2010-2011

posted in: random | 1

Happy New Year!  As I write this I’ve alreayd run a 5k (with a horrible time, but I did it), had a leisure brunch with 2 good friends, and am now watching the Gators, who seem to have forgotten how to play football, at least for the first quarter.

As I look back on 2010, I look back on it with mixed emotions:

1.  Love the friendships that God has sustained and used to nourish me…some in Louisville, some new and old ones here in the RDU area, and of course some fb and faraway love and friendship from people who don’t see me every day.

2.  I love my job that God has provided for me.  At the end of 2009, I knew this new job was coming.  I was so excited about it.  Then, however, I don’t think I knew what a HUGE job it was.  I mean, you know its going to be great and hard and a God-sized task – but its not until you have been in it for 9 months today that you reaize that you are totally inadequate for it, you are thankful for others who are a part of the journey with you, and you leave every day somewhat overwhelmed with what God has asked you to do.  He is good.  His grace sustains.

3.  The part of my life that I am most disappointed in at the end of 2010 is the lack of healthy living in 2010.  I have gained 25 lbs as of this morning, and that can’t be the case.  So…here we are back at it again.

4.  2011 will be the year of pushing it hard.  In every area: writing (job, blogs, book), exercising (1000 miles, at least 3 races, yoga, kettlebell routines, reading (1 book a week, and I read slow), relationships (which are key to live and I want to keep pouring into those, photography (I love this and I want to get better at it), and cooking (see paranthetical statement with photography).  And this is all not knowing what 2011 will hold…I’m praying some big prayers.  We’ll see how the faithful God and my Provider will answer those.

So, what I do know…God is gracious, faithful, and willing to forgive.  He is the constant and stable in my life.  He will be the same on Jan 1, 2012 as He is today.

But, I can change.  God’s power and grace gives me reason to change.  The cross is my ability to change.  The gospel must impact every area of my life.

Who will be on January 2012 when I will almost be 35?

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake (2010.18)

posted in: chocolate | 0

Semi-homemade dessert/brunch/breakfast. This is good – but to me it tastes just like a normal cake – in a different shape. It should be good with the amount of eggs in it. The chocolate isn’t overwhelming (I didn’t put the glaze on it – it probably would be too sweet). Even though it didn’t come out the best, I’m still taking it to the office tomorrow because I can’t see throwing money completely down the drain. I hope some of it gets eaten at least.
It does annoy me when magazines don’t put their name on the top or bottom of pages. I don’t know where this came from, but here you go:

1 butter cake mix
1 8oz container (light) sour cream
3/4 c canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Mix all but the last two. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan – half the batter. Combine brown sugar and chips – sprinkle in (see picture). Top with remaining batter. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until done. Let cool, remove, cut.
The sugar and the chocolate helps the chocolate chips from sinking. I would maybe even put a little more – but I doubt this will make it into a rotation. Although good for a quick yummy eating because most of the stuff will be handy or cheap.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (2010.17)

posted in: chocolate | 0

Best thing I’ve cooked (new) all month. Great way to end April! We are having Joy Prom at Church tonight and these are for the hundreds of volunteers we will have:

Makes 16 – not healthy at all (but very yummy)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup creamy pb (I used skippy, not all natural) – the whole regular jar – then used the jar for Oats in a Jar this morning for breakfast
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 roll (16.5 oz) chocolate chip cookie dough

350. square ungreased pan.
Press about 3/5 of the dough on bottom of pan. Mix sugar, pb, and vanilla. Spread on top. Crumble rest of cookie dough on top and bake for about 30 minutes.
Let chill for about an hour. Cut into bars.
Serve chilled or room temp. Get them out of the house!

Couscous Chicken Salad with Vegetables (2010.16)

posted in: Vegetables | 0

I really like couscous and I like chicken and I like vegetables. Thought this would be good. That’s about it – it was good.

Here you go:
This is from Easy Summer Meals (Cooking Light)

1 1/2 cup water
1 T evoo
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup couscous (uncooked)
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 finely chopped zuk
1/2 cup chopped mushroom
1 1/2 cup chopped chicken (I cooked mine and saved the broth for some soup I am going to make this wknd)
1/2 cup diced carrots
3 green onions, chopped
3 T dried currants
1 T dried chopped mint (or fresh)
pepper

Dressing:
1 cup plain ff yogurt
3 T lemon juice
1 T honey (less because it was really sweet, or Agave nectar)
1 T apple cider vinegar (or what you have)

Chop all veggies. Chop chicken. Cook couscous according to directions. Mix up dressing. Combine all. Best served over mixed greens for a light lunch.
1 1/2 cups: 368 cal, 8 fat, 4 fiber

Strawberry Oat Bars – 2010.15

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

I thought this recipe was going to be better than what it turned out to be: oh, well. I liked the jam – although it made it sticky. And I liked the dough before it was baked. But, it turned out dry. Oh, well. Here you go (because I even put fails up here). Ok – my roommate said they weren’t a fail – she ate it. I told her I threw the rest of them out.

