Sunday, February 27, 2011

Microfiction Monday

You've heard of SIMON SAYS?

Well, this is SUSAN SAYS.  Yes, you are to view the illustration, be inspired,
and WRITE a story to go with it.
your story is limited to 140 characters or fewer.
That includes all punctuation and spaces.
Tough? Sure. 
Fun? Mo-Def.  
Try it, post it on YOUR blog
and then go back and link up on Susan's.
Then pick about a dozen people to visit, and spread the love.
That's it.  Easy-peasy.

It only goes plop, plop, fizz, fizz, if you fill it with champagne FIRST!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Truly Comfort Food

I've been wanting to do this for a couple of days but finally got my act together today.  I'll let the photos and recipe speak for themselves.

1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 lb ground lamb or beef
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp chopped fresh or dry rosemary
1 Tbs chopped Italian parsley
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk (any fat content)
kosher salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add onions, carrots, and meat  Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain fat.
  3. Add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs.  Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, then add the frozen vegetables.
  4. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, set aside
  5. Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to boil in salted water.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain.
  6. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk, and salt.
  7. Spread them over the meat mixture, then cross hatch the top with a fork.
  8. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • I used poultry seasoning because I didn't have any rosemary.
  • I used 1/2 and 1/2 for the potatoes because I had some left over from the last recipe
  • I used a pie plate, so I had way more potatoes than I needed.  Yum.
  • I made beef bouillon with a Knorrs cube and hot water.
  • I mashed the potatoes in the pot with an immersion blender. I love that thing.


No, this is not low glycemic index.  But it's Friday night and it's comfort food.  Yum.

Funny Bumper Stickers

I was behind a car the other day that had a bumper sticker on each side.  On the right the sticker said:

If you can read this
thank a music teacher.

The one on the left side said: 

And on the 8th day
God created bagpipes

So my question is:

Am I the only person
who thinks these are
mutually exclusive?

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A friend told me yesterday that when her daughter was three she expressed that she wanted to become a follower of Jesus.

Using the terminology we do, my friend asked, "so you want to ask Jesus to live in your heart?"

The little girl paused and asked, "well, won't God be lonely in heaven then?"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mixed Berry Whole Grain Coffee Cake

Huge Success!

This recipe is too good to be low GCI, but they claim it, so I'll stick with that!  Everyone loved it.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tbs butter, softened

1 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened mixed berries, thawed and drained OR 2 cups fresh berries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Coat 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2.  Combine 1/4 cup all purpose flour, oats, brown sugar and butter in small bowl.  Mix with fork until crumbly, set aside.

3.  Combine remaining 1 cup all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, milk, granulated sugar, oil, egg, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer or whisk 1 to 2 minutes until well blended. Gently fold in berries.

4.  Spread batter in prepared pan.  Sprinkle evenly with reserved oat mixture (you probably won't use all of it).  Top with chopped walnuts.  Bake 38 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Serve warm.

Makes 12 servings

Nutrients per Serving:  Calories: 272; Carbs: 42g; Total Fat: 10g; Sat Fat: 3g; Fiber: 3g

NOTE:  Mine took a lot longer to bake through than the recipe said. Perhaps my thawed berries were not well drained enough. Just make sure to test it.  Also, if your mixed berries has BIG strawberries, it would be better to cut those in half.  This is very crumbly when you slice it!  I'm going to bake it for our next coffee fellowship.

Oh yeah, I didn't use the walnuts because of the allergy in the house.

The left over topping is great on yogurt!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leave Them Some Dignity

I live in the Washington, D.C. area, so national news is often local news.  As I was listening to the radio this morning I heard that the President will be visiting wounded recovering troops at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.  It continued with the comment that the last time he visited there was 2009.

I have tried very hard to give this President my support and my prayers.  I am less patient with his minions and supporters who contrast everything he does (GOOD) with everything the prior president did (BAD).  No president is all good or all bad.  But ... let me share with you something that the military community in Washington DC knows that many civilians would find hard to believe.

When he was in town, George W. Bush visited with wounded troops at NNMC and Walter Reed almost weekly.  No press was allowed.  No photos except if the soldier wanted one taken by his family for his scrapbook.  He talked with them. He prayed with their families and with them. And he wept for dreams derailed and hopes dashed.

