Monday, January 31, 2011

The Time is Here

I'm feeling pretty anti-winter this year.  I normally love a good snow day and get the warm fuzzies staring out the window at the falling snow.  This year, however, I'm dreaming of Spring.  I'm ready for sunshine and warm breezes, driving with the windows opening and watching my daffodils bloom.

It's not because I just suddenly hate winter.  It's because I wish I could press the fast forward button on life and skip right by the next month.

A year ago today, I wrote a post that I titled "Heartbreak".  I wrote about the change in my house and in the change in my Isaac.  It was this time last year that my dining room went from a this:

To this: 

It was the time of year when Isaac went from his usual self to this groggy, loopy person who was unable to take of himself.  

I've been typing this blog for about a week now but I only can manage a few words each time.  There are so many different emotions swirling around me right now.  One minute I'm fine, the next I'm crying.  I don't miss sleeping on an air mattress, getting little sleep, listening to an oxygen compressor, changing adult diapers, administering medications, and asking Isaac how bad the pain is.  I wouldn't go back to this time last year.  I wouldn't ask Isaac to go through any of that again, especially not knowing now that he is in Heaven!  I just miss him.  I wish I could've been there to see his face when he entered Heaven for the first time.  I am sure he'll be the first one there to see the look on my face when I do finally get there!!  

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Butternut Squash and Red Onion Pizza

The idea of "squash" and "pizza" don't seem to go together, do they?  Well give this recipe a try and you will change your mind!  It looks pretty, smells amazing, and tastes fantastic!


Butternut Squash and Red Onion Pizza


Ingredients
1/3 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup EVOO
salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely choopped
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
8 oz mozzarella cheese
garlic salt

Directions
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475°. On a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in the upper third of the oven until golden and slightly softened, about 12 minutes.


Once squash is finished, toss it with the red onion, parsley, garlic, and some EVOO.


Line the reserved baking sheet with a clean sheet of parchment. Stretch the dough to fit the baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO, and sprinkle with garlic salt. 


Sprinkle the cheese on top, followed by the squash mixture. 


Bake in the lower third of the oven until the crust is deep golden, about 15 minutes.
YUM!!!



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Stir Fried Chicken Paprikash

I inherited an amazing Pampered Chef wok from my mom when my parents moved into their RV and I LOVE it.  I'm a big fan of throwing veggies, a protein, and a few seasonings into a pan and stir frying them and this wok makes it so easy!  Plus, the whole time I cook I sing "I'll stir fry you in my WOK" from Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys - haha!!

This recipe was EASY and it is so delicious!  It's an under 30 minutes meal!

Stir-Fried Chicken Paprikash
Ingredients
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, sliced across the grain 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 1 tablespoon sherry, the garlic, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in 2 teaspoons oil.

In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth and the remaining 1 tablespoon sherry. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch until dissolved.

Heat a 14-inch, flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes upon contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken mixture, spread in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Using a metal spatula, stir-fry until the chicken begins to brown, about 1 minute; transfer to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium and swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion and bell pepper; season with salt and stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. 

Add the paprika, return the chicken and any juices to the wok, increase the heat to high and stir-fry until just combined. Swirl in the broth mixture and stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and parsley.



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Lazy Baked Greek Chicken

This one is so easy and so delicious!  It takes only a few ingredients, but is pretty enough and tasty enough to serve for company!
Lazy Baked Greek Chicken


Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 10-once box chopped spinach, thawed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (about 1/3 palmful)
  • 4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Heat 1 tbsp (or a swirl around the pan) of EVOO in small skillet over med heat. Add the onion and 2/3 of the garlic and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl to cool, then add the spinach and feta and season with salt and pepper

Melt the butter in the same pan, turn off the heat and add the panko, oregano and remaining garlic; toss.
Drizzle baking dish with EVOO, or spray with cooking spray. 