This is called learning:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup strawberry preserves
Mix dry, add wet. Take one cup out and set aside.
Press the rest of the dough into the bottom of foil-lined 9×9 pan. Bake the dough for 20 minutes at 350. Remove from oven, spoon the jam over the hot crust. Top with remaining dough.
Bake an additional 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
This recipe is from my GoodNeighbor magazine from my insurance agency.

Two Bean Italian Soup (2010.14)

posted in: Vegetables | 0

Does a recipe ever surprise you? This was my question when I tasted this soup this afternoon – shortly after it perfumed my apartment with wonderful smelling-ness!

BHG’s February 2008 magazine gave me this Tuscan Bean Soup. I only made 2 alterations to it. And, it is very yummy. I could drink the broth by the gallon!

So easy too. Don’t be afraid of soups in the spring/summer…

1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped

1 smallish onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 T olive oil

2 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (or make your own)

1 can great northern beans

1 can garbanzo beans (both beans, drained and rinsed)

3 tsp italian seasoning

1 pkg spinach

black pepper

Saute first two in olive oil till softened, add garlic. Then add the broth and the beans. Let simmer. Add the spinach and cook for about 30 seconds – then it is done. How easy and surprisingly healthy and good.

Baked Grits – 2010.13

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

My Dad is from the South and he loves grits. So, when I knew he was staying for a few days to help me get settled here in Raleigh, I knew I wanted to make this recipe. I halved the recipe and glad I did because their serving sizes are huge! This was rich, creamy, nutty (due to Parm cheese). So good. Cooking Light has a winner here.

2 cups milk (I used skim, in a glass, from a local farm: delish)
2 cups water
pinch of salt
3/4 cup quick cooking grits (scant, I just like them thicker)
2 oz grated parm cheese (about 2/3 cup)
2 1/2 egg whites
pinch of black pepper
2 T chopped fresh chives
pinch of salt

Bring milk, water, and salt to boil. Stir in grits, turn down to simmer, cover and let cook, stirring occassionally, for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, grate cheese, seperate egg whites, chop chives.
Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks (don’t over beat) with pinch of salt. Add chives, pepper, and salt to grits when they are done. Fold in the egg whites (don’t deflate them). Pour in greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Lightly browned, little wobbly in middle.
Enjoy. I cooked some eggs and decorate the plate with remaining chives.
About 200 calories – and worth it!

Chocolate Orange Pecan Brownies (2010.12)

posted in: chocolate | 0

Bon Appetit redeems itself with this week’s recipe. And aren’t I glad?!
There is a bakery/coffee shop/cafe in Montana that this recipe comes from (definitely would warrant a trip to Bozeman, MT), and these are delicious cake like on the top, fudgy in the middle, brownies with a hint of orange (I would like more).
These made 16 and the only thing I could say that I would like better is if they cut easier – they were kinda crumbly – but I did not wait till they were cool, so that may have been my problem.
Sorry – no pictures. It was this morning and I was in a hurry to get them done before work, and didn’t have time to pick up the camera…

1/2 cup boiling water
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans (I didn’t toast mine)
2 eggs
10 T unsalted butter, melted, cooled
zest of one orange (I might do two next time)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine water and cocoa powder, set aside. Melt butter, set aside to cool.
Mix sugar through pecans, set aside.
Whisk eggs, add butter, orange zest, and vanilla. Add in chocolate mixture. Add in dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
Pour into greased 9×9 pan, bake at 350 for about 27-30 minutes. I left mine in there for 28 and they were a little too done on the sides, but perfect in the middle.
Enjoy!

Wizenberg's Blueberry Oat Scones – (FAIL) 2010.11

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I hate having failures. These weren’t even worth their weight of flour I used!
I changed my mind from the lemon blueberry cheesecake bars to Molly Wizenberg’s Blueberry Oat Scones in Bon Appetit..
These turned out more like blue pancakes. I used blackberries instead of blueberries but everything else I followed the recipe to a tea. They just had no flavor (and I used freshly picked then frozen blackberries, so it wasn’t the fruit). Texture wasn’t right for scones.
Oh, well. Everything can not be a success!
Next week is another chance for Bon Appetit to redeem themselves: chocolate orange brownies. We shall see.

Lumberjack Hash – 2010.10

posted in: Uncategorized | 1

I had everything I needed for this in my fridge/freezer – which is good because I’m trying to clean it out (it is slowly working, I promise)
This was good, I changed it a little bit – but it still needed more salt I think (I didn’t put in extra in b/c of the saltiness of the ham). This is a Cooking Light recipe (best of 2004) and is 6 WW points as directed (mine probably evened out)

2 T evoo
1 medium onion, chopped
1 orange pepper, seeded and chopped
24 oz shredded hash brown potatoes, frozen
pepper to taste (salt if you want more)
2 2 oz ham steaks, chopped
1 cup 2% sharp cheddar

Saute onion for about 4 minutes, add pepper. Add in rest (not cheese). Cook until slightly browned and potatoes are done.
Smooth out in large frying pan – top with cheese. Let cheese melt. Divide by 4 and plate up. Becca brought some Plant City strawberries and a banana. And I have 2 servings leftover for Sunday and Tuesday!

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