And he never, never, never allowed a press release about it. He considered it his responsibility.  No, let me restate that. He considered it his privilege, to personally thank the people who put themselves in harm's way so that people back in the U.S. could have the freedom to bad mouth him and criticize him all day long.

Everyone wants to thank a soldier right now. It's very popular to do so, and it's appropriate. But please, people, those of us who have served know when you're being politically correct and when you're being sincere.

I'm not saying the current President is being politically correct or insincere.  I'm saying his handlers and press people need a big dose of maturity. Don't treat the military wounded as a press op.  Leave them some dignity.

Thank you for listening.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Microfiction Monday

Susan gave us a haunting illustration to rif on this week.  I couldn't come up with anything funny (my usual) and I didn't want to go creepy . . . so here's my best effort.  If you'd like to join us, just write a story in 140 characters or fewer (including all spaces and punctuation), using the illustration provided by Susan at Stony River. Post it on your blog.  When she puts the link up, link your blog to hers, and VISIT OTHER PEOPLE'S CREATIVE EFFORTS and COMMENT.  Whew.  Some people play but don't visit, which I happen to think is very selfish.  Once in a while, it is excusable because we all get busy, but not as a regular event.  If you're too busy to visit, then don't play.  On the other hand, there's at least one person who plays regularly and I always visit but I have yet to find a place to comment on that person's blog!  So I guess he/she doesn't want comments...

Here's the photo:

The invitation echoed.
“Yesterday,” it whispered, “come back and try again.”
Sarai wondered about its truth, but began her journey anyway.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Equal Opportunity But Some Need Not Apply

I recently saw a promotional blurb on our county library's website that encourages high school seniors to write an essay for a scholarship contest.  The contest is sponsored by a local couple who gave the money.  It says:

This contest is sponsored by Dr. Barry and Velma B__________, F_________ County Public Schools and F___________ County Public Library

Yet, the contest is open to seniors from ONLY THREE of the County's 25+  high schools.

Is it just me, or does this fly in the face of what schools and libraries should be promoting?  I understand that donors can put strings on money they want to give away, but do the schools and library, publicly funded based on the idea of equal access, have to be part of it?  Is this discrimination?  Maybe not unlawful, but certainly not fair.

Or maybe I'm just upset because my child doesn't attend one of those schools?  True, there is an essay contest she can write for that is open only to children of military members -- which excludes a whole lot of people.  But that contest isn't being promoted through the COUNTY -- only through military channels.

It seems to me this should be administered and promoted through the PTA's of those three schools.

But, I admit, I am often wrong, and as I mature, I'm willing to listen to other points of view.

So bring 'em on!

p.s.  The designation of those three schools has nothing to do with income, race, etc.  The schools are in the catchment area right around where the donors live.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Confetti Scones

Today we had our weekly meeting of Community Bible Study and it was our monthly  coffee fellowship. I decided that I love the ladies in my group so much I would ask them to be guinea pigs with a low GCI recipe.  I'm happy to say they liked the scones, I liked the scones, and when I took the left-overs to the personal trainers at the gym, they liked them AND approved the recipe for healthiness!

This photo doesn't include the dry ingredients. I figure you know what flour and baking soda and powder, etc. looks like.


2 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup minced green bell pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup skim milk
2 Tbs minced green onions
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400 deg F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used my silpat liners and it worked great)

2.  Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat.  Add bell peppers and thyme; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender.  Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, ground red pepper and salt in large bowl.  Add sour cream, milk, minced green onions and bell pepper mixture; mix to form sticky dough.  Stir in cheese (Do not overmix)

3.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.  Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 375.  Bake 13 to 15 minutes until golden.  Remove to wire rack; cool completely.  Makes 24 scones

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 37; Carbs: 6g; Total Fat: 1g; Sat Fat: <1g; Fiber: <1g


  • You'll want to mince the peppers very small so they don't overpower the scone.

  • Use a little bit larger grate of Parmesan. I used a micro-plane and although the taste was good, I think the presentation would have been better had I let the Parmesan have a little more heft to it.

  • Ummm...don't be like me and forget to turn the oven down to 375. Mine were delicious but a little dry, and I took them out at 12 minutes.  (My defense is that I was making school lunches at the same time and kept getting distracted)

  • I'm not sure how many of these constitutes a serving.  My guess is one -- but like the other things I've made from this cookbook, they are quite filling, so one or two might be sufficient!

