Wednesday, July 28, 2010

simple salmon dinner

On Monday night I made coconut crusted salmon, mashed cauliflower and fresh green beans tossed with garlic powder and parmesan cheese.
It was a super simple dinner that took under 30 minutes to prepare.
First, I set two pots of water on the stove to boil and set the oven to 475. While the water boiled I took out the salmon and set up everything I would need for the dinner on the counter: coconut flakes, panko crumbs, garlic salt, salt and pepper, lime juice, parmesan cheese, milk, butter and sour cream. Then I chopped up a couple large heads of cauliflower and snapped the ends off the green beans. I put each veg in boiling water and though I tried to time each, I ended up just checking the softness of each with a fork every few minutes. While the veggies boiled I coated the top of the salmon with lemon juice and spread a mixture of coconut flakes, panko, and S&P on top of the lemon juice. The recipe I used said to bake the salmon for 15-17 minutes, but I was baking a large fillet and it took a couple minutes longer. You'll know it's done when the salmon flakes easily (check the thickest part). Once the cauliflower was tender enough for a fork to easily cut through it, I drained the water and put the cauliflower back into the pan and turned down the heat down to low. I poured in 1/3 cup milk, two tablespoons of butter and sour cream, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. I used my immersion blender (you can use a hand mixer or a potato masher, or whatever you use for mashing potatoes) to mash the cauliflower and blend it with the other ingredients. Basically, prepare the cauliflower the same way you would your mashed potatoes. I left the mashed cauliflower on low heat to keep it warm and then moved on to draining the green beans. At this point my salmon was done, but I like my food to stay hot so I turned the oven to 200 degrees. I kept the green beans in the colander after draining them and drizzled them with olive oil, then I sprinkled garlic salt and parm cheese on top and shook the colander gently until the beans were coated. Andy likes pepper on everything, so I added a bit of that as well.

That's it! Unless you aren't paying attention to the done-ness of your fish and veggies, this is a hard meal to mess up. If you're worried about over-seasoning, start small and taste the dish until you're satisfied.
Good luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

a piece of my grandmother

I am receiving a few pieces of furniture from my Grandma Jean, one of which my parents had waiting for me in the van on Friday. It's the most beautiful sewing cabinet and I just want to hug it.

gorgeous woodwork
the top flips open into two pieces and the sewing machine comes out from underneath

so many cute compartments!

these ones flip out! 

$%*#@& toothpicks!

Andy and I have had a constant struggle in our marriage. It revolves around the toothpicks. I would prefer it if  toothpicks didn't exist in our home at all, but that will never happen. Andy likes to stick one behind his ear after dinner and then eventually pick his teeth and hold the toothpick on the side of his mouth for hours. l am disgusted by this and have told him that many times. Our original compromise was that he would use the toothpick to get food out of his teeth and then immediately throw it away. I don't know what happened to this compromise. I mourn that compromise.
Somehow Andy has completely ignored my toothpick requests and the worst part of it is I FIND THEM EVERYWHERE. In the couch, on the floor, stuck to dirty plates, even IN BED. I don't know how that last one happened, but my friend Jackie witnessed it because she was in my room looking at my clothes when I discovered it.

Jackie also witnessed the piercing of my foot by a stray toothpick that was on the floor, which happened a few weeks after the bed incident.

It boggles my mind that we can have mature arguments and agreements and discussions and whatnot, but Andy continues to resist the toothpick compromise. It's a good thing he's so darn good looking.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

homemade pizza rolls

sliced stromboli
My friend Leah gave me her pizza dough recipe and I used it last weekend to make individual pepperoni rolls to take on my trip. The rolls lasted all week and were amazing reheated in the hotel microwave. I used the same dough to make ground beef and pepperoni strombolis for Andy to eat while I was away.

