Well it has been quite a busy year for Chris and me. We ended the year last year with a move from Durango CO to Phoenix AZ. We are truly enjoying living in Phoenix and the congregation here is such a blessing to work with.
Chris has been busy preparing sermons and classes and all the other many things that come along with ministry. We have become very close to one of the elders in particular and really enjoy their company. There are several men in the congregation that Chris has been able to build a good relationship with. He is even planning on going hunting (for the first time) early in the New Year with several of the men. Everyone here has truly welcomed us with open arms!
I have also been keeping fairly busy. I am in charge of publishing the bulletin each week, I taught the pre-school class for one quarter and we were both very involved with VBS. There are 4 or 5 women that I have really hit it off well with. One in particular is the previously mentioned Elder’s wife. She and I share many of the same interests and have even gone to watch several animated movies together (partly because neither of our husbands are very interested in watching animated movies). She also shares my interest in Scrapbooking. YEA!
We also added a new member to our family this year. Her name is Bela and let me tell you she has kept me very busy. She is now a 10 mo old mini-schnauzer. We actually brought her home on April 1st. I guess the joke was on us though cause it has been nothing but fun fun fun! She has quite an attitude! Her and Kitty get along alright now but in the beginning it was rough and I am surprised that Bela still has both eyeballs.
However, the biggest news of the year is that we just bought our first house. We are very excited and wish you could come see it. If you will notice the new address on your envelope you will know how to find us. (Just make sure you call first so we can pick up all the dog toys) We are planning on having a garden in the back yard and Chris is planning on building his own bar-b-que pit! We have lots of plans!
I haven’t done much Christmas decorating this year but we did get the tree up which is very nice. So here are a couple of pictures of the decorating I have done.
Well we are back from Florida! I was gone for too long. Jessi’s wedding was beautiful and only a few minor hick-ups. But she was still married at the end of the day so it will be fine in the long run. I know that the few things that did go wrong at mine are just fond memories now, that we all laugh about. I spent 3 weeks with Jamie in Florida prior to the wedding. We did some swimming and went to watch some roping and did A LOT of wedding preparation, especially once Mom got there. We did flowers, cake, rice bags, showers, sewing and rehearsals. Jamie and I were in charge of the lingerie party and we made some really cute invitations and planned a very successful little party. It was the first time I have ever really been in charge of a lingerie party. Her wedding colors were dark brown and a really pretty bright blue. It was very pretty. Here are just a few pictures that I have access to so far. Also a picture of the wedding invite and the lingerie party invite.
Well it’s been a busy few months! And way to long since I’ve posted anything. I have been busy (and exhausted) trying to house train Bela. She is doing much better, by the way. Chris installed a doggy door which has helped tremendously. She has only had one “accident” since she started using it. Just this last weekend, we were all upstairs and she sneaked off into to bedroom and peed in the floor! She totally knew what she was doing too. Chris saw it happen and she knew she was being a bad girl. She just decided, for whatever reason, that she didn’t want to go downstairs to go outside! (The little rat!)
So since my last post I have made a trip to Durango CO, and to Seattle, WA, survived VBS, had almost my entire family stay with us for a week (including a trip to the ER), and then went on a camping trip to Colorado. I also have a few recipes that I have never posted. All things considered though, it has been fun. So in the coming days I will be catching everyone up on all the fun events. OH! and I have been working on an online class to become a Medical Transcription Editor. It is going to be tough. I haven’t crammed my brain with this much information since college. So for those of you who have faithfully kept your eye on my blog, it’s about to get interesting again. YEA!
Here’s one of the recipes I had to try. (If only cause the name is so fun)
Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup olive oil
5 Anaheim chiles or 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (I used two Jalapenos and it was perfect for our taste)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained (original recipe called for whole, peeled tomatoes)
Kosher salt, to taste (I did not use Kosher salt, lol)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
Add diced tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.
So, Chris and I have been debating lately on whether or not to get an inside dog. Well yesterday we had to go to our little pet store to get a hose for one of the fish tank filters and they had some puppies!! Oh noes!!! There was a little Cocker Spaniel, a fluffy white Maltese, and 2 Mini Schnauzers. Well, mom should know that I would never get a Spaniel after our previous experience with that breed, although that was a loooong time ago. Maybe it is more telling that I was so young and still have bad memories of that dog. And I hope you all know I would never get a poodle breed. So without further ado my new puppy/birthday/christmas/anniversary present: “Bela”
And for those of you who may be wondering, Kitty, is okay. She is a little unsure about the whole thing but I have no doubt she will come around :)
You know sometimes you just have to be awe-inspired by God’s creation.
Several weeks ago on our way to worship we saw the most vivid, beautiful rainbow I have ever seen. Thankfully, I now own a phone that takes pictures because I didn’t have the camera with me. I still can’t believe the extent of the rainbow we saw. AND I find it fairly ironic that we saw it in Phoenix, the desert. You might expect to see beautiful rainbows in places where it gets a lot of rain but not usually in the desert. I still don’t feel like the camera did it justice but you get a fairly good idea of what it looked like.
Anytime I see a rainbow I am reminded of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.
