Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuscan Garlic Chicken (Edited to add recipe!)

I finally got a picture of one of the meals I did. This is actually a plate of leftovers, warmed up for lunch, so it's not as pretty as it was last night when it was fresh, but it tasted sooooo good. Yes, the green stuff is spinach! This is a recipe off a card I picked up in the waiting area of Olive Garden a couple of years ago, and I just got around to making it. If I had the right plate, it would have even looked like an Olive Garden entree. I'm so proud of myself, if you can't tell!

Alright, and now for my foodie friends, the recipe:

6 boneless skinless chicken breast ( I used 10 frozen tenderloins and partially thawed them)
1 1/2 cups & 1 Tbsp flour (WAY too much, half it)
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp Italian herb seasoning
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I substituted half a stick of margarine and about 2/3 cup of milk)
1 Tbsp roasted garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine (hmmm, fresh out, so I used water)
1 red pepper, julienne cut
1/2 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed (I used frozen, cut)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 lb curly or regular fettuccine

Preheat over to 350.

Mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in the mixture, shaking off excess. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in large skillet. Cook chicken breasts 2 at a time over medium0high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 minutes). Add more oil as necessary.

Place cooked chicken breasts on baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. cook for 10-15 minutes until internal temp is 165.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for 1 minute. stir in 1 Tbsp flour, wine, spinach, and cream and bring to a boil. Sauce is done when spinach become wilted. Complete by stirring in the Parmesan cheese.

Coat pasta with the sauce, then top with chicken and remaining sauce. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.

Notes I made for future: Add an egg and dip the chicken in egg before dipping in the flour mixture for more coated chicken.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Tracy

I lost one of my grandfathers last week. Technically, my step-grandfather, but he has been in my life pretty much for the entire thing. This is really the first time in adulthood I've had to deal with a death of a very close family member that I can remember. It's horrible. I hate it. Compound that with having to tell my four-year-old why we can't see big Tracy anymore, ever again. Hardest thing I've ever done.

He was such a special man to me, and loved me so much. I have some really great memories with him, and those are worth so much. I almost want to write them here, but then they won't be MY memories anymore. So I'll file them away in my memory, able to bring them back up whenever I want to smile and remember how much I was loved by him. And the funny thing is, I know I'm not the only one who feels I was his favorite! What a special person who can love so many so deeply and make them all know they were his favorite. My Tracy loved Jesus, and this puts joy in my heart, knowing that he is with Him now. Doesn't take my tears away, because I'm selfish and I want him back, and I want another shaky but strong hug, I want to bury my face in his chest, want to hear him tell me, "Lo-oo-oo-ve You." I want another Christmas with him sitting next to me and laughing at my kids' antics. I want to see his tall self standing next to my petite Granny. But I know I will, just not now. Thanks be to God for Heaven, for Hope that comes through Salvation, for His gentle whispers of reassurance in my heart. Without Him there is no Hope!

Lamentations 3:19-23
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Titus 3:3-7
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I have 10 outfits that I must finish by Friday-ish, but this is more important at this moment.

Today has been such a spirit-filled day for me. Friends are sick and need prayers. And I have been praying. It's been one of those constant-prayer days, while I thread the needle, while I sit and "watch" Charlotte's Web with the kids, while we play outside, while I check my email. I feel pulled to it, yearn for it, and it is awesome. My Bible study facilitator this morning suggested we text scripture to Jamie today, to keep from bothering her with phone calls at inopportune times but to let her see we are here, praying, and waiting with her for news. I used to be the person who would not do something so imposing as bother someone with a phone call or a text, because "they have plenty of other stuff to worry about." But after today I know it is a good idea. I sat down after putting the kids down for naps this afternoon, and sent Jamie the verse Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save." I just heard news that Ava is turning a corner as of this afternoon, and Jamie commented to another friend it was very soon after I sent that message. Who knows if that was the turning point, but isn't God good? I am astounded. If my people pray, He says. It is such a tiny glimpse of the greatness of the God we serve. Just a taste. The Lord has been putting scripture on my heart throughout the day today too. (Thank goodness for Google, because I know the scriptures but the addresses always escape me. I'll have to work on that.) Tonight He gave me this:

"Taste and see that the Lord is good.." I couldn't recall the second half of the verse, and when I looked it up:

"Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8)

I have tasted and seen the Lord today.. and I know He is our refuge if we let Him be. Let Him!

Update: Little Ava

Ava has been transferred to Medical City in Dallas today, as her condition was getting worse. I found out this morning that she has asthma, which is probably why she is so sick in the first place. Her sister Hannah (4) also has RSV at home, but is dealing alright. Pray for little Ava to take deep slow breaths. Pray for a miracle!

