Thursday, July 29, 2010

3 Things

3 Things
1) Today I am thankful for co-workers that kept me entertained all throughout a very boring conference.
2) Today I am thankful for loosing almost 20lbs and not being afraid to have a "cheat day"
3) Today I am thankful for my daughter being so ornery. It's really fun sometimes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Last day of freedom and 3 things

Last day of freedom
    Today is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow I head back to "school". I say "school" because 1) I will actually be at a professional development lecture and 2) we won't actually have kids till Wednesday. I spent today with my daughter and a friend and his son. Aaron and I also spent some time together and took Z to Target after dinner for a "walk".

Here are the highlights from my summer:
1. NYC
2. Mexican Cruise
3. Copious amounts of time with my daughter
4. Said daughter is 99% potty trained
5. Got to hang out a lot with friends and coworkers
6. Attended my friends wedding
7. Baked a lot of good recipes
8. Re-connected with a lot of friends on Facebook
9. Started to re-align myself with God
10. Lost nearly 20lbs (granted I had gained 10 on my two week vacation)

Things I will do differently next summer
1. Instead of sitting on the computer during Z's nap time, I would like to read
2. Bake 3 times a week
3. Keep up with my garden more
4. See, in person, my friends more
5. NOT travel, as to save for our 10 year anniversary (we would like to take a 2-3 week vacation of Europe)
6. Invest more attention in Z
7. MAYBE not worry about the house as much
8. Get out of the house to do fun things with Z at least 3 times a week
9. Scrapbook, summers are the only time I get to, and I didn't at all this summer
10. MAYBE find a way to earn a bit of cash for the summer

This school year will be way different then what I've come to expect over the last 2 years. Why? Because I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade science. I've never taught 8th grade science. I really hope I can prove that this was the right desicion for the principal. I have a lot to live up to and a lot to imporve on. I am so nervous that I dropped being the "head" of a committee I loved because I want to be able to focus more on the "new" subject I'm teaching. We shall see how it turns out.

3 Things
1) Today I am thankful for having 8 weeks off every summer. What a great job I have.
2) Today I am thankful for Aaron getting done with work early and spending it all with us.
3) Today I am thankful for new friendships that will hopefully grow into a tight bond.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A lost friend, cookies and 3 thing

     I sometimes wonder what it takes for a friendship to be over. I tend to hold onto a relationship for as long as I can regardless of whether or not it's recipricated. Within the last year I've really come to realize this. I had a dear friend who I went to high school and college with. We were nearly inseperable in college. We did so much together and so much for each other. When Aaron and I moved to NYC, I called EVERY single weekend to talk to her. On the rare occassions I didn't call, she never bothered to call me or what not. I never thought much of it. When Aaron and I moved back home, we saw each other once. I made a mental note that I would not go out of my way to stay in contact with her since she was not putting the effort in. So, we didn't speak for nearly a year.
     Within that year, my family got burned by the church we were attending, we lost some dear friends because we chose not to go to that church and my husband decided he did not believe in God anymore. All through this, not one phone call just to see how things were going BUT I never bothered calling her either. Finally we ran into each other at Target and her excuse was that she was busy. Ok, I understand that. We do live almost 45 minutes away from each other. 
    So we vowed to try to get together more often. I called on multiple occassions trying to plan something out. Nothing every came of it. She has yet to call me to try to get anything together. She's gone on vacation right now to NYC. She has spoken and communicated with many other friends while in NYC but not me.
     I guess I just thought we had a real friendship that would last forever. That we'd always be tehre for each other.  That when I point blank tell her I need her friendship right now, she'd be there. I was wrong.
     I am learning more and more as I grow older, that friendships aren't always solid. Sometimes they are friendships of convienence. And this is ok, I just need to remind myself of that.
   I do have some very very very dear friends who no matter where I travel, we stay in touch. I am thankful for them. 

    OK, I had to get that off my heart, cuz it was kind of heavy laying there.

So tonight I once again made those TO DIE FOR chocolate chip cookies. This time, I doubled the recipe and added peanut butter chips as well as a bit of almond flavoring. YUMMY!! I can not recommend this recipe highly enough.

3 Things
1) Today I am thankful for co-workers who care enough to take time out of their NON-work day to work
2) Today I am thankful for an amazing daughter God has entrusted me with. She made me smile so much today.
3) Today I am thankful for a God who provides me with what I need

Mayan Chocolate Ice Cream

This was given to me by my friend Sarah. She did this w/o an ice cream maker (which I do not have) I am so looking forward to trying this.

In a double broiler (or create a makeshift double broiler by placing a medium glass bowl over a pot of simmering water): whisk together 3 cups of half and half, 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 10- 12 oz dark chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate)...until all is melted. Then, take the bowl off the stove and add 2 ts (or more) vanilla or almond extract (I used my homemade stuff; vanilla pods extracted in rum), a couple teaspoons of cinnamon... and however much cayenne pepper that you think you can take (I dumped in a bunch). Set this aside.

In a different (large) bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup sugar, 2 pinches of salt and 10 egg yolks.

