Thursday, October 28, 2010

horribly belated (12)

I'm a terrible blogger. How many times have I promised you, my sweet reader, of my devotion to writing faithfully when I turn around and forget to follow-through for some time.
Please forgive me.

To show you my sincerity I will now be posting two recipes from the "Weeknight" book I've been cooking out of.

herbed pork chops with apples
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper
4- bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (about 1" thick)
2 tart apples such as granny smith, cored and cut crosswise into slices about 1/2" thick
1 T canola oil

1. Season the pork chops
In a small bowl, stir together the sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Season the pork chops on both sides with the herb mixture, patting it firmly into the meat.  Place the chops on a large platter in a single layer and let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to overnight.

2. Cook the pork
Preheat your broiler. when ready to cook, place the chops on a rimmed baking sheet and place under broiler. Cook, turning once or twice, until browned on the outside and barely pink inside, 8-12 minutes total.

3. Cook the apples
When the chops are about half done, brush the apple slices with the oil and place them around the pork on the baking sheet.  Cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned and tender, 4-6 minutes total.  Cut the apple slives in half, and serve alongside the chops.

Lemongrass chicken and asparagus (20 minutes start to finish)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
2 T canola oil
3/4 c green (spring) onions
2 T ginger minced
1 stalk, bulb part only lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lb. asparagus trimmed and sliced diagonally
3/4 c chicken broth
2 T asian fish sauce
1/4 c peanuts chopped
steamed white rice for serving

1. Stirfry the chicken
Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.  In a wok or frying pan over high heat, warm the oil.  add the chicken and stir fry until golden on the outside and opaque throughout, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the green onions and stir fry until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add the asparagus and stir-fry just until tender-crisp, 2-3 minutes

2. Finish the dish
Add the broth and fish sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Return the chicken and any juices from the plate to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 minute to heat through.  Sprinkle with the peanuts.  Spoon the rice onto individual plates, top with the chicken and asparagus, and serve.

Eat and Enjoy! Let me know if you try any of these recipes! You won't regret it!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

you'll never need another recipe...

Hey-o Joanna's friends!

Jo has asked me to guest blog on here to share with you the recipe that I used for her birthday cake. I adapted this recipe from one that my mom had.

Pumpkin Cake
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • Chocolate chips (optional)
Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended. Bake mixture in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

I ended up doubling this recipe and just used the whole can of pumpkin, leaving out some of the oil.I made three layers in an 8x8 square pan. To the middle layer I added a cup of chocolate chips. Yum!

I used cream cheese frosting for this baby, Betty Crocker did the trick! I actually made homemade butter cream frosting initially, but I made it at my parents' house and had to drive 3 and a half hours back to Long Beach. When I got home the frosting had melted down the cake, so I quickly scraped it off and refrosted with cream cheese. Then I did the piping detail with chocolate frosting, also Betty Crocker and a round 9 nozzle.

Eat! Enjoy!

(note: you can enjoy more of Alissa's recipes and adventures over at her blog: click here)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

26. (1)

*Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.  
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the LORD God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.*
Psalm 73:23-26, 28

In my quest to complete 28 things for the year my hubs challenged me to reflect on 28 verses that have/are meaningful in my life.
I could ramble on about these verses (which I am only counting as one) and why they are so meaningful to me but I'll try to be quick.
v. 23 the promise of God being near to me
v. 24 the hope of being with God receiving us to Himself (a direct verse that speaks into a fear of mine)
v. 25-26 although the World distracts me and tells me otherwise the truth is that God is all I need. He is all I want to desire and I find that He sustains and strengthens me.
v.28 being close to God is the best thing for me and the reminder that God's good works in my life aren't meant to be a secret.

That's it in a nutshell for life verse numero uno! 
Do you have a verse you love?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

you. a man. and dinner.

I just saw this question on the Pioneer Woman's website...
"If you could have dinner with one man throughout the history of time, whom would it be?"

