Another book finished: The Magician’s Nephew

January 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm (reading)

So I made a goal to read all of the books on the BBC’s 100 Books list… and I finished another one last night!! The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis.

I have to say, I disagree with my sister in law, husband, and Bethany on the order the Chronicles of Narnia should be read in. I agree with Lewis on this one, and I think Magician’s Nephew should be read first. It’s the history of Narnia!! It just makes more sense that way!!

Ah, well. Also, enjoyed this one more than Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was surprised about that! I really liked/admire Lewis’s ability to recreate Scripture almost word for word, yet you wouldn’t immediately recognize it as a Biblical situation unless you’re looking for it. I am just so intrigued by that – Biblical themes are so prevalent, yet we rarely discuss them.

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Look what I finished!! (FINALLY.)

January 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm (crafting, pictures)

Advent Calendar
Finally finished the advent calendar I started back in December! Was hoping to finish in time to actually count down to Christmas… but ah well. It’s not completely finished… I have to make the star for the top of the tree… but it’s finished enough. I am SO happy with how it turned out, although now that I look at it I notice the magnets are extremely unevenly spaced. Officially don’t care though – it is what it is. And it’s made even better because my mom/grandma helped me make it. 🙂

Close up of magnetThis is based off of an advent calendar my other grandma made for us when I was little, only her version has velcro to connect the ornaments. I didn’t love how that looked, so I decided to use magnets, using a running stitch to enclose each magnet between the layers of felt and batting.

Close up of presentClose up of the presents cause I love them so much. 🙂

One more shot
I teased my mom/grandma that the three of us could open an etsy shop just to sell these advent calendars… but considering how long it took me to finish, I don’t think we’d be very profitable!!

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New Recipe: New York Steaks with Red Wine Sauce, Home Fried Potatoes

January 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

As my new recipe for this week, and in celebration of some happy news for my husband, I made this tonight, out of my first issue of a new Martha Stewart Living subscription, thanks to my in-laws. 🙂 I won’t repost the recipe here, but you can find it on Martha’s website.

Verdict: Not bad! We really liked how the potatoes turned out… although I think I like my salty/garlicky version better of home fried potatoes better. But the paprika was good. And the steaks were nothing special, but they were very juicy and tender. I think I might like broiling it on a bed of salt better (do you sense a theme? I really like salt) but this wasn’t bad. The sauce was goooood. 🙂

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New Recipe: Gingerbread Bars

January 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

Didn’t get to try a new dinner recipe this week… ended up with most of our favorites instead. However, I did try a new dessert! I got this recipe from a coworker’s wife… they are incredibly delicious!! Delicious enough that the taste outweighs having to buy shortening and molasses just for this recipe. 🙂

3/4 cup shortening
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves (note: instead of 1/2 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp cloves, I just used 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. The end result tasted the same to me!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup molasses (she recommended the brand Grandma’s, in the yellow jar, so that’s what I used)
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the egg into the molasses, then add the dry ingredients and set aside. Melt shortening completely and let cool for exactly 4 minutes. When shortening is cooled, add to dry ingredient/molasses mixture and stir.

When done, the dough will be like warm play dough. Press into bottom of non-stick or greased 10×15 (I used a 9 x 13) pan. Bake for 9-10 minutes until just golden. (This was not enough time for my oven… I did about 12 minutes and it still could have used another minute or two.)

Cut and enjoy!!! (Since I pulled mine too soon, I had to wait for them to cool before cutting them. Still tasted great! 🙂 )

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new recipe faaail

January 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

I got super sick, and was lucky to even cook anything at all this week… so I definitely didn’t get anything new cooked for my “cook one new recipe a week” resolution. 😦

I did revisit some old favorites…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, which happen to be gluten free
Creamy Herbed Pasta
and one I haven’t shared before, but I made last Friday: Kitchenaid’s recipe for Crusty Pizza Dough So look! I posted a recipe that’s new to this blog! It’s just not new to us. 🙂

I grew up in a big family (7 people, 4 hungry little brothers) so I’m used to homemade pizza instead of delivery. (I think I was a teenager and babysitting for another family the first time I had delivery!) Use jarred spaghetti sauce, and simple mozzarella and pepperoni for the topping. Give it a try – it’s really not hard, and it tastes REALLY good.

