Monday, December 31, 2012

The "flavor"

I could have sworn that I have written about "the bread", but I can't find it anywhere. Mom, Dad? Do you remember reading about it? Or do you just remember it?

It was Easter 2011. I made "the bread" to go with our dinner.

There was a moment of panic when the smell hit the kitchen. The bread was under the broiler and it smelled like it was burning.

I wasn't worried. It was doing exactly what it needed to be doing.

My mom said it was burning and I said, "No! That's the flavor!"

Hence, it is now known in our family as "the flavor". Not "the bread".

Since I never blogged about it (or at least can't find where I did) here's the link to that delicious recipe. Try it with your next dinner. Follow the instructions and wait. Don't get impatient like my mom. You definitely want "the flavor."

The reason why I'm telling you about the flavor bread is because PW blogged about another of her favorite breads. This post is actually older than "the bread" post. But she just reposted it and it was the first time I had seen it.

Check this out.

I have a feeling that this will be replacing "the bread" in our house. I will be trying this soon.

And, if you read through the recipe, don't fret. I read several of the comments and one urges everyone to use kalamata olives instead of the canned. I will definitely be using the kalamata.

And I promise to post Christmas pictures on here soon. I haven't forgotten.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

my other new gig

One of my jobs is the Wedding Coordinator at our church.

I mention this because we had a wedding today. It was one of our well-known families. Their two other daughters were married in our church. Today was the youngest's wedding.

Here's what I've learned about my job that is not fun: typing the marriage license.

This is quite possibly the most nerve-racking job I've ever done.

Yes, I could hand-write it, but since I was taught to type them, I feel as though I must.

The instructions that come with the license are very clear. No corrections are to be made. White-out or otherwise.


You can see why that would make me nervous.

On the other hand, the part about my job that I do like is opening the door to the chapel so that the groom can see his bride for the first time.

Wow, what a special moment. I don't peek in (because I don't need to be in the pictures), but I do see the groom's face.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Can I get a high five?

Yes, I do have pictures from Christmas and I will post them.

But first I had to share this with you.

Of all the potatoes (and there were a lot), we got the bag with this potato.

Let me tell you how.

There are potato chip factories in Indiana that sample each truck load of potatoes. If the potatoes don't meet the standards of the factory, the potato shipment is rejected. Instead of throwing these potatoes out, a group has organized a distribution at a church. One of the men from my parents church said he would take 1,000 of the ten pound bags.

When he showed up, they had 1,500. He said he couldn't take that many. He was told take them or leave them.

It was all or nothing.

So he took them.

My parents have been taking bags to give to as many people as they can, like Spencer's baby sitter, my sister, Bill and me.

Last night, when I reached in the bag to pull out potatoes, I pulled out this one.

It's the mitten!

The Lower Peninsula!

I had to take a picture.

Can you believe out of 1,500 bags of potatoes that we got the bag with this one in it?

Now we can eat it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"C" is for cookie

I won't go on a tirade about how the Cookie Monster is no longer the Cookie Monster.

I'm not good at tirades.

I don't like discord.

But I will talk about cookies.

Because I like cookies.

I baked a lot of cookies this year.

Last year's count can be found here.

This year, I did indeed make a ginger crinkle. I also made frosted sugar cookies, hershey kiss peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip bars, pecan puffs, and these amazing Nutella stuffed triple chocolate chip cookies.

Wow. I'm making those again.

And again.

But for the cookie exchange, I made peppermint kiss cookies.

I didn't let the first batch cool enough, so the kisses started to melt a little...

As you can see, I rolled half in green sugar and the other half in regular sugar. These are tasty and thanks Heather O. for the recipe!

And thanks to Bill for the amazing new cookie sheets! The cookies are perfectly baked, not burnt on the bottoms. And for the sugar cookies, I was supposed to grease the cookie sheet, but didn't. But the cookies didn't stick! That's how amazing my new baking sheets are.

Mmmm cookies.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

these snowflakes don't melt

Snowflake update:

While Mother Nature has not dropped nearly enough snow on West Michigan, the mailman has delivered quite the pile.
(these two, and I've added a third since I snapped this picture, are on the window above the sink)

I'm utterly impressed. I love every single one and just like the real things, each one is unique and beautiful. Thanks again to all who have sent them, and there's plenty of room for more if you haven't gotten to them yet! Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this post, and join the fun!

Disregard the yucky rain. Perhaps all these beautiful snowflakes will inspire (or challenge) Mother Nature to make some of the real stuff)!?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the birthday post

Of course I'm going to post on my birthday. I had a wonderful day.

It all started on Tuesday when Bill and I went to Meijer Gardens to see the Christmas display. (My renewal was my gift from the in-laws, thanks Don & Judy!) They're open late on Tuesdays and, of course, the lights look better at night. Here are a few of the pictures I took.

An ornament on the Great Britain tree.

Just a photo of ornaments.


One of the five newest additions to the train scene (each of these Grand Rapids landmarks are made by volunteers, and are made out of natural materials!)

Jersey Junction! (Bill asked if there was a little diorama of me since I'm there so often, har har.)

The main atrium (this was not new, but I got a good picture of it).

The star in the real atrium.

Today started off with the birthday song by Bill. Then, while I was walking into the bathroom to get ready, I did something odd and my coffee mug flew out of my hand and smashed all over the bathroom floor and me.

I changed my jeans while Bill cleaned up my mess (what a great guy!). Then I went out to breakfast with Sami. She stuck a candle in my breakfast sandwich (don't worry, I didn't eat all of that) and sang to me.

