Friday, February 24, 2012


I hit a new low in food last night. I had less than 20 minutes between getting home from work and Bible study. The options were slim and in the time crunch, all I managed to put together was leftover taco meat with some Ranch dressing and cheese on top. No chips to make it nachos, no tortilla to make it a taco and no lettuce to make it a taco salad. A new low.

My weeks and even the weekends are getting full, which I am so thankful for, but it means that cooking is at the bottom of the list. And my old standbys just seem to be failing me. My last batch of tomato basil soup didn't turn out well, so I'm burned out on that. Tacos seemed like a good idea but then I ran out of stuff to put the meat on and it got ugly. I need more ideas for things that are good as leftovers and will be easy to pack for lunch at work (I have a fridge and a microwave there).

I'm anxious for the farmer's market to open back up and keep pinning zucchini recipes. Though I am also afraid that come April I will just be depressed that there is not a co-op box to pick up. I am going to start looking at some options here, but there have been some bad reviews of some of the CSAs so the farmer's market might be my best bet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 is the year

Seven years ago, I was in London for the whole semester. So far it's been the best experience of my life. I loved every minute of living there, traveling around Europe and meeting new friends.

While I was there, London was trying to win the Olympic bid for 2012. Everywhere you went in London, there were 2012 Olympic signs, and so my friends and I said, 2012 is when we'll come back. Of course, three of the six are engaged and getting married this year, so we didn't get together a reunion trip. But one of the girls planned her own trip, and I started to get the itch to go abroad.

I knew my friend Andrea has been talking about going to Ireland for a while, and I found a Groupon for an Ireland trip that I mentioned to her. We didn't buy the Groupon, but it got us talking about taking a trip together. We talked for a couple of weeks about all the options, and she sent me a document listing out pros and cons for the different companies. (I think she's going to be a great travel buddy.)

And on Tuesday we actually booked an Ireland bus tour. It covers pretty much the whole country and all of the highlights I wanted to see but missed on my brief trip to Dublin in 2005. I think I'm still in shock that we actually booked it, but I am beyond excited.

Since I'm buying a transatlantic plane ticket, I figured I might as well go to London for a few days. So my dream of returning to London in 2012 is coming true. We'll be there in June in order to miss the craziness of the Olympics, but I'm hoping to see some of what they've done to prepare for the Olympics in the last seven years. And I get to show someone else all my favorite places in London. My list is long and includes the little things like scones from Marks & Spencer, Strongbow from O'Neills at Earl's Court, Harrods food hall (I think there might be a trend here).

It's going to be a long wait until June!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Monday!

Well, it looks like I'm lucky to get in one post a week right now. I get to Friday, and I honestly don't know where the week has gone. My weekends are now some combination of putting my house back together, planning for class and cooking something that I'll be able to eat for the next week. But here's a random assortment of stuff for you today:

I should do a book post, but I've now forgotten most of what I read. But I did recently finish two good books I wanted to share. Historical fiction is definitely my favorite genre right now. I really enjoyed The Book Thief. It's set in Germany during World War II and focuses on a 12-year-old girl's experience. It's told from the perspective of death; it sounds weird but very fascinating. The second book, This Burns My Heart, is set in South Korea just after the end of the Korean War. The book follows one woman and is about the way her life is impacted by choices she made.

Winter decided to arrive in mid-February. It was sunny but freezing all weekend and now there is snow in the forecast for later today. But yesterday, I decided to build my first fire in this house. I loved spending my Sunday afternoon reading by the fire.

I skyped with my niece last weekend. It was actually a double skype session, I was on one computer and my parents and sister were on another. She was playing in her room, and my brother-in-law gave her his Blackberry. A sidenote, my sister and brother-in-law text about one photo a day to the family from pictures taken on their Blackberries. When she got it, she talked on it like a phone, and then my sister said, "take a picture." Here's the screenshot I took of her. How adorable is that?

There were five deer in my front yard last night. That continues to amaze me, and I'm not sure I'll ever get used to it.

I have never been a basketball fan. I love watching football, and I can even get into a good baseball. If I ever get a chance, I'll watch soccer all day long. But I never get into basketball. So this would be the year, the Missouri men's team is 23-2 and consistently ranked in the top 10 and even the top 5 recently. Obviously, this has an impact on my job and will continue to. But I have to admit I've suddenly become a fan. I was cheering out loud during the Kansas game last weekend and listened to the Baylor game on the radio as I ran errands on Saturday. And I'm now both dreading and looking forward to March Madness.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pinterest recipes I've actually tried

And now back to regular programming on the blog...

