Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review: Start Here

I didn't read the Harris brothers first book Do Hard Things.  It was one of those that I checked out from the library with the intention of reading it, but somehow my roommate read it and I didn't.  (Certainly wasn't the first time that happened.)  When I got the chance, though, to review their second book Start Here, I jumped at it.  I had a feeling it would be a book I wish I'd read as a teenager, and I was right.  While I don't feel I entirely wasted my teenage years, I wish I'd be challenged more to intentionally do hard things.

Although Start Here is directed towards teenagers, there was much in it for a young adult (I still fall into that category, right?).  Reminders to eagerly accept challenges and do things for God's glory certainly aren't limited to the teenage years, and rightly so.

I especially appreciated the fact that hard things aren't limited to "big" or "showy."  It's just as glorifying to God to talk to a new person at church as it is to start an organization to build wells in Africa; I thought the book did a good job of including the spectrum of "big" and "small" actions.

(This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Recipe of the Week: Quinoa Pilaf

I've been wanting to try quinoa for some time as it's incredibly good for you, and I'm happy to report that we found a delicious way to eat it!

Quinoa Pilaf
(from The Joy of Cooking)

Heat in large saucepan over medium low heat:
1-2 T butter or vegetable oil (I used butter)

If desired, add and cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes:
1 garlic clove, minced, or 2 T minced shallot or onion (I used garlic)

Add and cook, stirring until toasted and golden, about 3 minutes:
1 c rinsed and drained quinoa (you MUST rinse it well to ensure that it won't be bitter)

Stir in:
2 c boiling water or chicken broth
1/2 t salt

Cook over low heat, covered, until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 17 minutes.  Let stand covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff before serving.

Results: Yummy!

To do differently: I still added half the salt, even though the bullion I used was salty, so next time I wouldn't add any extra salt.

What I did differently: I actually followed a recipe without changing it...shocking!

Make again? For sure!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Recipe of the Week: Ham Tetrazzini

Ham Tetrazzini
(from the Taste of Home Slow Cooker Cookbook)

1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 c sliced fresh mushrooms
1 c cubed fully cooked lean ham
1/2 c evaporated milk
2 T white wine or water (I used water)
1 t prepared horseradish
1 package (7 oz) spaghetti
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese

In 3 qt slow cooker, combine the soup, mushrooms, ham, milk wine or water and horseradish.

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions; drain.  Add the spaghetti and cheese to slow cooker; toss to coat.

Results: It was okay.  The ham was a bit dry, I though, because it was more on the well-done side...more about that below.

Things to do differently: Make more, as my crockpot is 6 quarts so got very well done by the time we got home from church.

What I did differently: Well, I realized Saturday night when I pulled the mushrooms out of the fridge that they were slimy (Fred Meyer is just NOT a good place to get produce).  I also didn't put in the horseradish because we had none and it didn't sound appealing.  And then there was the whole almost burning it thing.  I'd like to try it with wine sometime, too.

Make again? Maybe, if I doubled the recipe or something so that there was more in the crockpot to prevent it from burning.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Recipe of the Week: BBQ Chicken Pizza

I've still been making lots of new recipes, I just haven't posted them.  Forgive me.  I'll get caught up on them in the next few days.

Here's one from Anne that I tried last Friday for our weekly pizza night.

2 c shredded chicken
1/2 c BBQ sauce, divided
1 ready made pizza crust
1 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c small red onions, thinly sliced
2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425.  In medium bowl, toss chicken with 1/2 c BBQ sauce.  Spread remaining BBQ sauce on crust and sprinkle chicken, onion and cheese.  Bake until cheese melts and pizza is crisp (about 15-20 minutes). Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

Results: Yummy and moist.  Chris loves BBQ, so I figured he would love this pizza, and he did.  

Things to do differently: Can't really think of anything.

What I did differently? Ha!  As I started, I realized that I had white onions, not red, and didn't have cilantro, so I adjusted the recipe without realizing it.  I also used homemade pizza crust.

Make again: Yes!  A good change from "normal" pizza.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Today marks 28 years of marriage for my mom and dad.  While in some ways that seems like a lifetime to me, I'm sure to them it's passed quickly.  Now, more than ever, I have a deepening respect and appreciation for my parents and their life-long commitment to each other.  Not that Chris and I have been married long (next week is a mere 6 months) nor have we gone through what they have, but now as a wife, I have a (small) taste of what marriage is really like.

I look back on my parent's marriage at things they've gone through (several big moves, cancer, death of a parent, raising a special needs teenager) and marvel at their unwavering commitment to each other.  Had someone given them a snapshot of where they'd be 28 years from the day they pledged their life and love, they would probably be surprised and amused.  I'm they look at where Chris and I are now and laugh, not at us, but at themselves and at what they have learned since the blissful days of young, newlywed love.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pro-life in action

A few weeks ago, I read a blog post by friends of ours whose story illustrates being pro-life (which is different than being anti-abortion) in a tangible, beautiful way.  

Here's Jenn's story (original link here):

I am so amazed though not surprised and incredibly humbled and grateful right now. We have been blessed with such a great circle of friends here. I sent out an email a few days ago explaining that Ryan and I are going to be starting classes next month to obtain our Foster Parent license so as to begin the Foster-to-adopt journey. It is 30hrs of classes, spread over 3 nights & 2 full saturdays. Since we don’t have any family in town to pawn the kids off on, the idea of arranging childcare was more than a little daunting. However, within 1 day all 5 ‘opportunities’ to babysit were filled by amazing friends! We still have to figure out when & where we’ll do the First Aid/CPR/blood borne pathogen training class, so the 2 folks who have expressed interest in helping out that haven’t been assigned a day to cover for us, might still have an opportunity. :) So thanks all of you who have so quickly and eagerly rallied. We are extremely grateful. …I’m sure we’ll need you around for a lot more than just babysitting!

I'm so excited for them as they begin this journey.  Their kids are excited, their church is excited and I know that God, too, is excited when His people reach out to kids who need love.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I Love Him Because He...(#76-100)

76. Doesn't mind watching Olympic figure skating with me.
77. Likes it when I wear my hair in two braids.
78. Lives out his wedding vows.
79. Makes delicious omelets (just learned this last week!).
80. Respects me.
81. Cherishes me.
82. Goes on "emergency" chocolate runs.
83. Said that if we live in Africa, I can get a pet monkey.
84. Doesn't mind that I talk a lot about getting a cow.  (Her name will be Mabel, in case you were wondering.)
85. Prays for babies we know.
86. Wants a cool old truck.
87. Believes in the value of craigslist (buying and selling).
88. Wants to create a culture in our family that honors God.
89. Will be an amazing dad someday.
90. Likes (and reads) my blog.
91. Has lots of inside jokes with me.
92. Doesn't mind that his Christmas present is just now on its way (scheduled delay + major Amazon fail).
93. Plays Frisbee with me even though I'm horrible.
94. Likes to light candles.
95. Has a great smile.
96. Loves my family.
97. Encourages me in my homemaking gifts and pursuits.
98. Reads the Wall Street Journal every day.
99. Puts up with my hippie side.
100. Is the most amazing man God ever made. :)