This is easily the most exotic recipe I have ever tried and it was amazingly easy (once I figured out how to grate ginger). I have only made indian food one other time with my sister, Jené, when we made Roti in her tiny kitchen in Searcy, AR. And while that turned out quite tasty, it was an all day affair with two of us working our tail-ends off. This was so easy! I did have trouble finding the Garam Masala which the recipe said should be easy to find in “any grocery with a decent spice selection.” I spent at least an hour looking for this silly spice then finally decided to make my own, which luckily I had a list of ingredients “just in case” I couldn’t find it. Its a good thing too, cause I hate having to make two trips to the store. I also had to buy whole fennel seeds when I needed ground. I ended up grinding them up in my coffee grinder :D (Don’t tell Chris!)
My spice rack is getting quite extravagant though. I may need to buy another turn table to hold them all. I had to buy 4 new spices for this recipe, which in itself it quite amazing, as it calls for 12 different spices since I made my own Garam Masala.
Here is a “recipe” to make your own Garam Masala. I cut it in half from the original recipe because I knew I would only need 3 Tbls total, so I used 1/2 Tbls for each ingredient and 1/2 tsp of Cloves.
1 tablespoon coriander; ground
1 tablespoon cumin; ground
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper; ground
1 tablespoon fennel seeds; ground
1 tablespoon ginger; ground
1 tablespoon cardamom; ground
1 tablespoon nutmeg; ground
1 TEASPOON cloves; ground
You start out by seasoning your chicken breasts with some salt, cumin, and ground coriander seeds. (If you are making your own Garam Masala you may want to make this first and set aside so it will be ready when you need it.) Cover with yogurt and cook under the broiler. I should’ve listened to the recipe that said to line my baking sheet with foil because it really did char the juice onto my pan. I was afraid I had ruined it but an overnight soak and quite a bit of elbow grease finally cleaned the pan. Next time I will know better and there will definitely be a next time.
So I decided to make Stuffed Eggplant almost 2 weeks ago, before I was too busy to cook. So I went out and bought eggplant and all the fixings but then never got to use them. Then 2 days ago I resolved to make it but this time when I went to get the eggplant out of the fridge it was decidedly fuzzier than when it went in the fridge. Needless to say a trip to the grocery was in order.
The recipe said to roast the eggplant in the oven for 30 mins and scoop out the center, but once I scooped out the center the shell was WAY to flimsy to support putting anything back in.
So I converted the recipe to a meatloaf and just baked it for a while. Everything was already cooked anyway so it just had to “set”
I think the next time I make this I will cook the eggplant completely differently. I think I will just peel it, chop it, and sauté it for a little while. After the roasting and scooping and recooking it was a little mushy for my taste. The flavor of the recipe was outstanding though. I doubled the recipe, so we would have leftovers and added mushrooms. Believe it or not I felt like it needed more cheese too. LOL
If you would like the original recipe you can look here. But below are my alterations.
2 medium eggplant ~2 – 2 ½ lbs, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cup mozzarella cheese, divided (I felt like it needed more cheese)
1 sm can sliced mushrooms
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Peel and chop eggplant. Saute in a skillet over medium-high heat in about 2 Tbl. of Olive Oil. Place in large mixing bowl.
In same skillet brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat; drain off the grease. Place into the mixing bowl, and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, and the beaten egg; mix well.
Transfer to a slightly sprayed 8×8 baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Cook for about 30 minutes until it is set and cheese is golden brown.
It seems like there is just so much going on these days! I don’t even know where to begin. I have now had two weeks in a row where I have had to skip “Experiments In the Kitchen Day” and that just will not do! So I am going to change the day to Monday instead of Friday. I may should have seen that as being a busy day but oh well. This weekend we have a potluck tonight at the home of one of the members, and I am taking food to another family. Then on Saturday morning we are going to the Phoenix zoo with the youth group and Saturday evening we are going to the Camelback church of Christ for a fundraiser for the Copper Basin Bible Camp. Then Sunday between services we are going to a singing at a local nursing home. So I may be tired on Monday but I am going to get in the kitchen anyway. For one thing by then we will be out of leftovers. I’m hoping the leftovers stretch that far but I don’t think they will. Hehe it’s feast of famine around here. Well this is going to have to be short, I need to go start the cooking for tonight :)
Keep in touch my lovely friends and family!
Just thought I would let you know that I am postponing “Experiments in the Kitchen Day” to next week! This week has been crazy, we have had stuff planned almost every night this week and I still never decided what to cook, so it will just have to wait till next week.
I hope you all are having a good weekend! Keep in touch!!
Well, we finally got to have our cookout last night :) It was a blast. The hamburgers and hotdogs were great! Chris is really getting the hang of cooking out :) I think next time we will cook ribs! YUM!! Yesterday was Chris’s day off so we went out for breakfast to this little café in Carefree that is so good. It was about a 45 min drive for us to get there but it was totally worth it. They claim the “best biscuits and gravy this side of the Mississippi,” and I am willing to agree with them. It is called the Black Mountain Coffee Shop and it’s this tiny little restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. The owner has been coming to church at North Valley for the last few weeks. They are super nice.
After that we came home to get ready for the cookout! All that cleaning I’ve been putting off had to get done. I even mopped the floors (hehe) We played a card game called 9 down and I actually won. We all had so much fun that we may try to get together once a month for “Grub and Games” I would like to teach everyone Shanghai Rummy, and we are also looking for a game called Pegs and Jokers.
Tomorrow night is the first Ladies Bible Class I will attend here. We are going to be starting the book, “Daughters of Eve.” Then Friday will be “Experiments in the Kitchen Day.” I have not decided what I am cooking yet but I will be sure to let you know. :)