Friday, May 29, 2009


Anytime Chris says something is good, you know it's good. Anytime he says so, without being asked, you know it's really good. And anytime he actually likes the "hidden" vegetables, you know you have a winner! That was the Lemon cream pasta dish that used the left over Garlic lemon chicken from the other night. Here are both recipes for you, note that I added spinach at the same time I added the cream to the pasta. Next time I'll add more... I found both recipes on the My Kitchen Cafe blog -
Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken
from Erin W. (from the sisters cafe)
Juice of 1 lemon, approximately 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound chicken breasts (I usually cut really thick chicken breasts down to thin them out and make the pieces a little smaller so they absorb the marinade better)
Combine all marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag and place in fridge overnight. Grill outdoors or with an indoor grill pan.
You can double the marinade and chicken and grill it all up and freeze the extras to use later.

Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken
adapted from via My Kitchen Cafe
3 cups shredded or cubed Lemon Garlic Chicken
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (16 ounce) package tube pasta (I used rigatoni)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Stir chicken into cooked pasta, along with the cream, parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.

On the agenda for the rest of the day: breakfast and a visit with a friend, both enjoyed on the deck in the beautiful sun! Then dealing with the closing of one of Chris' house sales - YEAH GOD!, and then visiting with friends this afternoon and evening... life is good!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The week in pictures...

Been a busy week and I didn't take the time to post something everyday this week, so here's a visual log of the week:
Monday I was running into town, as I came down the hill I saw this quaint scene, turned home for my camera and pulled off to take the picture... and backed into a ditch. I couldn't get out by myself so I called Chris and then shot more floral pictures as I waited for my knight in shining armor. Forgot to get the car in the ditch though... Driving into town I enjoyed the American flags that the local Grange decorated the town with and the flowers in bloom in the medians. Took pictures of the flowers but not the flags. Came home and enjoyed the sun on the deck, and a bowl of cherries. For dinner I cooked Buttermilk brined pork chops. Chris said he preferred my regular pork chops. The recipe said to toss the rest of the brine but it looked like a gravy to me so I made gravy with it. Very good but waaaay too much salt. Not sure that I'll make them again, but I'll remember I can use buttermilk to make a gravy...

Tuesday I got together with my Friend Valerie. As I was leaving she toured me through her garden. Got lots of beautiful pictures and was inspired to plant a vegetable garden this year... not sure yet if I'll take the plunge... This is flower caught my eye while we visited.
Dinner Wednesday was another new recipe; Lemon and garlic chicken. Not only did it sound good, but there was also a recipe for any extra chicken, Lemon and cream pasta. The Lemon and garlic recipe lived up to expectations, I will make this one again! Tonight I'll try the pasta recipe.
Wednesday I mixed up a batch of overnight bread dough, today I made biscuits and scrambled eggs for Chris and an egg cup for me. To make the egg cup I cut a piece of dough, pressed it into a muffin pan, added spinach, bacon bits, cheese and cracked an egg into it. It came out pretty good. Need to find a deeper or wider cup... Chris preferred the biscuit with strawberry jam. I formed the rest of the dough into balls and froze them to be used as needed. Not a bad dough, kinda yeasty and sweet. The jam definitely made them.
So that's the week, so far, in pictures. Now I'm off to the deck, the sun and reading I've been putting off to long...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Beer battered salmon

Here's a picture of last nights dinner... still working on cooking the tater tots perfectly. The fish came out great, very filling with the batter, I made 1 frozen steak for each of us, cut into 3 pieces each, more than enough. Here's the recipe, I added the Old bay seasoning because the original recipe was a bit bland in my opinion and Chris doesn't go for "spice". I'm also trying an experiment with the leftover batter, I've frozen it and I'll defrost it to see if it works the second time around. My fillets weren't skinned and it was too much trouble to skin them, but it didn't affect the taste or texture. Side dishes were left over grilled asparagus and a salad made with parsley, red onion and cucumber dressed with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.

