Thursday, May 31, 2007
Chicken Veggie Braid
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 c. veggies (fresh or frozen)--recipe calls for broccoli, which my husband and I do not care for, so we use frozen peas
1/2 c. chopped red pepper
1 pressed garlic clove
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. light mayo
1 tsp. dried dill weed
2 T. slivered almonds
2 packages (80z.) refrigerated crescent rolls (we use low-fat)
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients (except rolls and egg white) in a bowl and mix gently. Unroll package of rolls but do not separate. Arrange longest side of dough across width of a 12 x 15 cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining rolls and press to seal edges. On longest sides, cut dough into 1 1/2 inch strips 3 inches apart using a pizza cutter. In the 6-inch center, spread mixture evenly across dough. Lift strips of dough across the mixture, twisting once as they meet in the center to form a braid. Use a pastry brush to paint egg white on top of the dough. Bake 25-28 minutes. Cut with a bread knife and serve. Enjoy!
Click here to see a photo of a similar recipe since the "braiding"part is hard to explain.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Examples include using warm water instead of hot for washing clothes, not pre-rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and using natural lighting (skylights, windows, etc.)
Saving energy and money works for me! Go to Rocks in My Dryer for lots of great ideas!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
This year, the show held a songwriting competition with the winning song being performed by the two remaining finalists. When the winning songwriter's name was announced on Tuesday night's show, I wasn't expecting to have ever heard of them. My husband and I were quite surprised when the winner turned out to be Scott Krippayne. Scott is a Christian singer-songwriter, who several years ago, released a favorite song of mine: "Sometimes He Calms the Storm"--you can listen to an excerpt by going to Scott's website. Powerful lyrics!
Anyway, back to Scott's winning song, "This is My Now"--I can't get it out of my head! If you go to the AI homepage, you can hear it performed by newly crowned American Idol, Jordin Sparks. Or you can hear Scott singing it by clicking on his name here. Enjoy!
We're leaving for a long weekend to visit family, so it's over and out until Tuesday!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Prayer works for me, of course, but so does this method of being intentional about it! Check out Rocks in My Dryer for other great ideas!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Classic Coconut Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
2 c. coconut, divided
1 c. cold milk
1 4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 8 oz. tub whipped topping
Prepare cake batter as directed on package; stir in 2/3 cup of coconut. Pour evenly into 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. Bake as directed on box. Cool completely.
Pour milk into medium bowl. Add pudding mix and powdered sugar. Beat with wire whisk until well-blended; mixture will be thick. Gently stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Place 1 cake layer on plate or stand; spread top with 1 cup of the pudding mixture. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup coconut; cover with second cake layer. Spread top and sides with remaining pudding mixture; press 2/3 cup coconut into top and sides. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
My sister hosted a "shower" a couple of years ago for a friend expecting her fourth baby. Ladies from the church came together to pray and have a devotional on motherhood.
For our little gathering the other night, we kept it simple. In lieu of games, we spent time praying for the honored mom. Gifts were practical items to stock their pantry--diapers, wipes, baby toiletries, etc. With two little ones already in tow, hopefully we can prevent a few of those late-night store runs for baby necessities!
I gave a cute basket (that can be used in the baby's room) filled with diapers and a tube of Balmex diaper rash ointment. (Thanks to my dear friend Rebecca for a similar gift when it was my turn!)
My friend was so grateful for this shower, and the effort on my part was minimal.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
When we went in for our gender-revealing ultrasound appointment, I made a reversible sign that we could use accordingly. When we discovered we were having a son, we asked the technician to take our picture holding the sign saying, "It's a boy!" Then we e-mailed the photo to our friends and family to announce our news. So much fun!
I don't want to use this idea so much that it loses its effect, but couldn't resist taking the picture shown here to send to my father-in-law for his recent birthday. Needless to say, it was a hit!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Especially now that warmer weather is here, I feel challenged to use my oven less--or at least to consolidate the times when I'm using it. Yesterday, I wanted to make bruschetta for lunch but didn't want to turn on the oven (as I usually would do) for the few minutes it would take to get it nice and toasty. I was recently inspired by this post to make better use of my more efficient toaster oven, so that's what I did.