1 c warm water, 1 pkg dry yeast, 1 tsp sugar
2 c flour, 1 tsp salt, 2 TB olive oil 
1 TB olive oil for drizzling
pepperoni and shredded cheese for center (I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
(you could also include a small spoonful of onions and peppers)

Mix yeast, sugar and water; dissolve; rest 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and olive oil and knead a little bit until it's not sticky. If your dough is still sticky after kneading, try kneading in small amounts of flour. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil over dough. Place in a bowl and cover. Let rise for 30-45 minutes. Punch the dough and pull off fistful sized amounts. Roll each mound into a flattened rectangle. In the middle of each rectangle place a sprinkle of shredded cheese, 4 pepperoni slices and another sprinkle of cheese. Bring sides and ends of rectangle together and fold them over. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Continue with each fistful of dough. Brush egg wash over the top of each roll. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes, or wrap individually and freeze. 

Egg wash:
combine 1 egg, 1/8 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder (I used a 1/2 tsp of each but wished I had done more- will at least do a tsp of each and maybe a tablespoon of oregano)
I'm planning on using this dough to make garlic and parmesan breadsticks on Wednesday when I make shrimp and sausage pasta with cream sauce. My mouth is already watering. This week's menu only consists of two meals because we eat at Bible study on Tuesdays and I'm going out of town on Friday. I'm making baked salmon with fresh green beans and mashed cauliflower tomorrow night and the pasta dish will hopefully last us for Weds and Thursday. I'm looking forward to being back in the kitchen!  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

a big update and then a bunch of chatter over coupons. just to warn you haters.

I have been in Kentucky since Monday (I thought we were going to TN but our hotel was a few miles inside KY) visiting my sister-in-law Melissa, her husband Larry and their new baby girl, Jaiden. My mother-in-law and I did the drive together and yesterday on our way up 81 we stopped in Harrisonburg to pick Andy up and continued on to Strasburg, where we met my parents for dinner. Afterwards Barb continued on to Winchester and Andy and I drove home in our new van!

Big news: My parents sold us their Honda Odyssey! Even though I'm not a mom yet, after Andy's car died we both decided we should look for a vehicle that would hold future babies + our dog Casey. We were hoping my parents would consider selling the van and we are so happy to own it! It is the nicest van. Leather, heated seats, DVD player, lots of room...and my favorite: volume control on the steering wheel.  :)

Andy now drives "my" Camry (it's going to be weird to call it his now) which means he finally gets to have AC and a working radio/CD player! As sad as he was to say goodbye to his beloved Mitsubishi Mirage, I think a part of him is relieved to no longer sweat the whole way home from work.

After he left for work today I got to work organizing all the coupons my Mom had brought me and headed out to CVS, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target and Kohls. I saved $40 at CVS (spent $61), saved $10 at Bed Bath and Beyond (spent $26), saved $16 at Target (spent $85), and saved $55 at Kohls (spent $21). While I still spent a lot of money: $193 total, but I saved a total of $121! The ONLY thing I bought for myself that I don't need was a $1 small blue bin from Target that I plan on using for stashing my many lipsticks and glosses and balms.

I have been doing a LOT of shopping lately, and it's time to put a stop to some things:
-- no going to Bath and Body Works until 2011, even though I keep getting amazing coupons. I have enough hand soap to last me until then.
-- no more candles unless they are for gifts.
-- no more shampoo, body wash or deodorant for Andy
-- no more razors or shave gel for me
-- no buying makeup unless I'm getting Extra Care Bucks (or it's on sale) AND I have a manufacturer's coupon
-- no buying pens or notebooks (sniff)

I'm exhausted.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Heal my heart and make it clean / Open up my eyes to the things unseen / Show me how to love like you have loved me / Break my heart from what breaks yours / Everything I am for your kingdoms cause / As I go from nothing to / Eternity

Saturday, July 17, 2010


foreword: the engine on andy's car completely overheated on wednesday night. we have to get a second car. this was our last month paying off student loans, so this was both good timing and bad timing. also, I leave for TN on monday, andy has very little time off right now, and I need a car by the 28th which is when I go back to work.

