Friday, April 30, 2010

Orecchiette with Sausage, Asparagus and Spinach

I made a great pasta dish on Wednesday night that I wanted to share.  It is not a dish that calls for a heavy sauce, so if you don't enjoy pasta without the alfredo or marinara poured on thick, then this probably isn't going to be for you.

1 pound orecchiette
4 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 pound), casing removed and crumbled
Small bunch of asparagus, trimmed into 1 inch pieces
1 pound spinach, washed, trimmed, and cut into pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup organic chicken broth
1 teaspoon organic butter
Garlic to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown for about 8-10 minutes, transfer to a bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes; drain, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.

In the same skillet that you cooked the sausage in (don’t wash it out) add the olive oil and garlic and once hot, sauté the asparagus until almost tender, then add the spinach and continue sautéing until wilted.

Add sausage mixture to sautéed spinach and asparagus and mix together.

Add the orecchiette to the mixture. Stir to combine, adding chicken broth plus the cooking liquid if pasta seems too dry; add the teaspoon of butter, sprinkle with cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wish List

There are a few books out there that I am dying to get my hands on. Luckily, they are all a great price on, so you should check them out too!  What is on YOUR reading wish list? 

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist.  This is her second book, a follow-up to Cold Tangerines. I adored her first book and was challenged and inspired by her beautiful writings. 

I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. Angie is the author of Bring the Rain, an incredible blog that was first started as an outlet for Angie as she anticipated the birth of her daughter, Audrey Caroline, knowing that Audrey would not survive.  She has tremendous and beautiful faith and her writings have certainly contributed to my growth.

And lastly, Sleep: It Does a Family Good.  I heard Dr. Archibald Hart on a radio program and was intrigued by this topic. I think this will be a great read that Larry and I will learn a lot from.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Where Does Our Help Come From?

Well, I am going to step out here today and risk being irrelevant. Oh my!  My hope is to get some of my closest and dearest friends to think and investigate the things of our culture that can so easily become the norm to us. I would love to read comments or be provided with additional resources should you have any.

About a month ago I was at home alone. It was right around the time that I went part-time and I was a little stressed out about the whole transition. My stress always manifests itself in physical ways.  I will clench my jaw, my shoulders will hurt, I have headaches and chest pains.  It's really just good, plain fun.

Anyway, I had some time to myself and I was experiencing lots of tension in my neck and shoulders. I decided to pull up a YouTube video and try to couple of yoga exercises specifically for the relief of neck pain. I proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes on the floor of my bedroom in an array of poses and postures. When I was finished I sat up and just felt kind of strange. On one hand I loved the idea of becoming more flexible and relaxed, but on the other hand something just did not feel right.  I honestly can't explain it any better than that.

I popped up and began to search for thoughts on yoga from some of the men that I respect the most.

First, I listened to this sermon from John Piper.  The whole sermon does not solely revolve around the topic of yoga but he definitely addresses the topic and he pleads for us to stop and think about what we are doing.  If your faith is in Christ then I encourage you to listen to the words from Piper.

Next, I sought out what John MacArthur had to say about this issue.  Quickly I found this interview (it is posted on YouTube so don't be surprised by the mix of comments left on this video) and follow up sermon and I thought MacArthur's responses made great sense, particularly in regards to how we should pursue meditation and ways to relieve our stress. It's short and sweet, so watch it, okay?

Lastly, I just think it's important for you to study the terminology, poses and postures of yoga so that you can understand what each of them mean. I think that you would be surprised by some of the meanings.  As a brief example, a few are listed here.

Again, this post is not to make anyone feel condemned for being a Christian and practicing yoga. Afterall, I am just beginning to think about this myself. Rather, it is a call for those of us love Christ with our whole hearts to examine everything carefully; holding fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

I will continue to study this topic and let you know if I stumble across more relevant materials. And of course, I would love the same from you.

Much love, friends,

***You will see a number of anynomous comments below which are from a email thread of some of my closest friends. Lots of different thoughts on the subject. ***

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Open Letter

Dear Sir,

It was not a pleasure to meet you today. No, not a pleasure at all. My mom and I were enjoying our Sunday. I am making dinner tonight for my family. We only had to stop at Albertson's so that we could pick up some cream-style corn for my new Corn Chowder recipe. My mom is sweet and dropped me off at the door since it was raining cats and dogs. It was quite unexpected when I opened the door and my purse and its contents went tumbling to the ground.

What I immediately felt was a slight hint of embarrassement for causing a scene in front of the store. But, when you pulled up behind me and began to honk your horn and make obscene gestures at me for not hurrying along, well, I felt anger.

You drove off in a rage before I could come over to the driver's side, whip open the door, and tell you what I really thought. So, I wanted to take that opportunity now. It would go something like this...

What kind of a man would pull up behind a car and see a woman searching frantically for her soggy, wet belongings in the pouring rain and then begin to honk as if it was rightly warranted and as if she did it entirely to irritate you? So entitled.

It appears that you are that kind of man. I also noticed that you were the same gentleman who took up two parking spaces as well. So entitled.

I have a feeling you are the guy that cuts people off, who won't allow others to merge when their lane is clearly ending or that flips someone off if their pace doesn't keep up with yours. You probably don't open doors for little old ladies or say thanks to your servers. I bet after you eat dinner at home you don't help with the dishes, and in fact, probably even leave your mess just scattered on the table. So entitled.

You sir, are a jerk. Your disrespect for women is a shame. Did you know that I married a man who would jump out of his car to help a frantic or troubled woman? In fact, I almost suspect that he would ask the woman to get back into her car so she would not continue to get wet. He would certainly never rush her. He makes me proud and thankful. And he showers me with dignity.

What a disgusting example you are, sir. Maybe you should consider taking your Cub Scouts sticker off of your car because it was certainly difficult for me to recognize any of your youth-based values today.


Wet and flustered

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


As a way to try and watch our budget I have started using a weekly menu planner prior to grocery shopping so that I can try and incorporate items left in our pantry and then once I get to the store I know exactly what I need to buy, alleviating random purchases. We are very lucky because we prepare meals for Cornerstone three nights per week, so that is automatically three meals that we are not responsible for. What a gift! Not to mention I have learned how to cook for eight on a regular basis.

This week, I purchased a whole chicken so that I could make both homemade chicken tortilla soup and chicken spaghetti. I made the soup this morning and it turned out super yummy! My mom had the recipe and then I added a few extra spices. This soup is also a great idea when you are working on a budget because it saves well and makes great leftovers, so you can get several meals out of it.

Homemade Tortilla Soup Ingredients:
Half of rotisserie chicken (both white and dark meat; shredded)
2-3 carrots
1/2 yellow onion
celery (if desired; I do not use)
1 can whole-kernel, golden corn (organic)
1 can stewed tomatoes (organic)
1 carton chicken broth (organic, free range)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cummin
1 tsp garlic
salt and pepper (we use Old Thompson Garlic Pepper on EVERYTHING!)
dash of crushed red pepper
dash of Tony Chachere's creole seasoning
dash of cayenne pepper if you like your soup spicy
olive oil

In a large stock pan saute chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper (if using) in olive oil until veggies begin to become tender.

Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, corn, stewed tomatoes and simmer until veggies are tender. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and creole seasoning to taste.

Garnish with shredded monterrey jack/cheddar cheese mix, tortilla strips or fritos, dollop of sour cream, and slices of avocado.

Enjoy! We are!