Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are You Going Somewhere?

This excerpt comes from John Ortberg's book, 'If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat.' I read it in one of my daily blog reads and found it to be extremely comforting. I hope it encourages you as well.  It helped me to remember that I am not in control and that I need to be patient. Whatever you are going through I hope this short passage comforts you.

"Henri Nouwen gave us a picture of patient trust not long before he died in 1996.  Writing about some trapeze artists who became good friends of his, he explained that there is a very special relationship between the flyer and the catcher...As the flyer is swinging high above the crowd, the moment comes when he lets go of the trapeze, when he arcs out into the air.  For that moment, which must feel like an eternity, the flyer is suspended in nothingness.  It is too late to reach back for the trapeze.  There is no going back now.  However, it is too soon to be grasped by the one who will catch him.  He cannot accelerate the catch.  In that moment, his job is to be as still and motionless as he can.  'The flyer must never try and catch the catcher,' the trapeze artist told Nouwen.  'He must wait in absolute trust.  The catcher will catch him.  But he must wait.  His job is not to flail about in anxiety.  In fact, if he does, it could kill him.  His job is to be still.  To wait.  And to wait is the hardest work of all.'  You may be in that very vulnerable moment right now- you have let go of what God has called you to let go of, but you can't feel God's other hand catching you yet.  Will you wait in absolute trust?  Will you be patient?  Waiting requires patient trust." 

Prove It! By: Skip Heitzig

Have you ever heard people say, “The God of the Old Testament is a God of hatred and vengeance, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love”? When I hear that, I want to ask, “Have you ever read it?”

In the final book of the Old Testament, God’s last words to His people (prior to sending His Son) are “I love you.” Look at Malachi 1:2. “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’” God is saying, “Don’t you know? I love you!” And they’re arguing, “Prove it!”

This was the root of all of Israel’s problems, the failure to believe in the love of God. Actually, I think that’s perhaps the root of all our problems, too. In the garden, Satan suggested to Eve  that she doubt God’s love. She said, “We can eat of every tree, but we can’t eat of that tree. That’s what God said.” Satan said, “Really? Did God say that?” Then he said, “Look, God knows that in the day you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened. You’re going to be just like God!” So now a seed is planted in her heart, as if to question God and say, “Hmm... Why would God hide that from me? He must not love me.” In questioning the love of God, Adam and Eve fell.

Satan wants you to feel neglected by God. And that is why in your darkest hour he’ll come to you and say, “Look at you in your tough situation! You’ve been praying, and God hasn’t answered you! He must not love you as much as He loves those other people, because He’s answered their prayers! But not yours!” And the natural reaction is to say, “Yeah, that’s right!”

That’s why Jude said, “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (v. 21). How do you do that? Get the truth about God from the Word of God, not from your feelings. And you can find the love of God in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. It’s everywhere. Here’s one verse: “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’” (Jeremiah 31:3). Here’s another: “The Lord your God loves you” (Deuteronomy 23:5).

Again and again, God is described as “abounding in love.” It’s in Exodus, it’s in Nehemiah and the Psalms. “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).

And that’s only a smattering. When you look for the love of God, you’ll find it everywhere. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. And He’s a God of love. He’s proved it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Fever

Spring is here!
For me that means several things: flowers, fruit, big rainstorms, green grass carpeting the yard, spending times outside, barbecuing, taking more walks and beautiful beautiful color everywhere!  Buds begin to bloom into vibrant flowers, fruits and vegetables.  I can only hope that by this time next year, I will be picking fresh herbs, cooking out, planting new flowers, and harvesting homegrown fruits & veggies to incorporate into fresh, new recipes!  Oh what fun it will be.  But for now I am garden-less and flowerless so enjoy my virtual inspiration!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sumi Sumo Fumi Salad!