Later in the day, I wanted to make a thank-you gift for a friend who watched our son while we went to dinner. I thought about taking a loaf of bread, but had already set aside today for baking. Instead, in just a few minutes, I put together a quick jar mix--using ingredients I already had on hand. So easy and thrifty--plus I saved energy--mine and the oven's.
Simple Sweet Scones
in jar: 2 c. white flour, 1/2 c. wheat flour, 1 T. baking powder, 1/4 c. sugar, 1/2-2/3 c. dried cranberries and ground walnuts
directions: Mix ingredients of jar with one stick of butter. Slowly add 2/3 c. milk and mix with hands. Divide into two balls, flatten on cookie sheet, and cut into pie-like pieces. Bake for 12 minutes at 425 degrees.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, I clipped an ad listing a "unique public auction" this past weekend just three blocks north of our house. I had other errands to run Saturday morning, but decided to check out the auction a couple hours after it started. There was one item in the listing I was particularly interested in: a 5-foot oak church bench. Like my mom and sister, I think these add such a homey touch to an entry or hallway.
When I got to the sale, I noticed that the bench was just a few items away from being up for bid. Surveying the crowd, I decided it would go for much too high a price, and thought I would just watch the proceedings. The auctioneer began the bid at $20 . . . and no one took it! I couldn't believe it. The bid began again at $15, and a man next to me tipped his hat. I stood frozen, my heart pounding. As the auctioneer started to declare the item sold, I raised my hand. I was now in the game! It went back and forth twice, and was declared mine for just $30. I was ecstatic! An older gentleman near me leaned in and said, "You got a great deal on that." "I know," I said. "I'm so excited!"
I hurried home, and relayed the information to my husband, who willingly went back to pick it up. Such a fun piece--and a fun story to go with it!
Friday, May 11, 2007
As a graduation gift, my mom gave me a homemade cookbook with favorite family recipes. Such a great idea--I use it often! I got the book out this morning and my mouth started watering upon seeing the poppy seed bread recipe. It's currently in the oven, and smelling delicious!
Here's to the graduates of '07!
3 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3 T. poppy seeds
1 1/4 c. oil
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 c. sugar (I use slightly less)
1 1/2 c. milk
1 t. almond flavoring
Simple, simple, simple: Combine all ingredients, and bake in 2 greased loaf pans for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
When I read my "mom style" description, "the heart-to-heart mother," I felt that it was right on. My own mother's type was even more accurate--as an ESFJ, she is the quintessential "happy-together mother."
Have fun with this and Happy Mother's Day! If you read the article, I'd love for you to leave a comment if the description did/did not match up with you!
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
So here's what I did: I went to the two stores, and wrote down each aisle number in order, along with general category words for each one (paper products, frozen foods, etc.). I then compiled this info in a Word document and underneath each aisle heading, I listed the staples I buy frequently. I put a small line next to each of those items, so I could place an "X" there as I'm doing my meal planning, rather than writing down the same items over and over. Then, I included a few blank lines beneath the list of staples so I can add other items as needed.
Here's a sample of what it looks like:
(Aisle) 8 baking supplies
__ chocolate chips
__ flour __ sugar
__ brownie mix
__ cake mix
This has been so helpful to me. It hasn't completely eliminated that pesky back-tracking, but it has greatly improved it!
Any other ideas on what works for you with shopping for groceries?
Check out Rocks in My Dryer for other "Works For Me Wednesday" tips!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Just a heads-up for those of you who still send snail mail, as I do.
Though the system we put in place has been tweaked a couple of times, it has really been helpful in tracking each month's expenditures. We use a small plastic organizer (designed for checks/coupons) and have labeled various sections: food, gifts, misc. This way we know how much we've spent in each category for the month. I have never really enjoyed "formal" budgeting, but have found this to be helpful.
My favorite part, though, is that every month, we each get $10 of fun money to spend on whatever we want. Gift money that we receive for birthdays or holidays goes into our envelope, too, so we can save up for a bigger item--or not, as we choose. This has been really great, because now I don't feel (as) guilty when I occasionally buy craft supplies or treats, like the massage I'm getting today (I'm so excited!). My husband uses his funds to purchase fishing and hunting supplies. Good times!
Monday, May 7, 2007
Yesterday, our pastor shared that he has been really wrestling lately with a tension that exists in our world. As he was flipping channels the other night, he first came across a picture of a famished child on a commercial asking for donations. A few channels away, on a home shopping network, a salesperson was attempting to convince consumers that they needed another snazzy diamond ring.