In another saucepan, simmer 3 more cups of half and half (it will be warm, but not too hot. You should be able to stick your finger in the liquid without swearing...). Now, you will be tempering the eggs (which will be a bit tricky). Basically, you do not want your eggs to solidify. You have to pour the warm half and half ever so slowly into the egg and sugar mixture ...while whisking. Whisk with vigor!

Now, you can pour the egg mixture into the saucepan...and simmer again. Whisk the whole time. Your custard should get thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (the temp. will be around 170*). It will feel heavy and smell wonderful.

The chocolate mixture, the egg-custard mixture and a bunch of chopped almonds should be mixed together at this point(but only if everything is completely smooth with no globs of egg floating around in your ice cream-to-be). If you have the globby egg problem, pour your custard into a bowl through a sieve to remove the unsightly intruders. But you shouldn't have to deal with the issue in the first place, so do not worry.

Set the unified mixture in an ice-bath for 15 minutes (to cool it down quickly).
Then, stick it in the fridge to chill for 3 hrs before sticking it in the ice cream maker. Or ignore the ice cream maker and freeze it in a tubberware container (in the back of the freezer). I suggest that you just ignore the ice cream maker. Why create more dishes for yourself?

This recipe makes 2 quarts (so, yoiu might want to share with at least one other person...).

Enjoy the creamy ice cream with a kick of chili pepper!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Salt, recipe review and 3 things

Tonight the hubby and I say SALT. It was way better then both of us thought. I recommend it.

On Friday, I made this S'mores Pie for a party I was attending. First off, I used a 9x12 pan instead of a pie tin. Fail number 1. Then, I let the whole pie sit for too long. Fail number 2. Since I used the 9x12 pan, people were too intimidated to eat it, so we had a whole crap load leftover. Fail number 3. In all honesty, I didn't really care for the recipe as much as I thought I would. I probably won't make it again. BUT I am anxious to try this one.

3 Things
1) I am thankful for having some amazing friends who take care of me no matter what.
2) I am thankful for a day well spent with my husband
3) I am thankful for open and honest discussion about my husbands religious "de-conversion" as he calls it. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

3 Things Real Quick

*Life has been hectic here as of late. Finally getting back to work and still running around with Z. Excuse the spiratic posts for a bit please.

1) I am thankful for grandparents who are always willing to take Z for a few days
2) I am thankful for a co-worker who drug my butt to school to force me to work in the classroom
3) I am thankful for a team of co-workers who really get along and desire to be on the same page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family, cookies and 3 Things

Today my step-cousins came into town. My dad and my step mom have been married for almost 10 years. I can not have fathomed a more wonderful Step-Mother. Along with her, came her 11 brothers and sisters. I am for ever thankful that my family (me, Aaron and Z) and them get along really well. So,  they let their children, The Cousins, drive into Phx and spend time with my sister K. I'm spending the next few days in Phx at my dad's house with them. Usually The Cousins include the boy AND girl cousins. This time however, since my brothers are out of town (one is actually in The Czech on a 3 month mission trip/internship) just the girls came.  The Cousins will definitely go shopping, eat and laugh a lot. They are so fun.

I've been waiting to try out a "new recipe" for some chocolate chip cookies that I found at Serious Eats. It's not necessarily a new recipe in the fact it adds different ingredients, but it uses the same ingredients from Tollhouse and tweeks them. Anyways, I figured now would be a good time to try it out since they were here and are not on the crazy diet I am on. Here's what I did:
1) I caramelized the brown sugar and butter
2) The recipe calls for 2 full eggs, instead I used 1 whole egg and 1 egg yoke
3) Used a much larger scoop
All this together has seriously created THE BEST chocolate chip cookie I have every had.

Thankful Fors:
1) I am thankful for an extended family that is fun to hang out with and really embraces our God
2) I am thankful for a husband who works hard and takes time off just to eat dinner with my family
3) I am thankful for Z using going on the toilet EVERY TIME today. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Away for the weekend...

That's why I've missed a few "thankful fors", so here are mine for Sunday:

1) I am thankful for a family, no matter how irritated I get with them.
2) I am thankful for a daughter, who no matter how ornery she is, will always capture my heart
3) I am thankful for forcing myself to go to church today. Although I do not like the church I attended, it did have a message that fed a part of my spirit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Simple and Short: 3 or 4Things

1) Today I am thankful for a friend who I can speak to freely and not worry about her judging me.

2) Today I am thankful for a husband who has worked till 10pm the last two nights (missing dinner with my family and not being able to say goodbye to his daughter) to make our dreams come true.

3) Today I am thankful for a "free" day, where I could do whatever I wanted. 

4) Today I am thankful for God, and knowing I can take refuge in his mercy and grace.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God really does have an odd sense of humor.

This past weekend Aaron took off to go visit some friends in Oregon. I took the opportunity to head up to Flagstaff to see a dear friend get married. While there, it was some what of a reunion for a lot of my dear, close, christian friends who I do not get to see often enough, worship with ever and live life with. Boy was I in for a treat.
Not only was I put to work right as I got to my friends house, but I worked long hours. It's ok though, because 1) I was in awesome company and 2) the wedding turned out beautiful and I will forever be a part of it. So needless to say, Friday and Saturday morning were VERY hectic.
The wedding took place Saturday at 6pm. It had rained pretty much all day and stopped just in time for the wedding. God is awesome huh? Always knows what we need. Didn't end up at home till after 11pm.
Sunday we headed back to the house for a time of worship and spending some time in the Word.