Actually, it's just "Fumi Salad" but I think the above title is much more fun.  This salad is probably the CHEAPEST salad you could ever make, being that cabbage is about 85 cents a pound and roman noodles are about twenty cents a package, not much else is really needed. The only really expensive ingredient is almonds but I got mine on sale, so if you wait until that sale comes around, you really will have a cost efficient, not to mention mondo, salad on your hands, or in your mouth rather.  I love the vibrancy of this salad, because let's face it, if it doesn't look good, no one will eat it!  So here she is!

  • 1 head regular cabbage
  • 1 small head red cabbage
  • 2 packages Roman Noodles *oriental flavor*
  • one 11 oz. canister of smoked whole/slivered almonds (if you use plain slivered nuts you will have to toast them yourself, if you buy them pre-smoked you won't)
  • 1/2 one ounce container toasted sesame seeds (these you'll have to toast for sure)
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 6 T rice vinegar (only rice vinegar, don't interchange)
  • 4 T granulated white sugar
  • dash of pepper, fresh ground if possible
  • 1 packet seasoning from Roman Noodle package

  1. Toast and/or roughly chop almonds if necessary. In separate pan, toast sesame seeds (different cook times)
  2. Finely chop all cabbage - more of a slaw texture, not typical salad size, toss all together.
  3. Crush noodles inside bag, remove seasoning packet.
  4. Mix all dressing ingredients using a container that is "shake friendly."
  5. If serving salad immediately: dress, add nuts, sesame seeds, and crushed noodles. 
  6. Toss again, plate and enjoy!
  7. If eating over several days, keep cabbage, nuts, noodles, and sesame seeds separate and combine right before consuming.
Total cost of this salad: less than ten dollars.  
Serving size: 12-15 people.  
That's 0.83 - 0.67 cents per serving! 
Talk about pinching pennies!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pillows of Chicken + Couscous

If you have read any of my past recipe posts, you probably know that most of my recipes are not exactly what you'd call "waistline friendly."  Why you ask?  Because I like to post recipes for special occasions or recipes that are simply special themselves and this dish is no different.  It is delicious, fattening, and richly flavored.  So, sorry... but not really.


  • 4 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 T butter or olive oil
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream (you won't use all of it)
  • 8-12 oz. fine parmesan cheese (as in, finely grated)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • flour
  • two boxes of preferred Couscous
  1. Heat non-stick skillet on high with butter/olive oil coating the pan.
  2. Trim chicken and halve, sprinkle with lemon juice and dredge in flour.
  3. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, do not cook all the way through.
  4. Snuggly place chicken in baking dish (glass preferred) and preheat oven to 450.
  5. Pour cream over chicken enough to cover almost completely; adjust chicken as necessary.
  6. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and parsley on top.
  7. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes (mine actually took 25 minutes)
  8. While chicken is baking prepare couscous as noted on the box.  (I use Near East Couscous Mix with Toasted Pine Nuts) Be sure to follow the directions carefully as couscous can be temperamental and turn to mush if otherwise prepared. 
Here she looks going into the oven:
 And here she looks plated!

It is absolutely wonderful!  It might not looks exactly the picture above, in fact I doubt it will because that picture took forever, but it will taste the same I assure you.  You really can't mess it up, really!  Although it is a messy plate in reality, it's taste is nothing short of rich, elegant, and full bodied flavors!

If you're wondering what the orange looking pieces are in the top photo you can also ad carrots, mushrooms, or other creamy vegetables to add more pops of interest.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Unique Boutique!

So after a long day of car washing, grocery shopping, and errand running I was scouring craigslist for any kind of any thing to catch my eye.  Upon skimming through the furniture section I discovered two handsomely vintage boutiques!  Talk about score!  I can't wait to take a day to drive out to Tampa and visit these two adorable shops!  Three gold mines in one week, who knew Tampa/Brandon had so many diamonds in the rough?  I guess I had never really looked, but now that I am discovering neat places to find unique pieces for my future home, I am getting more excited!  Aren't you? How's that for excessive exclamation point usage? Here's the first one, it's called Summer House Marketplace (3620 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa, Fl 33629) and is owned and operated by "The Summer House Girls," how cute is that?  