I've said before Pinterest is almost overwhelming with all these ideas I don't have time to do. But I've been more intentional about using it for recipes that are practical for me. Of course, I've pinned some fun ones, too.

Here's my review of what I've made:

Chicken Broccoli Supreme
This was advertised as a casserole that didn't use "cream of" something soup. But I realized when I made it, there is probably just as much if not more cream in it. I also attempted to cut the recipe down and put it in an 8x8 casserole dish, and I didn't adjust the sauce very well. In the end, I wish I had just made my mom's chicken devan or poppyseed chicken.

Hasselback potatoes
I actually like this one. It was a good alternative to a standard baked potato.

Krispy Kreme muffins
I'm convinced the muffins here are the same as a puffin from the Bread Basket on Signal Mountain. After I made them with the icing, I wished I had made them like a puffin: rolling it in sugar and cinnamon. But they were still great with the icing.

Nutella cupcakes
I only made the cupcakes from this, not the complicated three flavor swirl icing. I iced them with canned cream cheese icing. The cupcakes were good chocolate cupcakes, but they didn't really have a Nutella flavor. So there's another recipe I'd like to try sometime.

Artichoke bread
This might be my favorite. Basically, it's a dip spread on bread and baked. It's really easy and a crowd pleaser (I took it to a Super Bowl party).

That's what I have tried so far, but I bought the ingredients for a pasta dish I'm going to try this week.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hijacked: Show us your life - Lizzie

This is Lizzie's older (and wiser) sister, Katie. I've hijacked Lizzie's blog so that I can "share her life" as part of Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Life Singles.

Lizzie currently lives in Columbia, Mo., and works at her alma mater, Mizzou, as a visiting professional at the School of Journalism. Her career in print media has given her a wide range of experience, and she is currently enjoying her role sharing those experiences as an instructor and editor at the Missourian. Before coming back to Columbia, Lizzie spent time in Virginia and Georgia. She grew up in Signal Mountain, Tenn., with her favorite and not at all bossy older sister, and a younger brother and sister (who are twins).

Lizzie is a loyal friend, news junkie, technology guru and master maker of cake pops. In her latest role of Aunt Lizzie, she has showered my baby girl with thoughtful gifts and lots of attention. She loves country music and reading "real" books (she can't be convinced that a kindle is the way to go).

One of my favorite stories about Lizzie is the journey she has taken in the past few years learning to cook. To say Lizzie was a picky eater as a child is an understatement. I'm talking the kind of picky where we had to pick up McDonald's chicken nuggets for her to take out to dinner. When she moved to Virginia, Lizzie joined a farm co-op and made it her mission to eat (and learn to cook) what she received in her box each week. There were some tedious days with a lot of kale and root vegetables, but Lizzie stuck it out (you can ready about her experience on this very blog!) and is now one of the most adventurous eaters I know. And an excellent cook!

More importantly than her expanding palette, I have loved seeing Lizzie mature and blossom into a beautiful woman. Her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Her life is a shining example of her faithfulness to God's plan and her secure knowledge that His path will be far better than what she could plan for herself. Her latest move to Columbia was bittersweet. She was ready for new challenges in her career, but was leaving a fantastic community in Virginia. Not to mention all that needed to fall into place to make a move in a short period of time halfway across the country -- most pressing of course, a place to live. I'm not sure I could have made the same leap of faith, but she is settled in Columbia (for now) in a beautiful house with job she is enjoying.

Lizzie has moved around a fair amount, and the first thing she does in a new place is look for a church. While she is certainly looking for a way to meet new people, her primary focus is to find a place to serve in a community of believers. Lizzie volunteers in the nursery, joins up with women from all different walks of life for Bible Studies and even served a stint as a Sunday School teacher for five-year-olds. It would be very easy as a young single woman to pick a church based on how it will serve her, but Lizzie first seeks out the place were she can serve with the full confidence that finding her place in the community will bless her beyond her expectations.

Aunt Lizzie with her niece.

Lizzie, left, with her new sister-in-law.

Obviously, I am very proud of my little sister and think the world of her. If you are interested in getting to know her, please leave a comment on this post!