Split each chicken breast across (but not all the way through) and open like a book. Stuff with the spinach and feta, letting the stuffing overflow at the edges. 
**This whole splitting the chicken thing didn't work for me.  So, instead I just lightly pressed the breadcrumbs onto the chicken, scooped the spinach mixture on top, and then sprinkled the remaining crumbs on top.


Place chicken pieces in the baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs. Bake until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. (mine took about 30-35 minutes)

I served mine with a side of quinoa tossed with a cube of chimichurri I froze this summer!  It was so good...I confesss...I ate two pieces of chicken!
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Linking this to Tasty Tuesday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe Round Up


I don't really have a recipe box.  I do have this small box that holds a few recipes people have given me on recipe cards, but most of my recipes are either torn out of magazines or printed from the internet. I was having a hard time keeping track of my favorites, so I decided to get them organized!

Supplies:
3 ring binder
sheet protectors
label tabs
pile of magazines/print outs


I started by tearing out all the recipes I liked in my stack of magazines.  Then I organized them into different categories.

Next came placing all of the recipes into the plastic sleeves and adding the label tabs.

I printed out "table of contents" pages for the beginning of each section.  As I add a recipe to a section, I just write down what it is so I have an easy reference!

Isn't it pretty? ;-)


Easy Peasy!

And, coming this week...recipes for:
Butternut Squash Risotto
Lazy Greek Chicken
Stir Fried Chicken Paprikash
Butternut Squash and Red Onion Pizza
YUM-O!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Baked Oatmeal, the Sequel

The baked oatmeal recipe I shared last week was a big hit!  I had several friends whip up batches of their own.  Yum!

This week, I took the baked oatmeal recipe and lightened it up a bit.  The original recipe is really sweet, and I wanted to take out some of that sweetness for every day eating.  I cut the calories from 360 (w/ 15 g of fat) to 230 (w/ 8g of fat) if you do 8 servings! :)

Here's the new ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar  1/2 cup sucanat
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 eggs 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup melted butter  1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1 cup, unsweetened dried cranberries and/or cherries

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, pour into a 9x9 pan or a pie plate, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes!

  • Also, this time I made mine in muffin tins to make portion control a little easier!  

  • My friend, Laura posted her adaptation to this recipe over at her blog, Start From Scratch

  • Find more Tasty Tuesday recipes at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I've spent a lot of time today catching up on my Bible reading!  I'm taking part in the "Bible in 90 Days Challenge" over at Mom's Toolbox.  I was about 3 days behind this morning, but now I'm only about 5 pages behind and that'll be polished off before the day is done!
MomsToolbox

One of the questions Amy asked on today's check-in post is - how are you making time?  What are you giving up to make time for your reading?

So, here's what it looks like when I'm doing my reading:

I've got my "Bible in 90 Days" edition of the Bible and a bookmark to track my reading.  I use colored pencils to highlight verses that jump out at me, plus I have a little notepad and pen next to me to jot down verses that I want to go back to and look at again when I have more time.  

I do about half of the reading in the morning while I drink my coffee before heading off to work.  Then, I finish the reading either right when I get home from work or just before heading upstairs to bed.  

The biggest thing I have "sacrificed" (though that seems like too strong of a word!) is TV!  The nice thing about my house is that I took one up the bedrooms and made it into a den, so my TV is on the 2nd floor rather than downstairs in my living room.  That helps me resist the urge to come right home and plop down in front of the TV!  Instead, I come home and plop down in my chair downstairs with my Bible!

Leviticus and Numbers were tough to get through, but I LOVE the fact that I only needed to spend a few days on those "tough" books rather than pouring over them for a month or more.  I'm in Deuteronomy right now and I'm soaking in so many promises of God's faithfulness - I love it!  

Anybody else out there doing this challenge?  How's it going for you?

