Sunday, April 6, 2014

Black olive pesto

I threw this recipe together in desperation last night after working all day in the garden. I didn't have any meat defrosted. I wanted pasta (quick! easy!) but I didn't want to do a tomato sauce. What I really wanted was pesto since I had been planting basil seeds that day but in the absence of fresh basil I thought of sun-dried tomato pesto. But when I went to the pantry I was OUT of sun-dried tomatoes!! �� I had already pressed two garlic cloves so I quickly shifted gears and switched to black olive pesto.

Into the Cuisinart went two handfuls of pitted black olives, a half cup of sliced almonds, a tablespoon of capers. A quick whirrr. Hmmm...what else? It needed something green but the only fresh herbs in the garden were sage, thyme (both pretty strong flavors) and oregano! Yes! That would work! A few springs, then added some extra vergin olive oil and about a quarter cup (ok more like a half cup) of freshly grated parmiggiano. Perfect! Dinner is served!
Today mom used the leftovers to coat artichokes. So delish!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Coconut Lime Muffin (THM - S)

Our family loves the muffin in a mug from the Trim Healthy Mama book! We have experimented with lots of different flavors. This is one of my favorites!

Here's how I did it:

Take the basic "MIM" recipe on page 256 of the book (page 257 explains how not to make it chocolate) and add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract, 1/2- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, and lime zest (about a lime half). I also use about 1/2 tablespoon rather than one tablespoon of oil. I often substitute EVOO in place of the coconut oil. It's just easier to pour.

You might notice that this muffin is not in a coffee mug. I found that the Pampered Chep prep bowls are a perfect size. I prep 6 bowls at a time with the dry ingredients. Then in the morning we just have to add the wet ingredients and the special flavorings. One morning I might have a coconut lime MIM and another day I'll have pumpkin spice.

This ONE muffin holds me all morning! It's amazing! And delicious! If you follow THM, this is an S.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cleaning house

One of the things I'm trying to focus on more now that I'm not working as a Sonlight advisor is to deep clean and declutter the house. I've been following Spring Cleaning 365 for over a year now. She focuses on one area a week, giving you daily tasks to tackle. Most tasks take 5-15 minutes. She also gives you a monthly habit to form. Currently we are in the kitchen and the Cleaning Habit for this month is to Clean Your Kitchen Every Night. I love to get up in the morning to a clean kitchen! I've been enjoying doing the tasks. Some days are so busy that I don't get to them but I leave it in my email inbox and then try to tackle it the next day (or the next, or all on one day).

I've informed my family of the current monthly task and am asking for their participation. If I clean the kitchen after dinner and then go to bed, I do *NOT* want to wake up to a dirty kitchen or things in the sink. If they make something, then it's up to them to clean up after themselves. It's been going well. Do you have a method to your cleaning? I'm HOW old and I'm still learning! What are your tips?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Segway tour of St. Augustine

Months ago I received an email from John H, asking me if I would be interested in a Groupon for a double date. It sounded like fun, the price was reasonable, and I'd never been on a Segway! 

We presented the certificates to our spouses as Christmas (Denise) and birthday (Michael) gifts and finally settled on a date in January. Between John's call schedule and Michael's travel schedule, it was tricky finding a date that would work. We finally picked a Sunday afternoon.

We met up at the bike rental location on King Street. Turns out there was one other couple from Atlanta that was part of the tour. They had Segwayed before so they were considered the old pros. After a brief explanation of how to mount, steer, and dismount, we took turns getting on and practiced starting, turning, stopping and getting off. After a few minutes of wheeling around in the parking lot, we were off!

Sandy was an excellent guide, very friendly and very knowledgeable about both the Segways and the history of St. Augustine.
She took us throughout the city, taking us down little back roads that we didn't even know existed! We learned about Henry Flagler and the buildings he built, about Flagler College, about the Spaniards and the town they built, and about the runaway slaves that joined the Spanish settlement. We rode along the sidewalks and in the streets and up on the sea wall. 

It was growing dark by the time we headed back. We were able to see a little of the "Night of Lights" as we rolled through the square in front of the Lightner Museum. 