And my answer was...
I would without hesitation have dinner with Pawp (my mother’s grandfather). He died before I was born and I never got to meet him but the legacy and stories he has left behind leave me wishing I could have met him. He was full of love, humor and grace. He was employed as a railroad detective so I’m also really curious about his stories from those days.

But now, I'm curious to ask all of you... who would you have dinner with? You. One man and dinner. who would it be?

P.S. Pioneer Woman's original blog is here.

a promise

so do not fear for I am with you
do not be dismayed for I am your God
I will strengthen you
and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Monday, October 04, 2010


 It's exciting... to be moving ahead in my list (if you're asking yourself what list, click here) and whilst I cannot reveal what my number 27 is on the list of things to do. I will tell you this... it's happening right now.
And no, Steven, I'm not pregnant.
Guess again.
Oh I am just giddy with giggles knowing that someone's day is being made brighter. But enough about 27.

Because I'm terribly indecesive I made Hubs choose the cookbook he thought I should work my way through.  I knew he would choose an asian cookbook but he actually didn't.  He picked this one...
 and when I asked why he go for the asian cookbooks he replied, "Well, we're going to be eating a lot of Japanese food soon enough."
And I concurred.
Soon enough we won't have as many traditional ingredients readily available to us and instead we'll have other fun adventures in cooking.
So for now, we go with the Williams and Sonoma "Weeknight" 40 meals.
And since I hope to get through 40 meals soon, we might even throw in an asian cookbook and share some of our secrets with you all.
So whew, cookbook decided.
And soon to be shared with you lovelies.

Speaking of lovely.... for my birthday I received this beautiful scarf from my brother, s-i-l (got that?) and their kiddos.  However, due to some unforseen emergencies it was used as a burp/barf cloth for my chubby cheeked nephew who's cheeks alone have won me over but then you add in his adorable thighs and I really cannot do anything but go coo coo for cocoa puffs.
And by cocoa puffs I mean my nephew.

 Anyway, with all that said, I did not mind my beautiful scarf being used as a burp/barf cloth.
"I'll just wash it," said I.
And wash it I did.  And hung it up to dry.

 And this is what I came home to.
Sorry if soap scum makes you sick.  Although I did recently scrub my tub, I was not prepared for the upchucking of my purple scarf.  Good thing I put it over the tub and not behind our bedroom door. Sheesh.  It seriously turned everything purple.

Does that make you sick? Sorry but I promise 95% of what you are looking at is purple dye.

I feel like I should be selling tickets for people to take Rorschach tests.
Look! An eight legged giraffee!
Sorry! Am I just taking it too far?

Let's go back and pretend like I didn't just bare my soul and open up the vulnerabilities of seeing someone's bathtub in macro. Just go to your happy place...

Now isn't that better?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like....

fall around here.

I just can't help myself sometimes.  I love fall.

I found this cute little wreath on a blog my friend Michelle sent me.  It was super easy and so much fun (a huge mess but so much fun) to put together.  I did it in about an hour and a half and that's generous.  I'm really new to home crafting so I'm pretty slow with straight pins and hot glue.  But if you're an old pro you should give it a try.  It's too much fun to pass by.
Special thanks to those who gave me a Michaels gift card for my bday.  
This wreath was provided by your generosity. :)
Here's the post.  Send me a message or a picture if you decide to do one yourself!

Friday, October 01, 2010

September 2010

 This picture best sums up my amazing September.  Not only did we go to San Fran as the picture can testify but this whole month and all it's adventures is owed to one man.
Hubs pretty much put together an amazing month of fun and first time events for me and our friends.  He's such a stud! I love you hubs!

But wait! Before I tell you about the end of the month, let's start at the very beginning.
A very good place to start...
When you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with...

Ahhhh... don't you think all of life should have music accompaniment?
Well, many things and many people happened this month.  We had multiple visitors enter through our doors and grace us with their company.  Hubs and I had such a sweet time juggling the beginning of a new school year (new year of ministry) with different lovely people popping in and out.

In between visitors from Japan I co-hosted a bridal shower for my beautiful friend Kristine.  It was so much fun to shower Kristine (ha ha ha) with love and gifts to prepare her for marriage.