  • No, they don't need butter or clotted cream.  Trust me on this.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quilly's Writing Assignment #2

Quilldancing Assignment #2

February is the month of love. Your prompt required only that you write a love story. Fashion it as you will, and remember there are many kinds of love

Loving Them Enough

Before he was born, the mom taught the big sister that her little brother would need lots of love and attention but that he would grow up to be her very best friend. Nervously, she wondered whether she could foster a home in which that might be true. They were only 2½ years apart – would it be close enough together but far enough apart?

Before he could even talk, the sister had taken charge.  They played games they made up which had elaborate rules. Their language was sprinkled with their own names for things.  They created songs only they understood.  They laughed together and rarely disagreed. One day the mom realized they had a relationship with each other that was entirely separate from her. They don’t need me to have fun, she realized with a pang.

As they got a little older, friends and activities frequently separated them from one another, and a little distance grew between them.  The mom saw this, and cut back on outside things and allowed them to have more unstructured time together.  During the summers, she did not put them in activities where they would be separated by age, but instead took them to museums and libraries and nature centers. When the family traveled, the bond between the two children emerged as strong as it had been when they were little.

They stayed close until the early teen years when the sister became a teen.  Trying to stay close to her, the brother ended up being the target of her rages.  The mom saw the hurt in his eyes, and counseled him to just keep loving his sister. Then she went to her daughter and tried to help her understand the level of hurt she was inflicting on her biggest fan – and that she would regret it one day. The mom mourned the loss of their bond, and prayed for it to be restored.

Then a miracle happened, and not only did the sister become loving and kind again but the brother forgave the hurts of those years.  They began to share the ‘remember whens’ of childhood with their parents and the mom was amazed. She had always understood they had a special bond, but the shared memories told her that their relationship was intact, and they would go forward into adulthood with their best friend squarely on their team, cheering one another on, and picking each other up when they fell.

As a mother, I have discovered that in leaving me, my children move into the roles and relationships that God has for them. That pang that I felt so long ago has resolved into joy and gratitude. Letting them go is loving them completely. I am so enjoying these last couple of years they have at home together. When I hear them downstairs laughing together and playing a game or watching a show, my smile starts inside my heart and bursts out on my face. Thank you, God.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Microfiction Monday

I haven't recapped the lovely Susan @ Stony River's masterpiece meme in a while, so here's the scoop:

Microfiction Monday

About Microfiction Monday

"Microfiction" means the shortest of short stories. Think Aesop's fables, comic strips, or even jokes: complete stories that can be told in under a minute. For this game, the limit is a tweetable 140 characters or fewer.

Every Sunday evening I'll post my own 'microfiction' inspired by a photo or illustration, and invite you to do the same. (If that degree of brevity scares you, feel free to use my own microfiction of the week as your first line instead, and spin something longer. )

You can leave your story in the comments on the weekly post, or, post your story on your blog and leave your link in Mr. Linky.

Hate counting letters and spaces? Try Design 215's character counter, which will count for you as you type. Microsoft Word will count for you too, of course, as part of its word count feature under the 'Review' tab.
Photos will be from my own archives; illustrations are from Dover Publications' free clipart sample newsletter.

And finally, why 140? A whole new fiction market has arisen via mobile phone texting and Twitter, who limits 'tweets' to 140 characters including spaces and punctuation. It's fast, it's fiction, it's fun. 

This Week's Illustration:

Complimenting the inverse proportion of her waistline to her nose was the wrong tactic.
He lost the girl and her generous dowry.

Well..the Batting Average is Still Pretty Good

I know you were all waiting, with eagerness, to see how the Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple-Cherry Chutney turned out.  Sorry to say, they were not a hit.

Here is the photo from the book of what they were supposed to look like

However, despite my best efforts, following the recipe exactly, mine didn't turn out looking like that.  In fact, they never cooked through.  I think part of my family member's (only one was brave enough) disappointment was that the word pancakes connotes IHOP.  But these are more like latkes -- potato pancakes, but with a better glycemic index.

Here's what they looked like while cooking:

And here's what the chutney looked like cooking.  A little molten lava, anyone?

In the end, I was the only one who liked the taste.  Perhaps because I'd done the work?  It actually wasn't bad, but since I was the only one who had positive thoughts, I think this recipe is consigned to the "MISS" column.