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WFW - Exodus


Last week I read the book of Exodus.  There's a lot in Exodus about plagues and rules for building things that can be kind of mundane to get through.  I love Exodus, though, as a reminder that God may have us walk through deserts.  Sometimes, we feel like we're wandering in circles and God can't possibly be anywhere in our situation.  But - like these verses say, God is not just "in" our desert with us, He is in front of us to guide us through it no matter how dark it may get.  

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Baked Oatmeal

With winter in full swing, it's time to break out the warm, hearty oatmeal for breakfast!  Rather than reaching for instant packet oatmeal, why not mix up a batch of this EASY and DELICIOUS baked oatmeal?  It's also great for brunch parties!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries



Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

3.  Beat in milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.  Stir in cranberries.

4.  Spread into a 13x9 pan or deep pie plate.

5.  Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes


I made mine Sunday night and just reheat in the morning!  It's good with a splash of milk on top and a cup of hot coffee!

(I also added a few tablespoons of wheat germ and flaxseed)

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Year in Song

In January I clung to the simple melody and quiet promise of JJ Heller's "Hands".
When my world is shaking, Heaven stands.  When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands.


In February, I was reminded over and over and over again of just how much "He Loves Us".  I wrote: God is loving me this way - He is loving me with such power and strength, that like a tree in a hurricane, I have no choice but to bend beneath His mercy.





Towards the end of March, I started to feel bits of happiness.  Joy became the theme of my song and the beat of my heart...found in the "Beautiful News" of my God!



In April, it all really sunk in and I felt more "Homesick" than I ever had.  The reality that life really did have to go on was painfully clear.


About mid-May, I was encouraged on a rainy day by "Grace Like Rain" - reminded that living the rest of life without Isaac may seem hard, but when I get to Heaven we will have ETERNITY to catch up!


In June, I shared one of my "theme songs" through this journey, a reminder that God NEVER lets go.


July finally seemed to bring me out of "the valley", and I found myself soaring!

If I had to sum up everything I learned about God last year in just one song, though, it would be "Our God" by Chris Tomlin.

Our God is GREATER
Our God is STRONGER
God, You are higher than ANY OTHER
Our God is HEALER
AWESOME IN POWER
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?


I remember the first time I heard it, I kept hearing the addition of the word "cancer" to the lyrics.


Our God is GREATER than even cancer
Our God is STRONGER than osteosarcoma
God, You are higher than ANY OTHER
Our God is HEALER of every disease
AWESOME IN POWER
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?  not cancer
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?  NOT CANCER.

God is GREATER - He is greater than, stronger than, and can heal cancer, sin, death, sorrow, grief, pain, anger, confusion, and any other thing Satan attempts to throw at us.  OUR GOD IS GREATER.




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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Lightened Up Beef Stroganoff

I've never made Beef Stroganoff before, but I found this recipe in a recent issue of "Clean Eating" magazine and it looked delicious!  The only change I made was to substitute fat free Greek yogurt for low fat sour cream.  The FF Greek yogurt has a similar taste to the sour cream, but is so much thicker and creamier.  I think next time I make it, I'll roast the mushrooms a little before putting them in to enhance their flavor a bit.


Beef Stroganoff


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups wide ww egg noodles
4 1/2 tsp evoo divided
2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1/3 cup low fat sour cream
1 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley, divided
9 oz beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 shallots, chopped
1 1/2 lbs brown or cremini mushrooms, chopped
Directions:
1.  Cook noodles according to the package directions.
2.  Meanwhile, heat 3 tsp oil in saucepan over med heat. Whisk in flour and cook whisking constantly for one minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook whisking constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in sour cream, Dijon, soy sauce, salt, pepper and dill. Cover and keep warm.
3.  Heat remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over med heat. Cook beef, stirring occasionally until browned on both sides, but still pink in the center, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
4.  Add shallots to skillet and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally, until browned. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until mushrooms are browned and tender, 7-9 minutes. Return beef, along with any juices and sauce to skillet. Stir.
5.  Transfer noodles to plates or platter and top with beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining tsp of dill and serve.

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