that process. I am doing a lot better.” He then ended the interview with this statement, “The challenge is this. I am to give up everything for Christ.”

Are you willing to give up those most precious things to you for Christ? Am I?

That’s a hard one isn’t it? Especially when we feel that it is something that God himself has given us. But it is easy to take a gift from God and let it become the object of our worship rather than worshipping the Giver of the gift.

Abraham may have let Isaac, a gift from the Almighty God, become a false god. But, he was willing to give Isaac up, and had faith that God was perfectly in control and that He keeps His promises.

Can the same be said for us?

Will we realize that all those other false gods are just not worth it? Not worth the calories and extra weight and baggage they bring with them?


I'm starting to get it. But just like with food, I've got to keep reminding myself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sarah's future husband, take note...

Sarah and I were talking on her bed while she was winding back down to go to sleep once we got home Friday evening. I asked her if she missed being at home and she nodded a very definite yes. One thing she said she missed was praying with us.

She also told me that she had a difficult time going to sleep that first night for several reasons. For one thing, some of the camp staff was outside their cabin trying to kill and get rid of a wasps’ nest so there were lots of lights. (Flashlights, maybe?) But more emphatically, she said that she felt weird being in a “wood room” in a “wood bunk bed that wasn’t painted.”

Apparently the rustic look isn’t for our girl.


Sorry, Papa, an outdoors-man grand-son-in-law is likely not in your future from our side of the family.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pickin' & Grinnin'

We went to pick Sarah up from camp today (Friday). But first, I had to pick up Nathan who had spent the better part of the week at Nanny’s house. So I had to drive about 30 minutes west before heading back east.

I got in the car to leave my office at 2 pm. A few brief stops later, I got out of the car at the camp in East Texas at about 5:50… yes…. Nearly 4 hours in the car. And that’s just one way. Right now we’re in the car headed back home at 9:30 pm and we still have at least 1 ½ hours to go.

And the amount of time in the car is not the really disturbing part – although in and of itself it’s pretty disturbing. The disturbing part is my man. Not him, per-se, but his involvement in this pickin’ up process.

He left his office to meet Nathan and I on the way. So, I called him once we got back on the road after a tearful goodbye to Nanny and a stop at Jack in the Box for a potty break. He was already well on his way, so it was obvious that he was going to make it to our meeting point well before we did. And he did, in fact, get to the rendezvous point about 30-45 minutes before we did.

Here’s the disturbing part: we were meeting at an outlet mall. So here I am, in the car with the 3 year old, reciting the Cars movie, talking on the phone to my husband, who has time to kill at an outlet mall. What’s wrong with this picture?

Oh, and then he proceeds to tell me about how he bought himself some shoes. WHAAA?

It’s. Just. So. Wrong.

But, there are so many things that were right this afternoon/evening…

* Picking up my son and getting some kisses

* Picking up my daughter and getting some kisses

* Hearing all about her week at camp and how “swimming was great until I got stung by a wasp, but I’m not allergic, so it was okay, and it was just a little red bump and then it went away.”

* Having dinner with a dear friend; one of those friends that has touched my heart and left an indelible mark on me.

* Realizing how full my car feels with my two kids asleep in the back… and how that feels just right.

As I was driving along toward home tonight, thinking of all these things and pondering them in my heart, if you will, I realized… I was grinnin’.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Foodie Friday - The truth about German Chocolate Cake


The truth about German Chocolate Cake is that I think it's gross. I'm not a nut kind of gal (no, I'm not allergic - I just don't like them in my food thankyouverymuch) and German Chocolate Cake has tons of several different kinds of nuts in it. I'm just not a fan.

However my dad is. A big fan, in fact. Of course my family is very dessert oriented, so there are many others desserts he likes as well (like pecan pie, Blue Bell Ice Cream, cheesecake, oatmeal raisin cookies, etc.)

And since today is his birthday and since I'm not close-by to give him a hug and a kiss, or even make him a birthday cake, I am using this blog to make him a virtual birthday cake. A German Chocolate Cake. Much the same way I remember making these cakes for him when I was younger. That's how he knew the cake was especially for him, because he knew I wasn't going anywhere within 10 feet of it once I was done making it.

Blech.


Now, first a bit of history for you.


Did you know that German Chocolate Cake did not originate in Germany? It's not German. At all. Well, I guess that one of the people involved in its development could have had German roots, but the cake itself... not German.

The following is paraphrased from Snopes.com:

In 1852, a man named Sam German developed a sweet baking bar for Baker's Chocolate Co. who named the bar for him by using his last name: "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate." (Side note: other sources say that Mr. German founded Baker's Chocolate... so I'm not sure which is correct.) Fast forward about 100 years and a recipe ran in the Dallas newspaper, submitted by a local homemaker, which caused a frenzy and noticeable increase in sales of these chocolate bars. The company began distributing the recipe and it took the country by storm.


In my looking about, I found several recipes that I'll share with you along with the disclaimer that I have not and will not personally try any of these recipes:

This one is accredited to Cook's Illustrated (pictured above) and I pretty well trust ANYTHING they come up with. It's bound to be good if you like German Chocolate Cake.

This one is from David Lebovitz who seems to know a thing or two about the subject of sweets.

Or for a different and interesting twist, try this one which hails from the Bridge Street Bakery in Waitsfield, VT.

So there you have it. As far as my friend the Internet can tell me, that's the truth about German Chocolate Cake.

And Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.