Thus, he said, is the tension. At one extreme, we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend (or continue in ignorance) that we don't know the needs of the world. At the other end, we can become so overwhelmed by the need and pain that we become depressed. What we need to learn, our pastor encouraged, is how to live in the tension.
His Scripture reference came from Isaiah 58:1-12, a portion of which follows.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness (my emphasis--this is beautiful!), and your night will become like the noonday." (v. 9b-10)
Father, make us mindful of the needs of others. And don't just let us see the need, let us see what we can do to help meet that need--so that our light--Your light--will rise in the darkness.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
An excerpt, which very much applied in my sister's situation:
“If you don’t know what to do with it, or where to put it, or why you ever bought it in the first place, or if looking at it depresses you, throw it out,” she’d say. “Never keep anything that makes you feel heavy or weighs you down.”
I shared this with my sister, and while we were still on the phone, she began sorting through the aforementioned items with the intention of passing them on to Goodwill as soon as possible.
We all have stuff like this, don't we?! Good job, M, for doing something about it!
I will occasionally share recipes and tips from this wonderful handbook.
I made this oatmeal bread the other day. Though it indicates a yield of two loaves, I was able to also make a few mini-loaves on top of that--great for sharing!
Combine in large bowl:
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. margarine
Pour 2 c. boiling water over mixture, and stir to combine.
Dissolve 1 package dry yeast in 1/2 c. warm water.
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add yeast.
Stir in 5 c. white flour.
When dough is stiff enough to handle, turn onto floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves (see my note above) and place in greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool on rack, brushing loaves with margarine for a soft crust.
Friday, May 4, 2007
For example, I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a steward of creation--of doing my own small but meaningful part to impact the environment. You know how when you care about an issue, it often seems to pop up everywhere? Such is the case for me.
I recently read an article about climate change (often called global warming) that contained a link to a quiz that could help you identify your impact on the environment. I hope you'll also take the challenge. I was quite proud of the fact that I never eat red meat--which is a huge drain of grain resources--until I realized my love for dairy products is just as impactful. Just something to think about . . .
Thursday, May 3, 2007
1. I am not a big fan of cats.
2. My husband and I have a beautiful springer spaniel named Reggie.
3. I used to collect crayons and Crayola products.
4. I lived in a suburb of Paris for a summer while I was in college.
5. I love taking personality tests, like Myers-Briggs (I am an ENFJ.)
6. I stopped eating red meat when I was 18.
7. My favorite color is most any shade of blue.
8. I love chocolate and caramel together. Mmm, Twix!
9. My husband and I live almost exactly half-way between his hometown in Michigan and mine in Colorado.
10. I was president of my senior class in high school.
11. My first job was as a receptionist at a salon.
12. I’ve never had to wear braces or glasses. (Sorry to my sister who has dealt with both!)
13. I love healthy cereals, like Kashi Go Lean Crunch and Cascadian Farm granola.
14. When using colored muffin paper liners, I can’t let two of the same color be next to each other. (Strange, I know!)
15. My current favorite scent from Bath and Body Works is black raspberry and vanilla.
16. I am a Christian.
17. I was quite the actress in high school; my favorite role was Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Ernest.
18. I learned to drive on a ’79 Chevette.
19. I majored in English education.
20. My husband and I love playing board games, especially Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan and Scrabble.
21. I’m 5’6” and the tallest woman in my family!
22. My favorite toothpaste is Aquafresh.
23. I want to like sewing, but I don’t.
24. My shoe size is 8.5.
25. I was a dorm director for two years, and found the job to be very well-suited to me.
26. I enjoy watching American Idol (It’s a guilty pleasure!) and Survivor.
27. My husband and I went to Maui for our honeymoon and can’t wait to go back!
28. I was in a boating accident when I was 22 and have been afraid of large bodies of water ever since.
29. My favorite writers are Wendell Berry, Anne Lamott and Lauren Winner.
30. I love Christmas!
31. I am a fan of yoga.
32. My favorite coffeeshop drink is a caramel steamer.
33. I love making lists.
34. I wear jewelry (including earrings) only a few times a year.
35. My spiritual gifts are leadership, encouragement and mercy.
36. I like most kinds of music, except rap, heavy metal, punk, and some country.
37. I had six bridesmaids in my wedding.
38. I have been a bridesmaid five times.
39. My favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:9-10.
40. I don’t drink caffeine. (But I do love chocolate!)
41. I have been a loyal subscriber to Real Simple magazine for several years.
42. I’ve lived in four states so far: Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Iowa.
43. I’m a sucker for movies like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and all the Jane Austen ones, especially the “original” Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth!