These girls are the same ages as Caleb and Carly, and Jamie is a precious friend of mine. We joke about being twins sometimes, that's how much we have in common. So my heart is hurting with her as she is taking care of her sweet sick babies.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways. Then, will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing,"
Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, January 18, 2010

Update: Learning to smile through the clashing notes

This is an update from my post about my cooking, or maybe more accurately, attempts at cooking. Once I admitted that I had a problem, I felt motivated to change it. Last Monday I opened my cabinet full of cookbooks, printed-out recipes, recipes clipped from here-and-there, and the little recipe box my grandma gave me (no doubt intending for me to use it) several Christmases (birthdays?) ago. I organized, I weeded, I read, I decided on what I could do, what I couldn't (or wouldn't) and what looked nasty. (I did it again Grandma!!) Afterwards, I ended up with a recipe box about 3/4 full of 3x5-inch cards with recipes that I can use to feed my family... genius. I haven't opened the cookbooks yet. I'm sticking with my tiny little 3x5-inch world right now.

After I got organized, I picked out four recipes for the week, and cooked them. Careful to follow the instructions and ingredients, I did it! Four homecooked meals, four nights in a row, and all four were good. It was amazing. It was inspiring. It wasn't even that hard! So this week I did it again; picked out some cards, even added a couple of side dishes this time, and planned meals. Shopped for the things I needed on Saturday, and now I have meals ready for the week. See, a person can change!

In other news, I made myself a chore calender today. Silly, maybe, but in an effort to keep my house a little (lot) cleaner, I made myself a schedule to follow. One room or project a day for 4 weeks; repeat. I even put it in a plastic sleeve so I can check off the days with a dry-erase marker. We'll see how long this one lasts. But the main objective is that I am trying!

I got a new camera last week, and have snapped a few shots with it, but so far haven't plugged it in to the computer to see how they look. I'm looking forward to spring so I can get some fun and colorful outdoor pictures of the kids. And yes, Carly's birthday party pics will be posted sometime. Maybe. They're already on Facebook, so I'm having trouble finding the motivation to put them here too. Lame I know!


Today has been a good day here, but I feel burdened for several friends right now. One friend, Lindsey, that I mentioned before, had a huge surgery today to help heal her body from cancer, and the hugeness of the surgery makes me emotional. You can read about it on her blog: I can't even begin to fathom what she is going through physically, but the fact that tears come to my eyes just imagining it shows the monumental emotions she must be feeling. Pray for her to feel peace and to understand the reasons. I have been asking, "Why???" over and over. How much more can she ask that question! Pray that God will bless her more abundantly in the future than is even conceivable by the human imagination. I know He can and will.

I also have two mommy friends with babies in the hospital tonight. Carly's little friend Ava is positive for RSV, and Helena is still waiting on test results to find out what her sweet little boy has. Pray for these babies to get well soon, for their mommies to find some comfort and rest, and the rest of their families at home to still be able to function without mom at home for a while.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Carly is Two!

Dear Carly,

Today marks the second year since you entered God's earth.. while I sit here and think about what to write I can't grasp that it has already been two years. TWO YEARS!! I don't know what our lives would be like without you here. Caleb would be a lonely little boy without his "Carta, Carwee, Baby" sister.

Your sweet and sassy personality makes us all smile at least once a day... or hour... You keep me on my toes for sure.

I hear often, and I am guilty of repeating it, that "we are going to have our hands full with this one"... I'd rather them be full of you than any other little girl!

"You're going to have to watch her!" ... I don't want to be watching anyone else!

I'm so thankful that you will still snuggle with me at bedtime at least for a minute or two because I love to look into your eyes and talk with you quietly. Please never stop that. I don't think I'm ready to let that go.

I can't believe how smart you are. The things you say every day astound me. And girl, do you have a stubborn streak! And you somehow manage to be cute at the same time.

I can absolutely see God's intricate details of your daddy and me woven into your being, and I am amazed at the perfection that He created in you. We are teaching you about your Creator, that He was there before you were knit together, and HE IS here now, and He will be with you forever. Don't ever forget that, sweet girl, that you are His, and He loves you more than any other creation. You are LOVED more than you could ever know.

I am so grateful I was chosen to be your mommy!


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Something that matters

After the last two silly posts, I need to post something with actual meaning. My friend Lindsey, from my church, has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, AGAIN. She is my age! Lindsey is an awesome woman of faith, and so very inspiring to me. Today she received the pathology report from her surgery yesterday.. it was not good. 13 of 16 lymph nodes came back with cancer, and were classified as stage 3. What this means is, we are calling on our big mighty God to do His wonders for His glory. While we don't know the outcome, He does. We don't understand the reason, He does, and it will ultimately glorify our Lord.