8ish: move from bed to couch where I sleep peacefully until
9: andy comes downstairs and laughs at my curled-up-ness. I make muffins and we discuss cars. andy gets overwhelmed and angry because this has been the worst week ever for him at work, and he doesn't want to spend his much-needed down time before another long day at work talking about a car he wishes we didn't have to buy. he takes his muffins and coffee and goes upstairs to cool down. I feel torn because a part of me wants to give him massages and kisses and make it better, yet the other part of me is realistic and knows we have to get the car figured out ASAP.
9:40: andy apologizes for his crankies and pulls me to my feet for a big bear hug. we watch the two SNL videos that are on the previous post.
10: we arrive at the Toyota dealership and test drive the model we had researched online
11:30: we get home and freak out about how much we liked the vehicle, then do more online research
12:25: andy and I stand in the doorway to kiss goodbye and he smiles at me and says, "God is good. I'm getting excited about having a new car, and I'm realizing more and more how awesome it is that we won't be paying two loans at the same time." He leaves for work. I fall in love with him a million times over.

Now it is 2:34, and since then I have made pizza dough for strombolis, chatted with K Stoops for a while when she brought over pics for me to edit, found a show on hulu that I'm dying to watch and cleaned the kitchen. Oh, and I've also looked at the car a million times online. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

how I love a man

I took 30 minutes of my day to peel and dice a pound of potatoes. I never peel potatoes. I hate peeling potatoes. I did this because I will be out of town for 10 days and Andy requested that I make a huge potful of clam chowder for him to eat every single day while I'm gone. It's the middle of July.

I think of two SNL vidoes that perfectly capture how I wanted to respond to his request.
from Pageant Talk: "You are the worst!"
from Bronx Beat: "You know what? My husband, I want to kill him. I want to strangle him while he's asleep. I want to kill him. But you know what? [voice breaking] I love him. He's the love of my life."

This is how I got through the peeling process: I pretended that I was a contestant on Top Chef and that I was in the quick fire challenge where everyone has to do prep work as fast as possible. I guess I would have lost, but for me peeling 11 potatoes in 14 minutes was a HUGE success.

I do not hate my husband. I love him very much even when I want to strangle him. I like taking good care of my man and I know I'll be peeling more potatoes for him in the future.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

july little pleasures

I won't be in town for a week and a half, so I'm dedicating today's post to the little pleasures of the month.

1. Girls Gone Child, one of my favorite blogs, featured this skateboarding video that completely captivated me. There is such delight in watching a skillful person at work (or in this case, play). I took my skateboard to college my freshman year and I miss skating up and down the hall and trying not to hit cars when I went down the hill in front of my dorm.

2. Toy Story 3. I actually haven't seen it yet, but I'm going tomorrow with Andy! We have heard nothing but good things about it.

3. CORN ON THE COB. ohmygoodness. My favorite summer vegetable. I especially love it grilled.

4. Round Ireland With a Fridge by Tony Hawks. This guy hitchhiked around Ireland with a fridge to win a bet. The memoir was a quick read and made me laugh the whole way through. I'm dying to see the movie. I love a good indie flick.

5. 2010 is already halfway over. How are you doing on your New Year's Resolutions? I'm doing terribly on mine. I completely and totally forgot (honestly, I did) that I had written last December about spending $50 a week in groceries. Whoops! Thankfully we haven't been spending much on groceries lately because our schedules have been crazy and we do a LOT of eating whatever we already have in the freezer/pantry. I also didn't finish the diet, walk only a few miles per week, haven't been published this year...yikes. But I have been reading! I read all the time!

So, number 5 sounds like a downer, but here is where the little pleasure is found: we have more time! The year isn't over yet! Here is a revised list of resolutions: continue reading as often as possible, get published, exercise 30 min a day for at least four days/week, make healthful dinners and eat less in the evening, read my Bible daily, practice the fruits of the spirit, eat more local-grown foods and take a vacation with *just* Andy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

desert song

lyrics from a song I listened to today. (listen here). this song always breaks my heart. the woman who wrote the lyrics had experienced a miscarriage, which prompted her to write the following:

This is my prayer in the desert
When all thats within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise Ill stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favour and providence flow
I know Im filled to be emptied again
The seed Ive received I will sow

Monday, July 5, 2010

a lesson from jake and vienna. really.

confession: I watch the Bachelorette. and enjoy it.
after tonight's episode ABC held an interview with Jake (the most recent Bachelor) and Vienna, the woman he proposed to at the end of the season. they are in a tabloid war and are tossing accusations back in forth in a crazy he said she said whirlwind.