I tried the above recipe for the first time~ Pioneer Woman's Red Velvet Cake and it was ah-mazing.

Along with cooking I also picked up my crochet hook and was determined to continue developing my crochet skills.  I joined an online community of knitters and crochets at and have already perused a lot of their free patterns.  I seriously want to make about ten thousand things right now.  *sigh* Alas, I must pick one project and stick with it until finished.
 Something new and fun this month was our membership to a CSA farm in north Long Beach.  CSA stands for community supported agriculture.  Mikey and I pay a small monthly fee and twice a month pick up our locally grown vegetables which have been, in a word, an adventure.  Have you ever eaten collard greens?  Well, I have. Have you ever had a fig?  Well, I have.
It's pretty crazy and you have to be adventurous because we are subjected to the land and whatever it yields.  I have squash falling out of my refrigerator shelves but it's been fun to get creative...

This month I was also able to finish a book.  It was early September that I finished "Murder Must Advertise" by my gal Dorothy L. Sayers but it was so much fun to have a fun read by the bedside. I seriously love Dorothy Sayers but I'll be honest. I usually have a dream about murder or death when I read her stuff before bed.  So I have to be careful how much I read.  It's odd really that that happens because she isn't gory or descriptive.  But I guess just reading about it makes my mind do funny things.  It's better than dreaming about Lord Peter Wimsey.  I have no idea how I'd explain that one to hubs.

And then, as it goes... after a bridal shower comes the actual wedding.
Kristine's wedding was elegantly simple and the most fun I've had in a long time.  She was so beautiful and I know you all hate me for posting such a blurry photo but I actually love this photo.
This "catching them in a private moment" picture because that's what it was and it was such an honor to be there as they tied the knot.
Her reception was a blast!
K & M I seriously love you both!

And... as September picked up speed the day after the wedding we picked up Jordan, Rochelle, Waveland and Cadence and the day after that we were celebrating the day of my birth. Crazy!
This is the birthday of firsts.
First time seeing my brother fly through the air.
First time I had a birthday party at the beach.
Dear Katie Farka, I used to be jealous of you.  You had a June birthday and we were always doing such fun and wonderful summery things for your birthday.
I had a September in north Wisconsin birthday and that could mean grey ugly days or cold and grey ugly days.
I was jealous of your beautiful June birthday and I'd like to say I'm sorry.
Love, Me
I did think of Katie and how 7 year old me would have jumped up and down to know that eventually I got my summer birthday at the beach. :)  I also got the hottest day in LA history.  113 degrees in downtown and high 90s at the beach.  It was wonderful because usually CA water is too frigid to go in but God gave me a hot day to actually enjoy swimming.

 After the beach outing, we came home and somehow Mikey convinced me that Waveland wanted to play "pin the tail on the donkey". So I believed him... and was blindfolded... and then led outdoors and into a car and driven around Long Beach.
Another first.  My first kidnapping.
Followed by another first.
My first surprise party ever!
I was so surprised and touched by all the beautiful people who were at my party and who lavished me with love and "knowing".
I felt so known at this party as the decorations were all crisp dark fall colors, the cake (oh. my. heavens. the cake) was an amazing concoction of pumpkin, chocolate and cream cheese frosting (made by one, Alissa Williams) and the presents specific to crafting supplies made my little love cup runneth over.  I seriously felt loved beyond all measures!
(pictures to be posted soon~ I promise)

And if that weren't enough firsts.... Mikey surprised me (and Waveland) with tickets to Disneyland!!!
My first time to Disneyland in a country where I can actually understand the language.

 Nothing is as cute as my sweet niece talking to Belle about her horse Phillipe or Ariel about getting fins.  I seriously melted watching her stand in awe of these beautiful princesses and knowing that as her aunt I get to tell her for the rest of her life how much more beautiful inside and out she is.
I love being an Aunt!
 Especially to sweet cheeks here.

And before I could blink or catch up on sleep it's October.