The second location is called Arjuna Boutique (408 N. Howard Ave. Suite B, Tampa, FL 33606).  In the owner's words, "I am a newly established eco-boutique business in south Tampa & am excited to offer many fabulous finds from vintage & tasteful goods for your home to fair trade & handmade jewelry, as well as organic skin care,(my personal favorite & I only offer true, pure organic skin care!) amazing eco-friendly candles & holistic remedies. Basically anything that is healthy & harmless for you, your home & the environment. Not to mention fair trade goods that help support individuals all around the world." For more info and updates visit their blogspot!


Who wants to tag along with me? Could be fun....!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Creative Hope in this City!

Three words my friend, three words: Lucky Day Emporium.  This video pretty much sums up how I feel about the place, and might have been what I did once I left the place, maybe...

This is by far, the best 'thing' I have EVER found in the city of Brandon.  Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy a few other things Brandon has to offer.... the mall, Madard park, Winthrop Center, Lighthouse Secondhand Store, my awesome church, SR 60 and it's drivers, I mean.... wait, no.  But seriously, this boutique has seriously given me creative hope for this suburbanized city.  Hope I tell you!  Here's a little taste of what the shop looks like, courtesy of their blogspot.
 Not only is the shop adorable, but the owners are friendly, the prices are fair, and the merchandise is so cutely displayed I almost cried with utter enjoyment! Call me crazy but I'm weird like that.  I'd even venture to say that it resembles a mini anthropologie (which is in my opinion a huge compliment and I hope they view it that way), except that it's minutes from my house with unique finds at half the price -  and like I said earlier, I'M IN LOVE!  Now, I know you might have already peed your pants, but get a load of this (no pun intended), they are going to hold monthly craft nights, the first of which is taking place this Tuesday!  I haven't decided if I am attending or not (shocking I know) because the evening is all about cake toppers and I'm not sure I have a need, but I know that I will be shopping/perusing at Lucky Day Emporium at least every other week!  Here's some info on their upcoming craft night. There's only two spots left so be sure to call soon if you wish to attend!

Fresh Paint & Other Things

So yesterday I was driving home from the post office and saw a tempting "garage sale this way" teaser.  I drove past thinking, "It's twelve o'clock, they probably don't have anything good left," but like the typical curious woman that I am, I turned around.  As I drove through the most beautiful neighborhood, I soon discovered that they had a few very nice pieces left.  The next thought that flew into my head was, "If these nice pieces are still here after hours and hours, she's either asking too much, or maybe she'll take less just to get rid of them."  Lucky for me it was the latter!  I scored this baby (a bombay original, circa 1999) for twenty-five buckaroos.  Not only is she solid wood, but her clean lines and spindle legs are just the ticket, not to mention her petite waistline will be the perfect addition for a future entryway, fingers crossed.  So here she is in all her glory!
Although I do enjoy beautiful antique furniture, that is meticulously maintained, her current look is a little too mature for my taste,  (I know what you're thinking, she's a beaut!) although she is is great condition. I'll be making her up to look something more like these beauties below with a little less distressing.....please excuse the poor image quality, these were taken with my phone in Homegoods, but you get the idea.  I particularly enjoy the hue of the second image.
I also plan to patching up two of the four holes and replacing her existing pull hardware with two knobs that are a little more delicious i.e. sparkly.  Maybe crystal? Antique? I guess it will depend on the paint color I go with, but I always look at a piece's hardware so here's some 'bling' for ya, courtesy of anthropologie:
What do you think?  Is your stomach in a knot at the thought of me painting this baby or are you on board for "project Jackson Polick?" I'd love to know your thoughts..... Project Tutorial and "after" pictures to come soon!