17 February 2012

Do Over?!

Even though this is overdue, I will try to get back on track with what I wanted to talk about...

Things seem to be in working order with my computer.  I don't know what happened, but it powered up last night and Ryan even Skyped with his dad today with no problems.  I can commence with school work. (awww...)  I hope the driver issue with Nvidia and my computer has been resolved forever.

I have not come up with any other recipes with my endless supply of beans.  We ate at Friday's last night and had leftovers tonight.  Perhaps the pantry challenge will be altered.  There is no way I'm having beans for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert with a side of soup every day.  I will get creative and use up what I don't really want to eat.  Don't get me wrong, I like beans, just not everyday.  A lot of the food I have in the pantry came from the food bank.  I'm not big on buying canned fruits and veggies because frozen ones are closer to fresh and healthy. I didn't realize how much I would rather make a meal of something else (if I have something else available). I really thought that everything that I have on hand can be used up without too many trips to the grocery store.  Perhaps I'm right about that.  I will take some time to reevaluate what I have and challenge myself to using up what's lurking on the shelves.

I know it's after Valentine's Day, but we had an assignment, didn't we?  We had 5 days to come up with 5 ways to love our enemies (well, I guess we had a little more time than that...).  Here are my five things (read if you have your list already):

  1. Change the way I speak about them.
  2. Watch my attitude when dealing with them.
  3. Show patience.
  4. Pray for them.
  5. Try not to keep record of wrongdoings.
Onto the explanation!  Okay, when thinking about an enemy, I can't help but think of my ex-husband.  I will not go into the details of our marriage, divorce, and current communication issues, but I will explain a bit where I'm coming from.
  1. Changing the way I speak about the person is a good first step toward showing respect.  I have to admit, this one isn't really that hard for me to do (what's hard is when I'm talking directly to the person!)  Even though your enemy may be someone who doesn't have or show any respect for you, it is up to you to "be the bigger person" and just be plain ol' decent when you're talking about them to others.  This probably won't change the way you feel about them, but you will be able to keep a clear conscious while being a good example to others (especially your children, if you have any).
  2. Watching my attitude, huh?  More than anyone else I know in this world, my ex is really good at getting under my skin (and I let him?!).  Even when I try to keep emotions out and just be plain and say what needs to be said, it can come across as attitude (happens more often in email than in person).  What's difficult to do is keep a positive attitude when you are received with negativity.  I don't typically lose patience that easily, but with him...I do...  Which brings me to my next point...
  3. Showing patience is really important.  It can help keep you from ever developing the attitude.  Being patient doesn't mean sitting back and not doing anything at all.  It means understanding that clearing up any situation could take some time.  Regardless of that time it may take, don't lose your cool and try to keep working toward a resolution.
  4. Praying for those you love, or even strangers, is a lot easier to do than praying for someone you don't get along with.  When it comes to praying for that difficult person in my life, I don't really always know what to ask for (I can't say that I try to think about the person, either).  I would never ask for death and doom, but at the same time, I would really not have to deal with something (or someone) so difficult.  Can you feel me on that one?  Part of being a mature, responsible adult is facing difficulties.  It's important to pray for yourself to be able to show love to that person along with things that would benefit that person.  Be it wellness or repentance, when you pray for someone because you truly care for them (even if you don't like them), that's the ultimate way you can love them.
  5. Try not to keep record of wrongdoings.  This one is tricky.  Especially if you are constantly being pestered (or have court hearings coming up).  The main thing is to try not to hang onto what was done in the past (if it has nothing to do with right now).  I don't really have issues with this with anyone, but (you guess it) my ex-husband.  For several years now, I have been dealing with things that led to my divorce as well as things that have been going on since then.  With court hearings scattered through the years, lies, and confusion, it's been hard to determine what exactly are we dealing with and in what time frame does it belong.  I can't help but think that it may be a while before any of that stuff will lose relevancy.  It can take a while to get over hurt, but dwelling on what they did to you will not help you grow or move forward (or deal with them properly).
This list is just 5 things.  Now for the assignment!  At the end of next week, take a look back on how you dealt with your "enemy." Did you stick to any of the 5 ideas you came up with?  How about with someone that you wouldn't consider an "enemy"? I'll have to revisit this one myself...There are 2 emails that I have been holding off responding to because they really got me going.  When I do respond (and believe me, I will) I will work to keep the love in it, even if what I have to say won't be welcomed (or understood as love).

What is easier than showing love?  Just about everything sometimes!  What's easier than that?  This recipe for my corn flake chicken!  You know you liked that transition!

You'll need some chicken pieces (you can use bone-in or boneless parts).  This time when I made it, I used boneless thighs.  You'll need to season your flour.  I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley flakes.  You can use whatever seasonings you like.  Remember, that because the chicken will have an outer layer of corn flakes, your seasonings will be sort of toned down a bit.  Taste your seasoned flour before you start coating chicken and adjust accordingly.  