However, if the combination of flavors sounds intriguing or right up your alley, here's the recipe.  I've put the changes I would make next time in red.  The problems were more with the directions than the ingredients.  And I will say, they are very filling, so a single serving is quite enough. And the chutney would be good on other things as well.

1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled
1/2 small onion
3 egg whites
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 tsp vegetable oil, divided

1 cup chunky applesauce
1/2 cup tart cherries (you can buy these canned)
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1.  Prepare Apple-Cherry chutney, set aside.  (Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes.  Serve Warm)

2.  Cut potatoes into chunks.  Combine potatoes, onion, egg whites, flour, salt and pepper in food processor or blender; process until lamost smooth (mixture will appear grainy)

3.  Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat 1 minute.  Add one  two teaspoons oil.  Spoon 1/3 scant 1/4 cup batter per pancake into skillet.  Cook 3 pancakes at a time, 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.  Serve with Apple-Cherry Chutney.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 139, Carbs: 25g, Total Fat: 3g, Sat Fat: <1g, Fiber: 3g

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chewy Mocha Brownie Cookies

I find it hard to believe this are from the glycemic index cookbook, but they are!

Here's the recipe.  The fact that it makes only 2 dozen cookies undoubtedly helps keep the numbers down!

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup stick margarine
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
1/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs powdered sugar

1.  Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl.  Metl margarine in medium saucepan; remove from heat.  Stir in granulated sugar, cocoa, brown sugar and coffee granules.  Add buttermilk and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in flour mixture until just combined.  Transfer doubh to small bowl.  Cover and refirgerate 1 hour. (Dough will be stiff)

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.  Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookies sheets.

3.  Bake 10 to 11 mintues or until edges are firm.  Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes.  Remove to wire rack; cool completely.

4.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Makes 2 dozen cookies (2 cookies per serving)

Nutrients per Serving:  Calories: 142, Carbs: 26g, Total Fat: 4g, Sat Fat: 1g, Fiber: 1g

Family opinion:

Everyone liked them -- not as much as high octane chocolate chip cookies, but they were good.  Nice and chewy and REALLY chocolatey flavored.  And that was the key -- these were so rich tasting, two was enough to satisfy.  So perhaps that's the secret!

Okay -- I promise TOMORROW, I'll review the pancake recipe!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Vanity Plates are EVERYWHERE in the Washington, D.C. area.  Does that say something about the Nation's Capital and its residents? Hmmm..

Here are some to enjoy.  Some are obvious, and others a bit obscure.

This was on a black sports car -- fits, doesn't it?

These people are either equal opportunity pet owners
or fans of classic literature done by cats

That song started running through my head ...

This one is fun when you look at the whole photo.
And yes, those are snow flakes in the air.

My favorite.

Romans 8:31b
If God is for us, who can be against us?

And finally, these are some that I saw, but it was before the iPhone,
so no photos:








BOBZ KAT (on a Jaguar- HA)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Southwestern Chicken & Black Bean Skillet

I know I promised you pancakes, but it's not the weekend yet. I need more time for that. So, here's recipe #2 from the Glycemic Index Cookbook.

Southwestern Chicken & Black Bean Skillet

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 oz each)
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or thinly sliced green onions (optional)

1.  Combine cumin, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken.  Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken; cook 2 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to plate.

2.  Add onions to skillet; cook and stir 1 minute.  Add bell pepper; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in beans and salsa.

3.  Place chicken over bean mixture.  Cover and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Garnish with cilantro/green onions.  Sorry I don't have an "after" photo -- dinner was later than usual due to a rescheduled trumpet lesson and everyone was HUNGRY.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrients per Serving:  Calories: 262, Carbohydrate: 22g, Total Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: <1g, Fiber: 7g


First Modification:  I had three REALLY FAT chicken breasts, so I cut them in half -- butterfly style.  There was still plenty of cumin and chili powder to sprinkle the pieces.  I also added freshly ground pepper.

Second Modification:  I don't have a large non-stick skillet.  It worked out just fine anyway.

Third Modification:  Because I had more pieces by butterflying, I cooked the chicken in 2 batches.  That meant I needed to add another tsp of oil after the second batch in order to have enough for the onions to cook.

Fourth Modification:  I didn't have any red bells, so I used the last bit of yellow bell I had chopped up for my daughter's lunch.  Yes, she really likes that at lunch!

For the salsa, I had asked my husband to pick up a small container of pico de gallo in the deli case.  It was inexpensive and FRESH, so it was perfect.