1 egg
1 c. warm stale beer – note you will need more if the batter is too thick
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. Old bay seasoning
2 tsp. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic salt
Fish fillets

Mix all ingredients.
Wash and dry fish (pat with towel).
Cut fillets to desired size.
Heat 2 inches of cooking oil in pan.
Dip fish pieces in batter; fry briefly in hot oil turning as necessary.
Adjust the batter ingredients as needed so it doesn't get too thick or too thin.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Busy week...

It's been a long week... through the wonders of the internet I was able to attend the writers conference at Bethel from the comfort of my living room, or deck, whichever happened to catch my fancy. Really enjoyed it, and enjoyed hearing W. Paul Young's story about his writing The Shack and his life. See my post titled Rainy day adventure for a link to his presentation.

So I thought that not having to travel away from home would mean that I wouldn't have to deal with the post conference energy loss... WRONG. Not that it was bad, but I spent a lot of time processing everything I heard, and doing some reevaluating. And then came all my appointments the end of the week. Yesterday we celebrated Porter's (my niece) 2nd birthday. Mom and I sat and watched a Paula Dean cooking show together, for mom to sit and watch TV is unheard of, but we got some good recipes and had a good conversation. The show further fed the "cooking bug" that's overtaken me this last week as well. I've been inspired by several blogs I've begun to visit, just haven't had the time or the energy to experiment this week. But that changes this evening.

Chris has always liked the beer-battered salmon and chips the Rock Bottom brewery serves, well I found the recipe and this evening he'll get to enjoy them. Later this week I'll be trying a creamy chicken lasagna, I'll be sneaking spinach or broccoli slaw into that one! So for now, have an enjoyable day, enjoy your family and friends as we celebrate Memorial day and remember all those who have so faithfully served our country both past and present.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rainy day adventure...

Attending the Bethel writers conference via live feed yesterday, today and tomorrow. Really enjoying myself. W. Paul Young (the author of The Shack) was the keynote speaker, excellent encouragement in his story. If you're interested in the conference you can go here for the details:

So while I'm hovering around the laptop, in between taking notes I've been doing chores, I'll show you my Barbie photos another time. Chris told me we have 4 hummingbirds hanging around the feeder, I tried to get a picture but was never able to, then he took this photo for me, there are 7 hummingbirds! And they are playing nice together! A new record for us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Good morning!

I love days like today. When Chris and I were finishing the house, I told him I wanted an East facing bedroom, because of the way the house was laid out, we bought the house as a framed and plywood sided shell so we couldn't change the floor plan all that much, that wasn't possible so he placed two 3' square windows on the bathroom wall which is to the East, you can do that with 11' ceilings. So this time of year, about 4:30, I am woken by morning light flooding in from the East windows and bouncing off the sky and flooding in the West facing window. The birds are singing, and as a special treat this morning, the Canadian Snow Geese were honking their good mornings as well. All that is why I was up early this morning. By 8:30 I was well on my way through my morning chores, and decided to make breakfast. I've been exploring cooking blogs lately. Ran across one yesterday where she had made a new lasagna type meal for herself from leftovers in the fridge. Somehow all that flooded into my brain and I decided to make a French toast dish, of a sort. I cut up the last few inches of a cinnamon apple bread we'd picked up a the Farmers market, cut leftover sausage links into small pieces and mixed a cinnamon and egg mixture pouring it over everything. Baked it for a bit then served myself a generous portion with Trader Joes Honey vanilla Greek style yogurt. Nummy good.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...

I'm spending the morning on the deck, in the sun with a good book. Life doesn't get much better than this...
A friend just gave us this hummingbird feeder. Unlike our old one, it doesn't leak and it has a perch the hummingbirds have enjoyed. We have at least 2 hummingbirds that come to visit, but they are very territorial. Somehow, this morning they decided they could share the feeder at the same time as well as drink side by side. Enjoy their company... I'm headed back out myself!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Just Do It!