After you have coated your chicken in the seasoned flour, beat an egg or two and dip in your chicken.  Get it covered pretty well (while not losing your flour).  
Last in the preparations is coating the chicken in broken corn flakes!  It's up to you how fine you want your corn flake crumbs.  I usually like to crush them by hand so there are a lot of different sized flakes, but chopping them in a food processor or leaving them whole works fine, too.

Your oven should be preheated to something too hot for you to touch...like 350 or 400 degrees (fahrenheit, of course!).  Place your chicken in the oven covered for as long as you like.  I usually keep it in for an hour...for good measure.  Be sure to uncover your chicken when it's done and cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes to ensure the crust is nice and crispy.  You will have crispy but very juicy chicken.


I'm sorry for not having a picture of the final product.  I was so happy to sit down and eat!  We had macaroni and cheese and fresh salad with homemade sesame ginger dressing.  For dessert, mango peach cobbler (I doubled the quick fruit cobbler recipe from More-With-Less cookbook) with homemade pink vanilla ice cream (it was Valentine's day).

It is waaay past my bedtime.  I'm not doing homework, so I should really get some sleep!

15 February 2012

Where's the love?!

Well...it's 1am the day AFTER Valentines Day. I was supposed to have a list for you and I was supposed to give you the next step for yours. I was also supposed to have some dinner ideas for my very own pantry challenge.
...i got the challenge part down out of all that...

I'm unable to sleep right now and I'm posting from my phone. My computer had been having some problems with video and after 3 minutes of Skype with my girls, the video died altogether. Apparently Nvidia's newest update has been giving people problems...
I realize that I really don't have the right kinds of items to make complete meals with while avoiding the grocery store.  I'm going to have to get pretty creative. I've got a LOT of beans!!

We had corn flake chicken thighs with salad and leftover mac & cheese. For dessert, mango peach cobbler with pink ice cream.

I will post my crazy easy recipes another time.

09 February 2012

Loveless? or Loveful?

Well, it's been February for a little over a week now...How does it feel? Does it feel lovely?  No? Yes?  Starting in January, you may have noticed that everyone, everywhere have been gearing up for The Day of Love.

Valentine's Day is a special day where people all over the world feel pretty lonely because they may not have a honey to come home to or curl up with.  I've never really gotten all excited about the day, honestly.  To me, love goes beyond dating or marriage relationships.  We should have love for everyone around us.  That includes our families, friends, or anyone you pass by during your busy day.  We should remember that we are called to love our neighbor.  We should also be striving to extend that love on a daily (not yearly) basis.

I believe that I'm a pretty loving person, especially when it comes to helping to meet the needs of others.  I must  also say there are exactly two people that I have a hard time loving...Perhaps, I'm due for a challenge.  Perhaps you're due for a challenge?!  Today is the 9th of February.  There are exactly 5 days left until Valentine's Day.  Starting today...Each day, find a new way to show love to someone that you may be having trouble showing love to.  You don't necessarily have to seek out and interact with that person (or those people).  Showing love could be as simple as not spreading rumors about that person.  Resolving to change the way you interact with them.

It's a good idea to write these ideas down at the beginning of each day (any time is good, though).  On Valentine's Day, take a look at your list.  I will tell you what to do next...after Valentine's Day.

While I won't add to the numerous recipes for heart-shaped pancakes or chocolate-dipped strawberries, I will address food love.  How many times do you look at a full pantry and can't figure out what to eat?  I do it all the time.  Then, do you get yourself ready for a short trip to the store? (or order out?) and end up spending way too much?  How much food ends up being wasted at the end of the month?

This weekend I will be gearing up to try and use the food that has been sitting in my cabinets.  I have been inspired by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's pantry challenge.  I have lots of food (mostly cans) that just sit there with each grocery trip I make.  Sometimes, I intend to do something with it...then I get a craving, or I don't feel like cooking...and you know the rest.  Being a good steward goes beyond tithing.  We should take care to not be wasteful with even our food.

The only items that I will allow myself to purchase will be milk, cheese, eggs, bread, and the like.   These are the kinds of thing that are normally kept on hand.  They would be used in recipes that I'll be working on.  Since I will be working toward using up what I have for the week (Mon - Fri), I will be trying to stretch the meat I have on hand and may have to cook some vegetarian meals.  I'm okay with that.  Tomorrow and Saturday, I will run through everything I have and see what I can come up with.  I imagine that maybe the first few days will be pretty easy...Each day, I will post my recipe for that day.  The next day, I will post pics of the finished product (if I don't eat it first!)

My cabinet is full of things that I just won't use!  I have a lot of cans (mostly from the food pantry) that just sit there, looking at me.  I don't usually go out and buy canned foods (unless I have an immediate need), so they just sit...