Oh, remember The "experienced" couple? He took a fall near the end, and the wife ran into Michael as she turned to see what had happened, so she took a tumble too! They were okay, just a little bruised, hands, knees and ego.

We had a wonderful time, followed by dinner at the A1A Ale House. The dinner was okay, not spectacular. But it was delightful to share what we enjoyed about the experience and to thaw out! It was pretty cold after over an hour riding around!

(No, Michael did not get a gold tooth. That's a great lighting trick though isn't it?)

This is part of our "St. Augustine in 2014" motto for this year! We plan on exploring St. Augustine monthly, learning more about the history and the eateries in "the oldest city."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another milestone

Today marks a new change in my life. Yesterday my middle child turned 16 and of course part of the day consisted of a trip to the DMV to get a driver's license. We have another driver in the household. 

Although we already went through this with our first-born, I'm finding it doesn't get any easier with the second. I clearly remember the day Michael and I drive two cars to the DMV, then watched Tommy drive off to school alone. That was hard. Reeeeeeeealy hard.

I relived that day today, but this time Timothy and Annie drove off together to go to PEP.

( There goes my liiiiiifffe... running through my head)

And another string that binds my children to me is severed. 

And another little piece of my heart breaks off. 

This parenting thing is the hardest roller coaster I've ever ridden. With exhilarating peaks and steep drops, it often stops me in my tracks, gasping for breath, eyes blurred.

Today is one of those moments that quickly drops me to my knees in prayer for my children. Lord, pleeeeeeaaase keep my children safe on the road! Keep all bad drivers far from them. Give Timothy wisdom in how to handle any situation that arises.... And then I receive the required text: WE MADE IT ALIVE. 



Tears. (I'm such a sap, I know.)

And I've got to do this aaaaaaallll over again in two years! (I just felt another hair turn grey.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wine and Cheese party

Another fun get together happened just last Friday. In the "Bread and Wine" spirit we decided to host a wine and cheese party. Everyone was supposed to bring a wine and a cheese for tasting. We ended up with 11 people, a hearty mix of church and homeschool friends.

To add to the simple menu, I also made the bacon-wrapped goat cheese stuffed dates from the book and oh my WORD were they good! The perfect blend of sweet and salty. Annie helped me and we made quite a few, two cookie sheets full! A friend also brought brie tartlets which were also amazing! We also had my mother's fabulous sourdough bread, dried apricots, fresh grapes, Spanish olives and pecans. Michael and I made a meal out of it!

For my introverted self, this was a good sized party - big enough to have plenty of interesting conversations, yet small enough to be able to talk to everybody. In December I had hosted a ladies holiday party and even though all the gals that came were friends, not a stranger in the group, I felt myself retreating into my shell. So I'm learning to whittle the list down to make it more enjoyable, mix up the guest list and keep doing them! 

Follow-up to Bread and Wine

As a follow-up to my review on the book Bread and Wine, I decided I would blog about the times that we get together intentionally with friends, as a way for us to remember them (hammering a stake in the ground), a log of sorts. 

The first one for this year happened to be a few weeks ago when a friend texted me to see if we were available to hang out that weekend. A quick glance at my Google calendar revealed that we were booked for both Friday and Saturday nights but Saturday morning was wide open. My amazing husband had the brilliant idea to invite them over for coffee and breakfast. Why should "entertaining" be exclusively an evening event?

So Saturday morning found us around the kitchen table drinking cappuccinos, eating scrambled eggs and bacon and catching up on the previous year since we hadn't been together in that much time. You know those friends that you just pick up where you left off? They are those kinds of friends and we quickly entered into deep conversation about the struggles and successes we are having in our family, in our work, and in our ministries. 

We have known this family for almost all of our married life together. We have gone to each other's children's baptisms and birthday parties, but somewhere along the way our lives drifted apart with the busyness of school, church activities, and the daily "tyranny of the urgent." Our kids used to be close friends but except for Facebook, I'm not sure they'd recognize each other now that are grown!

After a sweet SWEET time of prayer together we decided that we would not let much time go by before we got together again! 

Have you had friends over for breakfast rather than dinner? What did you serve?