I have to tell you that it has been a very long time since I have been with all these people worshiping together. God really knew our hearts and met us there. I believe He really touched everyone of us. It was so amazing to be reminded that "church" can be anywhere with anyone and that I have amazing friends who care about me and know my heart. I left feeling more refreshed and secure in my faith then I have felt since leaving NYC (3 years if you're counting, I am).
I titled this post "God really does have an odd sense of humor" because I find it really hilarious that 1) despite the fact of going to dozens of churches of the last few years I haven't EVER felt the awe and power of God unless with these people and 2) that it takes these people to be around me and to worship with me to be reminded of how great He is. Why can't He just let me feel like that all the time? It's not like I haven't been looking for it or asking for it etc. :) I'm not mad, just think it's funny.

Because I have to talk about food, I wanted to let you know that I made these "Zesty Lemon Cookies" but with lime that was left over from the wedding. They were outrageously good!

Recently I've come across this blog, and would like to try writing three things I am thankful for. Aaron and I used to do this as a husband and wife thing, but ever since he stopped believing in God, we've kind of drifted from it. So, I will pick it up here. :) I think it will be a good reminder for me to remember what is important and that I am provided for in every aspect of my life. So here goes:

1) I am thankful for a husband who works extra hard to provide for all of our dreams.
2) I am thankful for a healthy daughter who has defied they odds (she was a preemie and they weren't quite sure for a bit)
3) I am thankful for a diverse set of friends, some who are believers and some who are not, who know me and love me despite how "whacked" I may be. :) 
What are some things you are thankful for today?
Also, technical help needed, if someone can tell me how to "reply" to a comment rather then adding an additional comment, you'd be a life save. Thanks!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recipes I'm dieing to try or tried and LOVED

It's summer time and let's face it, anything light and citrus-y sounds refreshing and cool. I came across this Zesty Lemon Cookie recipe while reading Laura's blog at Real Mom Kitchen. I baked these cookies while my daughter slept and it was easy! Not only that, but the aroma that was coming form my oven was so amazing I was fearful that it might wake my daughter out of her afternoon slumber.

That same day, I came across the serious eats website and found this Baba Ghanoush recipe. I've always be intimidated by it and would shy away from it when we lived in NYC, but I've had Baba Ghanoush once before in a restaurant (in AZ) and am not quite sure how authentic it was, so I wanted to give this recipe a whirl. Boy was I not disappointed. Unfortunately I did not have any way to char the eggplant, so I just skipped to the next step. I ended up roasting a whole thing of garlic in the oven at the same time as the eggplant and used that in the mix. I also used one whole raw garlic. By the time it was said and done, it was a bit too garlicky because I had a small eggplant, so the ration was off. BUT it was still splendid! Again, this recipe was super easy.

Since I've been taking HCG for almost 2 weeks, I have not been able to eat anything "decedent" so, I have resorted to live this dream out via food blogs. Over the last two weeks, I have found some amazing blogs and come across some amazing recipes that I could gobble up right now CAN NOT WAIT TO. With out further adieu....

1) Chocolate Loaf Cake: O-M-GEE!!! I am obsessed with anything chocolate. The description the blog gives literally makes me salivate. I do not care how ugly I love how rustic this cake looks and I KNOW it will taste D-LISH!!

2) Billie's Italian Cream Cake: I have to admit, I've been reading The Pioneer Woman's blog for a while know. I've loved her posts about her beloved cows that hang out on the porch, but I was really intrigued by this recipe. I love all the layers the cake has and the fact I could see this cake being dressed very casually or being fancied up by it's baker.

3)Blueberry French Toast Bake: This dish sounds so yummy! There is absolutely nothing wrong with having breakfast for dinner right? eat at home has a wonderful blog that helps families me to keep the spark alive between the kitchen and I. I quite frequently find myself wanting to dine out simple for the diversity it can offer. I specifically love how the author takes photos of the ingredients and the dish.

4) Chocolate Idiot Cake: Again, with the chocolate obsession. With words like: silky, rich and ganache, I could not resist. Although cakes are not my forte, I feel like I could make this no problems, hence the name.

5) Blackberry Cobbler #1: Again, I'm telling you The Pioneer Woman has it going on. It's summer time, what's there not to LOVE about berries. I know around these parts, berries are on sale left and right. In this recipe she shows, through pictures, step by step directions for this yummy berry cobbler. At the bottom she has an easy printable version as well. *This recipe could easily be substituted for any berry and/or peaches. YUMMY!

6) S'mores Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie Pudding: You can tell I frequent several blogs on a regular basis. These last two recipes were posted today by eat at home. The pictures alone make me want to reach through my computer into her home and gobble thes both up. I think they could be FABULOUS together. What do you think?

What recipes are you dieing to try?
What is a staple recipe in your household?