44. It really bothers me when people crack their knuckles and other joints.
45. I used to love playing “Heads Up, Seven Up” in elementary school. I sometimes cheated, by looking at other kids’ shoes. (Just being honest!)
46. When I bake or cook, I rarely measure things exactly.
47. I’ve never smoked a cigarette—just a cigar, once, and I thought it was terrible.
48. I have my orange belt in karate.
49. I was a camp counselor for several summers while I was in high school and college.
50. I enjoy making little cards and crafty things.
51. I haven’t vacuumed in months (Don’t worry, my husband does it—we have a Dyson, and he loves using it!)
52. I get really excited about “small world” connections.
53. I was a Girl Scout for several years.
54. I love all kinds of containers—baskets, jars and bins.
55. I have a group of friends called the Wild Honeys!
56. My favorite pies are apple and pumpkin.
57. I sometimes regret that I don’t know how to play a musical instrument. I’ve tried learning the piano and guitar, but never stuck with either.
58. I am often troubled by stereotypes and generalizations.
59. I love Mexican food, especially burritos and fajitas.
60. I love warmer weather but live in a colder climate (Iowa) and my sister, who enjoys cold weather, lives in South Carolina. Go figure.
61. I do not like “gourmet” cheese (goat, feta)—Kraft cheddar is good enough for me!
62. I love finding a good bargain.
63. My son was the first boy to be born on both sides of the family. He has four girl cousins!
64. In school, I really enjoyed math until I hit Algebra. My husband was a math major.
65. During my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. After struggling with it for many years, pregnancy of all things seems to have cleared up my symptoms. Hooray!
66. I don’t have the knack for trump card games, but I’m working on it.
67. In high school, I played basketball and soccer, though neither very well.
68. My favorite chain restaurants are Chili’s and Red Robin.
69. I’m an inconsistent bowler—one game, I’ll get a 108, and the next, 60.
70. I like to sing in the car.
71. I have many amazing friends, but my best friend is my husband.
72. I’m not a stickler about separating colors when it comes to laundry, and rarely has it backfired.
73. I’m a big fan of comfortable shoes, and have only worn high heels for weddings and other formal occasions.
74. I was born seven weeks early.
75. My name, Carrie, means “strength.”
76. I have always liked my name, but when I was younger, I wished my name was Victoria or Karen.
77. My personality changes when I play the game Catch Phrase. I get way into it, and start frantically yelling out clues and answers.
78. I’ve never successfully used chopsticks.
79. I drive a light blue Saturn, which I named Meredith.
80. I do not like most condiments, including mayo, ketchup and mustard.
81. I think the movie Napoleon Dynamite is hilarious. My husband does not.
82. I enjoy shopping at Target, especially hitting all the endcap clearance sales! My husband does not.
83. I used to think gardening sounded boring. Now I’m so excited to watch the veggies grow. What fun to go out and pick fresh ingredients for a meal!
84. I am afraid of airplane bathrooms. They’re so little!
85. I’m OK with regifting, as long as it’s done responsibly.
86. At Olive Garden, I always order all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks.
87. I enjoy reading the nutrition labels on most foods.
88. I have never seen any of the following popular movie series: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars or Rocky.
89. In 4th grade, I won the class spelling bee with the word “lieutenant.”
90. I don’t wear makeup, but I love lip balms and lotions.
91. I love to organize closets and cabinets. (It runs in my family!)
92. I believe in practicing “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
93. Tulips and daisies are my favorite flowers (“Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?”)
94. I have green eyes.
95. I like living in a small town.
96. I can’t drink milk by itself—I only have it on cereal.
97. I love black and white photographs.
98. On September 11, 2001, I was teaching 8th grade language arts in Colorado Springs. We had the TV on in my classroom for most of the day.
99. I failed my first driver’s license test by pulling out in front of another car. Oops!
100. I am thankful for my family!