Girls, I suggest you find the interview when it's put online and watch/listen carefully. Regardless of what really happened between Jake and Vienna, the way they handled conflict was to me SO telling of the differences between men and women.

During the interview Vienna complained that Jake was not as loving, compassionate, friendly or touchy-feely as he was when they were first engaged. She said the man she fell in love with was all of those things. She said she enjoyed being around him, but now he is distant and she is lonely and has to beg for kisses. Jake responded by saying he fell in love with Vienna because she was supportive, fun to be around, smart. He felt challenged by her (in a good way). Now he says she is disrespectful, undermining, selfish. She plays games with him/tests him.

LISTEN UP. Women want to be romanced (in some way shape or form- hopefully she can communicate her needs and wants). We want to be pursued. We don't want to have to beg for kisses. Yet, as Jake pointed out, how can a man give a woman those things when he is feeling so disrespected by her? Men want respect! It's in the Bible-- God commands men to love their wives and commands women to respect their husbands. That is intentional. He doesn't command women to love (in that verse), or men to respect. Someone at church said "a woman can love an enemy, but she can't respect him/her. A man can respect an enemy, but cannot love him/her." Think on that!

It is so easy for women to disrespect the man she loves when she is not feeling loved, and for men to not show love to their wives because they are not being respected.

Vienna interrupted Jake constantly during the interview, even when he pointed out to her that interrupting made him feel disrespected. She continued to interrupt and when he blew a fuse and raised his voice, she burst into tears and said "see what I have to put up with?"

Sadly, that part of the interview hit waaay too close to home for me. I used to think to myself "is this really what I have to put up with?" I never thought back then that Andy was probably thinking the same thing! I used to be over-emotional, which only confuses and frustrates men. I used to think I was always right. I would pray that Andy would change because if he didn't, how would I go on living and loving him? It's almost laughable now. Almost. See, now I am able to recognize that I do things that hurt Andy too. I am wrong (most of the time). I can display my emotions and express my disappointment through carefully worded sentences instead of tearfests. I pray for changes to occur in me instead of Andy (and when I do pray for him I try to do it unselfishly).

maybe Vienna cheated. maybe Jake is a fame whore. regardless, their relationship was made up of a woman who needed love and a man who needed respect.

If you're reading this and thinking how can a woman show a man respect if he is not loving her? then you are asking a question I have asked myself. What I discovered was I had to focus on the large percentage of what I love and adore about Andy rather than the small percentage of what I don't.

If you were a man, what would you hope for in a partner? Are you giving those things to your man? Does he know what you need from him? Here's a conversation starter:

ask your man: what gives you confidence in our relationship? how can I better respect you? what is something I could change right now to make our relationship better for you?
have him ask you the same questions but replace the word "respect" with the word "love."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

nutrition info for chocolate chip cookies

I've blogged about these cookies before and I decided to find the nutritional info for them using a recipe calculator. I use one cup of chocolate chip cookies instead of two, and I might even do a 1/4 less next time. The recipe makes several dozen. I put in 40 servings because I like my cookies sliiiightly larger.

40 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories149.3 Total Fat6.2 g Saturated Fat3.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat0.3 g Monounsaturated Fat1.7 g Cholesterol21.5 mg Sodium147.3 mg Potassium58.4 mg Total Carbohydrate25.9 g Dietary Fiber0.5 g Sugars18.3 g Protein1.5 g


slow churned rich and creamy: coffee flavor.

160 cals, perfect serving size. looks tiny, but absolutely satisfying. especially if you take time to enjoy it.