When I returned the chicken to the mixture, I crowded the pieces a bit, but it worked out fine.  I only cooked them about 5 minutes though, because the pieces were much thinner.

I served it with couscous and a green caesar-dressing salad.  The couscous probably hurt the GI numbers, but two people in my house think a meal is incomplete without something to put it "on".  The only person who didn't like the dish is the child who doesn't like Mexican food.  Big surprise.  We told this child, "there's plenty of salad.  Enjoy."

I think this is a keeper. My husband observed that the vegetable/bean/salsa mix would be a great dip.  Next superbowl.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Glycemic Index Cookbook Recipe #1

This is recipe #1 from the Low Glycemic Index Cookbook.

Goat Cheese & Tomato Omelet

3 egg whites
2 eggs
1 Tbs water
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Nonstick Cooking Spray
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 plum tomato, diced (1/3 cup)
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil or parsley

1.  Whisk together egg whites, eggs, water, salt and pepper in medium bowl.

2.  Spray medium non-stick skillet with cooking spray, place over medium heat.  Add egg mixture; cook 2 minutes or until eggs begin to set on bottom.  Gently lift edge of omelet to allow uncooked portion of eggs to flow to underneath.  Cook 3 minutes or until center is almost set.

3.  Sprinkle with cheese, tomato and basil over half of omelet.  

Fold omelet over filling.  Continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and center is set.  Cut omelet in half; transfer to serving plates.

Makes 2 servings

Nutrients per Serving:  Calories: 80, Carbohydrate: 2g, Total Fat: 5g. Sat Fat: 3g; Fiber: 0g

Changes I made:

I ran into a grocery store late in the afternoon to get some goat's cheese.  It wasn't in the best neighborhood around here, so the only choice on offer was feta.  I love feta, so that's what I used.  Also, in the choice of basil or parsley, they only had fresh parsley, so I grabbed that.

My impression:

Well...I would use a lot less parsley than 2 Tbs next time. And I guess I'd try the goat cheese because although I love feta, it didn't melt well enough to really blend in.

I will say that it really DOES serve 2 people.  I split it with my son and it was more than enough. I had grapes with mine.

So on a scale of 5 stars, I'd give this a 3 the way I made it.

Next Up:  Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple-Cherry Chutney

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Microfiction Monday

Susan has given us a good one this week!  It's easy to play -- just look at the illustration provided, and make up a story of 140 characters or fewer. The 140 includes all punctuation and spaces, so don't cheat!  After you publish your story, go back to link to Susan's place, Stony River.

Chloe watched the time tick away. Were they one step closer to destruction or ultimate joy? Only the thief in the night knew.

If you don't understand the allusion, look at 1 Thessalonians 5:2

If you don't have a Bible, use and put in the reference.

If you still don't understand it, feel free to e-mail me and I'll explain!

Curbing the Sweet Tooth

I was wasting time at the local bookstore and saw this cookbook in the sale bin.  I love cookbooks, and my rule is that if I flip through it and see 10 recipes that use ingredients I already have in my cabinet, and that aren't repeats of what I have, I seriously consider buying it.  Since this was also on sale, I jumped.

So . . . it's a low-glycemic index cookbook. Low glycemic eating plans are designed to help you cut your addiction to unhealthy sugars. But the authors are normal people, not folks who are building an empire, so the recipes are accessible and sound tasty.

I'm going to challenge myself to cook my way through this entire cookbook, blogging about it all the way.  This sounds like it's no big deal, but there are some pages buried in there that have fish in them. I'm not a big fish fan, so we'll see how it goes.

I'll post recipes, especially if I tweak them. Hope you find something good to enjoy along the way!

On another note, last night the youth at our church put on a praise and worship service that they planned, directed, ran, etc. themselves.  The only adult help was that they asked the worship team to help on the music back-up.  They did a good job, and it seems to have planted a seed for them to do more.

Personally, I was thrilled to see my daughter participating and letting the Spirit move her. She is never so beautiful as when she is worshiping the Lord.  The photos are horrible, but they're what we have.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quilly's Writing Assignment #2

Your Writing Assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a complete story in 500 words or less using the scenario below to kick-start your thinking. Publish your story on your blog January 15th, then come back here and link it to my January 15th story.
February is the month of love. Your prompt requires only that you write a love story. Fashion it as you will, and remember there are many kinds of love.