After being sick for a week and falling behind in so many areas, I began making lists of what I need to do and what I have to do, and promptly got overwhelmed because I couldn't figure out where to start. Finally I decided to follow the Nike people's advice and "just do it". So now the kitchen rugs are washed, as is the floor, the herbs are planted as well as the spider plants that can't seem to stop throwing off babies, newsletters ordered, others read, I've worked out and now I need to shower and dress for all the appointments we have outside the house this afternoon and evening. Yes, it felt good to just dive in!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A little bit of Spring for you...

A few weeks ago I went up to the Roozengaarde display gardens, it was an incredibly beautifully day. My zoom function was broken on the macro view so I had to get creative with my framing and selection of what I took pictures of.

Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


One of the few activities I had the energy for this weekend was going to church. We've been attending Overlake Christian Church during the Reel Theology series that has just ended. They took 4 of last years hottest movies and used them as a springboard. Chris and I have long espoused that movies are today's parables, and Mike and Gary used that theme as they taught. The movie I was most interested in hearing how it would be handled was Twilight. Mike tackled that one Sunday night, did a great job with it and pointed out a parallel that Chris and I hadn't seen before, the theme of community. That living in and being a part of a community helps you to keep on track. For the record, we agree with this principal. We have a core circle of friends we like to hang with and be "accountable" to. After the service, Chris pointed out to Mike that another theme in the movie is the parallel between how the vampires are responded to, and how we as Christians should also affect our culture. To paraphrase Edward just after taking Bella to his meadow, "everything about us is designed to attract". As Chris pointed out to Mike, when we enter a bar or other "dark" place, we are the "brightest" people in the room, and people are attracted to us, because of the light that shines from within us. This is the reason Chris and I have a standing date every Friday - at the local bar. We go so that we can be a light in a dark place and so that we can love on people. I love to see peoples response to us, they think they enjoy our company... but we know better.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back in the saddle

Finally recovering from a cold that took me down Friday.
Wednesday and Thursday I had meetings but managed to take a few pictures of Spring, and one of Shamoo and her best friend Moose wanting me to play with them. I've added them for your enjoyment, and now, I need to get to all the business related reading I didn't have the brain for the past few days. Enjoy...

From my mom's rockery:

Cherry blossoms:

Shamoo (aka Moo) and Moose

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yesterdays weather-was-stay-inside-wrap-up-in-a-blanket-and-read-weather. It gets cold and damp here by the river. If we had a fireplace it would have been lit. I wasn't the only one who was missing the nice weather, Moo (formally known as Shammi, and less formally known as The Camel or The Black Muscle, among many other nicknames) couldn't go outside and play with her friend. So she had to make do with me. Note the pleading in her eyes...

While I sat and read, all the birdies that had been enjoying the nice weather as well, came back to feed. I really like the Goldfinches, they make me happy. Love the sound the Red-winged blackbirds make, like the brown hooded blackbirds but don't like the Bluejays, they chase everyone else off.

Today would be a repeat of yesterday, except I have appointments that will keep me out all day. But I am meeting a friend for Pho for lunch!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A change in perspective...

So I woke up grumpy this morning after several dreams that left me disgruntled, and the morning went down from there. A bright point early in the day was that I found several new blogs I enjoyed from Nadine's Just being me blog, check them out if you have time: My five men and Life at Willow manor. Both ladies are engaging and I pulled some great recipes of their sites. So back to the darkness that had settled over me this am... I finally tracked it down to ungratitude, is that a word? Any way, it was my state of mind this morning. So I decided I needed to do something about it, and began thinking about all that I have to be grateful for, here's a short list:
  • I work from home, and set my own hours, schedule and agenda.
  • I have great friends that make me laugh, keep my head on straight, encourage me and allow me to encourage them. The above schedule allows me to meet with them when I want, unlike when I worked in Corporate America.
  • Chris and I are both healthy, enjoy each others company and have a great marriage.
  • I've been able to read a bunch the past few weeks, both business and pleasure and mostly on the deck in the sun, I figure over 5000 pages...
  • I love where I live, and that it's SPRING! Oh... no allergies, another benefit of not dealing with Corporate America...
  • Life is gooood and God loves me.
Once I was reminded of all that, a better perspective, and mood settled over me. May your day be brighter today as you reflect on all that you are grateful for.