So I would like to ask all of you to pray specifically RIGHT NOW for Lindsey's complete and total healing. None if that "if it's Your will" stuff. Claim the promises God has given us!

Psalm 30:2 "O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me."

Claim this verse on her out to Jehovah Rapha -- The Lord our Healer

Everyone is a little psychotic

I've been thinking... random shower thoughts. Did you know that I very often compose blogs while in the shower? In my head, of course, and 99% never make it to the keyboard. It's unfortunate, because I do my best composing in the shower. One thing I started thinking about recently was how I can almost always, at any moment I am awake, tell you something on or in my body that either hurts, or is uncomfortable. I realize this more than likely qualifies me for a number of psychiatric disorders, but think about it yourself. Right now, what hurts? At 10:29 pm, my right thigh and hip hurts. I also have a light headache. My ring finger on my right hand has a hangnail that's throbbing. I'm actually feeling pretty good tonight!

This makes me curious. Am I the only insane person out there assessing my every body part for pain and discomfort? I think not. I'm betting about 100% of people have bouts with occasional hypochondria, am I right or am I right?

Like my undergrad psychology professor once said, everyone of us can be classified as "psychos".

Psych = mind
Disease = dis-ease = not at ease

See, we are all mental!

10:39 pm...... what hurts now? :-)

Let's face the music here

Alright, out with it.

I'm not a good cook.

I can bake like nobody's business, but give me raw meat and vegetables, and I'll probably ruin it on it's way to being dinner. I can't make sauces, and I don't season things right. But there's a bigger problem here.

I don't follow recipes well.

I don't pay attention much to measurements and quantities. That makes it pretty easy to mess up! Like the last time I made a roast, I skipped over the part where it said to marinate a 4-pound hunk of meat in 1 cup of red wine and one cup of water.. I had a 1.63-pound frozen rump and stuck it in with *probably* more than 1 cup of wine.. and forgot the water altogether. Result: nastiness in a slow-cooker. (yes, Grandma, I just applied the word nasty to food!)

Then there's the substitution problem... it calls for some dry onion soup mix, which I don't have, so I think I'm smart to Google "onion soup mix substitution." The list of ingredients if 18 long, and only three of those I've heard of: garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. Guess that'll work... 3 out of 18 is enough right? ...and it tasted like blah.

I've tried to go more natural and domestic by making home-cooked meals for family. All I can say is, thank goodness for Stouffer's, Tyson, and DiGiorno!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009: Year in Review

I'm taking this from another blogger friend, because it's neat to go back and reflect on the last year.

Carly's first birthday snuck up on us quickly! She turned 1 on January 10th. We had a fun little party at our house.

Caleb turned three on the 28th, and his party was supposed to be at Brookshire's museum, but that day it was very cold, and VERY windy outside, so at the last minute we moved it indoors to Chuck E Cheese. Caleb was very disappointed, until he realized how much fun Chuck E Cheese was!

In March I held my first in-home party for AlexiaJean. Although it wasn't as successful as we had hoped, it was a wonderful first experience and helped me focus on what direction I want to take my business.

In April, I went to Canton for the first time in about 10 years. The kids also had about four different Easter egg hunts... and then on April 21, Greg lost his job with Farmers. He had already been mowing yards in his spare time, and we both felt like we were being called to move forward with that business and not look back. I'm happy to say it was the best thing that's ever happened to us!

Greg turned the 3-0 in May!

June: I taught Kindergarten in VBS -- fun and exhausting!! It also reminded me of the reasons I changed my major from Elementary Ed to Business...

July: My 26th birthday!

August: August was filled with hot summer days outside in the pool, and Greg was busy busy busy mowing yards from dawn to dusk! (not literally, but he was VERY busy!)

Caleb started going to KidzPraise children's choir at church. Greg and I went camping with our Sunday School class, but it started raining as soon as we got there and didn't stop all night! So we had a nice cozy night at home in our dry bed while the kids slept over at the Rice's! I volunteered at the bi-annual city-wide consignment sale, and then went to Nashville TN with three other girls for the Mops convention.

Greg mowed through October, which surprised us since we expected the grass to quit growing by the ned of September. God's blessings continue to pour when you trust in Him! I set up for the Rose Festival craft show and got rained out the second day. I also got to have a fun weekend with two of my best girlfriends with much shopping, zoo, football game and Starbucks! And there was also trick-or-treating!

I did another craft show in Bullard with nice weather this time! We had Thanksgiving at home this year with "the leftovers" as we came to call ourselves... all of our family that stayed home- we all got together and made a holiday out of it!

December: Christmas parties! Santa came and left a hugepile of toys, which we are still trying to find places for!

That pretty much wraps it up nicely. Now onto 2010!