Happy three day weekend! I’m planning on plenty of lounging around, working on the new puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle that Tyler gave me for Christmas. 🙂

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Lemon-Mustard Chicken

January 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm (recipes, resolution: 1 a week)

As part of my goals for the year, I wanted to try one new recipe a week. Now that I’m student teaching and off at a really nice time, I have plenty of chances to cook new foods! Tonight was a new sauce for simple seared chicken, courtesy of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook a coworker got me for Christmas. It’s nothing fancy, but it added a really nice flavor. Seared is my favorite way to cook chicken, so I drizzled this on top of two chicken breasts and seared them in hot olive oil in a frying pan for about 15-20 minutes, until the temperature inside the chicken reached 160 degrees.

Lemon-Mustard Sauce:
2 TB cooking oil
1 TB dijon style mustard
1 TB lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning (didn’t have this… so I skipped it!)
1 tsp dried oregano or basil, crushed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (didn’t have this either… so I used chili powder)

and that’s it! I really liked it though – definitely will remember this in the future when I just want to cook up some chicken in a hurry. I served this with broccoli and homemade mashed potatoes, and a glass of red wine (we were out of white, oops!).

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2011 resolutions

January 2, 2011 at 7:14 pm (goals, random)

Like I don’t have enough lists going… recipes I want to do, books I want to read, crafts I want to finish… but here’s another one. Anyone else making lists of things to do in 2011?

I asked my husband very early in the morning of New Year’s Day what he wanted to accomplish this year. We’ve had a lot of interesting things happen this year… difficult, frustrating, challenging things. And so much of our lives has been out of our control, teaching us to just trust God and let him do his thing. Even though I/we need to give up control of the big picture plans, there are still little things I am in control of and want to accomplish this year.

1. Finish my contracted braille course. It’s already paid for, I just need to do the lessons already!!
2. Run/walk a half marathon, hopefully with my husband/family.
3. Finish reading my BBC books list. 🙂
4. Cook 1 new recipe a week. My former coworker/friend got me a great cookbook for Christmas, and I need to use it!
5. Finish sewing my advent calendar.
6. Finish cross stitching Tyler’s stocking, so the poor guy finally has a stocking that matches mine. 🙂
7. Take a vacation with Tyler, just us. This is gonna be tough – without my income during student teaching, this year will be tight. But I know we’re going to need a break, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to make sure we get it!
8. Send Tyler to Indy 500. Also tight, but doable, since he can stay with family there, and it’s the 100th anniversary! He’s got to go, it’s just too perfect.

Eight goals… that’s good, I think. If all eight get done, I will feel like 2011 was a very successful year!

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2011… here we go

January 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm (family, random)

Eh, so I never finished the December Photo Project… life gets busy, you know? I like the idea, though, and may do something similar more often – post a picture of something in my daily life. Now that I’m student teaching (as of tomorrow!! yay!!) I think I’ll have something more interesting to show than my computer and data entry from my last job. 🙂

Christmas has come and gone… my favorite holiday! But fortunately summer is my favorite season, and summer weather starts early here in Los Angeles. So every six months, I am ecstatically happy, so it’s all good. 🙂 We spent Christmas in Sacramento with my side of the family, and New Years here in LA with my husband’s family. Now we’re back in our apartment, and trying to get everything cleaned and ready to go for the new year.

Any bloggers out there use a flip video camera often? I don’t think I’ve seen posts from flips very often… We got one from my in-laws for Christmas, and I am so excited to use it… I just don’t know what to film!

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