I love that Quilly is getting me into my imagination and out of my daily drudge.  I'll be thinking of a short, sweet, love story . . . to be published on the 15th.  Why don't you join us?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Light Hearted Chicken

Okay, just to be clear, this does NOT require you to eat chicken hearts. Rather, it is a low-cal version of a favorite, and well worth the work, so you can feel light hearted about making it for someone you love and eating it as well!

It's from America's Test Kitchen, a light version of breaded parmesan chicken.

Make the tomato sauce first. I always forget, and I'm always waiting for it to finish.

Chicken Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts, cut in half (as if you're butterflying them)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 oz. grated Parmesan
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Egg Whites
1 Tbsp water
3 oz. Skim Mozzarella, shredded

Tomato Sauce Ingredients
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or squished through a press
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
1/8 tsp chili pepper flakes (like you put on pizza)
Fresh Basil (or dried, but use a lot less)

Tomato Sauce:

Put the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse them about 10 1-second pulses.  In a saucepan, cook the garlic, tomato paste and pepper flakes in the olive oil.  When the tomato paste turns dark, (about 10 minutes), add the chopped tomatoes.  Let this cook over medium heat until the sauce is reduced -- about 20 minutes.  After it's reduced, take it off the heat and add the basil for flavor.

Once you have that cooking, NOW you can start on the chicken.  OR you can use your own favorite jarred sauce and skip that altogether.

In a frying pan, mix the olive oil and Panko crumbs.  Stir over medium heat until the Panko is nicely golden.  Here are the before and after shots. (The after shot has the parmesan ... keep reading)

Take that off the heat and let it cool.

Get out three shallow dishes.  In the first, put the flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In the second, whisk the egg whites with the water. In the third, put the cooled Panko and the parmesan cheese.  Mix thoroughly.

Preheat the oven to 475 (I know it's hot -- it's so they'll be crisp).  Prepare a pan with sides by covering the inside with foil.  Then use a rack to keep the chicken off the floor of the pan (again, so it's crispy).  Spray the rack with Pam olive oil version.

Dry the chicken with paper towels, salt and pepper them.  Dredge the pieces in flour first, then the egg mixture, and then put them in the Panko.  Pat them to make sure the crumbs stick.  Lay them on the wire rack. When all are ready, spray the top of each piece with Pam olive oil and then put them in the oven for 15 minutes.

At 15 minutes, take them out.  Put 2 Tbsp of the tomato sauce on each piece.  Sprinkle about 1/3 cup mozzarella on top (I didn't have any so I used provolone slices -- that's why they look so uniform) Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the basil.  Serve with a fresh green salad and the extra sauce for those who like more.

Dinner's ready!

Fighting Cabin Fever

Last week, we missed school Wednesday through Friday due to snow and ice events. Then came the weekend, and this week, ny children have had two days (Monday & Tuesday) which were pre-scheduled to be teacher training days for the end of the quarter.  I know that most of the teachers get their grades finished and in before these days occur because the days are actually meeting/training days that the union has negotiated into the contract.

It seems logical that the school district could have said school will be OPEN this week, and not be in the hole for snow days already, but the union contract said something along the lines of "no teacher will have to interface with students on predesignated teacher work days."  I jest, but I'm guessing I'm not far off.

In between all the ice and snow, we've had some opportunities to get out (like yesterday), but mostly, we're surrounded by snow, ice, and cold.  And there's more on the way.

Thus, everyone here is suffering from a little cabin fever.  We've baked everything we wanted to, cleaned up our rooms, worked some puzzles, watched the shows we "never" have time for ...

Fortunately, in our area, there's a perfect cure for cabin fever.  It's called

and this is what we could see from our booth

Guess who's minding the thermostat?

And when we went outside, there were some stone guards in their caps of snow, ensuring that only those who love pizza should enter the shopping area.

Seriously though, we've gone to this place since before the kids were born.  The original store was on Duke Street over in our old neighborhood in Alexandria.  The place was in a DUMP of a building, but the pizza was delicious. The new place is much cleaner. Another thing is different, we noticed.  When the kids were infants, it was a LOT cheaper to go there!  With both of them ordering entrees, and us sharing a pizza, it was still the better part of a hundred bucks!  Of course, the portion sizes ensure a large lunch the next day, but's a cabin fever treat, once in a while.