I did some shopping. I came home and enjoyed an afternoon of relaxing. Bill and I went to a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant called Republic. They support the local farms. I had a risotto with beef tips (delicious) and Bill had the pork schnitzel (also delicious). Of course I had the flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

Despite the fact that I now check a different box (no more 25-34 year old) I had a great day! Thanks to all of you who helped make it that way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Twelve reasons why having your birthday twelve days before Christmas isn't fair:

12. All of your birthday coupons coincide with Christmas coupons and you often end up using them to buy gifts for others instead of yourself (and you don't get any good deals any other time of year)

11. People don't even send Christmas cards anymore, so they send you one card wishing you a happy birthday and a Merry Christmas at the same time, to "save on postage"

10. You get the Twelve Days of Christmas stuck in your head every year

9. Your friends have Christmas parties that are more important than your birthday party

8. Doing any outdoor activity (picnic, going to the beach) requires wearing several layers of clothing which means the minute you zip up the last zipper means you have to go to the bathroom and everyone spends more time inside than outside for the activity

7. Your birthday gifts come wrapped in Christmas paper

6. Your birthday gifts are Christmas themed

5. No one bakes you a cake, instead they give you cookies

4. You may get snowed in on your birthday (that isn't necessarily a bad thing), but if you happen to like snow, it never snows on your birthday

3. Your birthday occasionally falls on a Friday and everyone avoids you because it's bad luck

2. There's no money leftover to take you out to dinner because it was spent on Christmas presents, so your birthday dinner is at McDonald's (what do you like from the dollar menu?)

And the number one reason having your birthday twelve days before Christmas isn't fair is...

1. no good reason whatsoever, it just seemed like fun to count down on 12.12.12

And, just in case you hadn't figured it out, my birthday next year will be 12.13.13 on Friday!

The following year, 12.13.14 there will be a big party. Because 12.13.14 will be on a Saturday. So save the date. I want a(nother) birthday party with all my friends and family there. No Christmas party excuses this time (see number nine above).

Friday, December 7, 2012

the verde verdict

A few weeks ago Bill and I were watching "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives". In that particular episode, they made pork chili verde. It looked amazing, so I did a quick search and found a similar recipe. I made notes to make it like they did in the restaurant featured. The other night I decided to give it a try.

I used two poblano chilies, two jalapeƱos, and several tomatillos.

After cutting out the seeds, I threw all of those into the food processor along with garlic, salt and pepper.

During my processing, the phone rang. As Wedding Coordinator for the church, I am prone to answering the phone whenever I am home. Since I was busy, Bill answered. It was a bride, so I took the call.

At some point, I touched my lips.

Despite the fact that I had washed my hands several times while cutting the peppers, there was still oil on my hands and I transferred that to my lips.

They were on fire.

Holy moly, I have never experienced anything like that before.

Bill suggested I pour a glass of milk and stick my lips in it.

I did.

That did not help.

I resorted to running the water in the sink and sticking my lips under that to wash away the oil.

That worked.

I bet it looked ridiculous.

The chili was not ridiculous.

It wasn't even that hot. After I processed the peppers, I added them to a pot with pork tenderloin chopped into cubes. I added four cups of water (I could have used chicken stock) and boiled it for about an hour. I made long-grain, organic rice in that time. The chili mellowed out and was a yummy alternative to Bill's famous chili.

I must be on a green streak... I just realized along with chili verde, I also made broccoli and cheese soup. That too was a lovely shade of green.

The other dishes I made happened to have red (tomatoes) in them. I must be in the festive, holiday mood!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the numbers game

     two hundred and thirty

     one hundred (for men)

     one hundred (for women)

     thirty (for kids)

That is how many socks the youth stuffed Sunday night for Casey's socks.

There were at least a dozen youth and leaders there to stuff.

We got them all stuffed, tied and carried over to Wesley Hall where they will stay until Christmas Eve morning when they are given away.

It is quite a sight to see three tables heavy-laden with all the "stuffings".

We granted the wishes of a few men who, last year, asked for t-shirts. Not only did I remember their wish, but will be giving the men choices as to what size t-shirt they would like.

Sometimes there are a few people who don't appreciate the hard work that goes into this.

It doesn't matter to me. My hope (and prayer) is that at least one person, on Christmas Eve morning, will appreciate this gift.

It is also amazing to me that we did actually finish the socks. There was a moment around 6:15pm that I wasn't sure we would be done by 7pm.

It didn't hurt that I told the youth: for every ten socks you stuff, you get a piece of candy.

Have I mentioned I am not above bribery?

I would have loved to have posted pictures.

But we needed all hands on-deck to stuff. And only at the end of the night, when the socks had been carried away and we were cleaning up, did I remember my camera.


In my mind I took lots of pictures.

I did take pictures of the kitchen with its final coat of paint. And the snowflakes now hanging on the sliding glass door. Let it snow!!! (Don't forget to cut, paint or otherwise craft a snowflake to send/give to me to hang, help me fill the door!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

clean sheet day

I haven't written about clean sheet day in awhile and as I was making the bed I thought of Murphy's law applied to cats and bedding.

When a cat pukes on the bed and the owner finally puts a duvet over said bed to protect the sheets from cat puke, the cat will never puke on the bed again.

However, within minutes of removing the protective duvet, the cat will promptly jump onto the bed and puke.

Oh well.

Clean sheet day is still one of those things that makes me think I should be related to Martha Stewart.

It's also clean-the-house day. It now smells lemon-y fresh. That will soon be replaced with Christmas smells.

Clean things are nice.