Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God is good.

You know those times in your life when you are not sure when something is going to work out. You know God is going to take care of it, but you are still struggling with it all. Well, I have been struggling with not having a church home. We will have lived in Raleigh for a year come the end of this month. About a month or so ago, Chris and I had a long talk about what our next step was going to be. We were both emotionally exhausted from church hunting. We were just having a hard time not comparing every church to our last church (which we still miss dearly).

We decided that we just needed to commit to one of our favorite churches and dive in. We narrowed it down to two churches, ultimatley choosing the church that is closest to our house and the one our neighbors attend. We are now regularly attending The Summit. We are positive that the Summit is where God wants us to be. We weren't positive when we first committed to it, but after JUST a few weeks it became clear. God is so good. I am already singing in the choir which is so fun! My neighbor friend and I are leading the worship this week for Route56 (5th and 6th grade) during VBS. We are having a blast! As soon as Chris' schedule will allow, he is also planning on getting plugged in (hopefully helping with the youth in some way). God is doing great things at the Summit and I can't wait to be a very small part of it! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

Monday, June 8, 2009

This is what's for dinner (June 8)

Chicken and Potatoes in the Oven (Rachael Ray)

1 package chicken pieces, bone in, skin on or 1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 breast pieces cut in half)
1 1/3 pounds small yukon gold potatoes, quartered
8 to 10 cloves garlic, crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed, roughly chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) for drizzling
Salt and pepper
A healthy drizzle of the liquid or juice found in a jar of hot peppers (use any kind of peppers such as hot yellow pepper rings, hot cherry peppers or whatever you keep in your fridge

Preheat oven 425°F.
In a roasting pan, combine the chicken, potatoes, garlic and rosemary. Drizzle liberally with EVOO and season with some salt and pepper. Toss the chicken pieces to coat them thoroughly then place them in an even layer on the bottom of the roasting pan.
Transfer to the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with a little hot pepper juice and top with a couple of the yellow hot pepper rings.

I added some asparagus to the pan and rolled it around in the evoo so the kids would have a veggie. I also made gravy out of the pan juices to pour over top. It is a great recipe and super easy!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

This is what's for dinner tonight (June 5)

Rachael Ray Chicken or Turkey Spanakopita Burgers

3 cloves garlic, 2 chopped, 1 crushed
1 red onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
1 box frozen spinach (10 ounces), defrosted
2 teaspoons dried oregano, lightly crushed in the palm, divided
6 oz feta crumbles
1 1/3 pounds ground chicken or ground turkey breast (the average size of package)
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
1/3 English (seedless) cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, plus 1 small, 2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled, trimmed and chopped
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper
4 crusty rolls, split

2 roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a generous handful)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives (about 10-12 olives)
Hot pepper rings or pepperoncini (optional)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. To one side, add a little EVOO and a tablespoon of butter. When butter melts, add the chopped garlic and chopped red onion and cook for five minutes. Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl to cool. Return pan to heat.

Wring the defrosted spinach dry buy twisting it in a clean kitchen towel over your sink. Separate the spinach as you add it to the bowl with cool onions and garlic and season with one teaspoon of oregano. Add in feta crumbles, then chicken or turkey, grill seasoning and a drizzle of EVOO. Mix and form into four patties, 1-inch thick. Raise heat on pan to medium-high. Add patties and cook six minutes on each side.

Season the sliced cucumbers and tomatoes with salt and pepper. Toast rolls, if you prefer.

Place red peppers, parsley and olives in food processor, season with salt and pepper and process until a paste forms. Place cooked burgers on roll bottoms. Top the burgers with sliced cucumber, tomato, reserved red onions, and hot peppers, if using. Slather roll tops with red pepper and olive paste and serve with chips of choice.

These burgers are amazing!! I served them with some fries (frozen store bought) topped with EVOO, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, parmesan, and asiago cheese.

Chance to win $200 to Bubbles and Bows Boutique

Here is another chance to win! You can win $200 to Bubbles and Bows Boutique. You have the chance to get a lot of entries in the drawing. Go to the blog to read more about it. Happy one year anniversary, Bubbles and Bows!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

This is what's for dinner (June 4)

Alfredo Pesto Ravioli and Stuffed Mushrooms

So, my husband and I love the Alfredo Pesto Ravioli from Maggiano's. I thought I would try to recreate it. I had a surprise date night. I told him that I ordered it from Maggiano's and he totally bought it. I don't know if it is that good but give it is yummy.

Pesto Sauce (you can always buy store bought but i don't think the sauce will turn out as good)

In a food processor, blend:
1 cup fresh basil (or you can use cilantro...i prefer basil)
1/2 cup pecans (or you can use pine nuts)
5 garlic cloves
1/2 cup asiago cheese (or parmesan)
coarse ground black pepper (about one tsp)

Gradually add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup evoo until desired consistency (thick paste). You will want to taste and add salt and pepper as you like. Then, set pesto aside.

Alfredo Sauce:
2 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tbsps)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice or a couple tsp. of concentrated lemon juice
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup asiago
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. white pepper
salt to taste

In a large skillet, stir together cream and lemon juice. Add the butter and turn on medium heat and stir until the butter is melted. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on low heat until the sauce thickens. Stir constantly so it does not burn the bottom. Once it has thickened, add the pesto and heat through.

I used store bought ravioli from the refrigerated section. I bought the Buitoni mushroom kind. Next time, I am going to try to make my own but one step at a time : ).

Stuffed Mushrooms

14oz. of large stuffing mushrooms
about a cup of bread crumbs
quarter of an onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tp 1 cup cheese (i used a combo of parmesan and asiago because that is what i had)
1-2 tbsp of italian seasoning or fresh herbs of your choice
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, cook the onions and garlic in evoo until soft. In a bowl, combine onions and garlic along with the remaining ingredients (except mushrooms). You might need to add a couple more tbsp. of evoo to bind the mixture. Pop the stems off of the mushrooms. Press the a couple of tbsp of the mixture into the mushroom. Then, drench each mushroom in evoo. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and then at 400 for 5 minutes. Move them to the bottom rack and turn off the oven for another 10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bitty Buns AIO cloth diaper giveaway!!

Ok, so I know it is crazy! I haven't blogged in three months and now I have posted three times in one day. Haha! There is a giveaway that I thought some of you would want to know about. The giveaway is for three AIO cloth diapers from Bubble and Bows Boutique. The girl writing the blog entry is a friend of mine. There is an opportunity to get more than one entry in the drawing. Good luck!

This is what's for dinner (June 3)

Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken


one whole chicken (3-5lbs)
one lemon (halved)
half of a head of garlic
lemon pepper seasoning (a couple of tbsps)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of butter (melted)
half an onion (cut into pieces)
sprigs of fresh herbs (i used 4 sprigs rosemary, 15 sprigs of thyme and four basil leaves)
a few tbsps of evoo (olive oil)

Preheat oven to 400. Remove giblets and rinse the inside of the cavity. Place breast side up in roasting pan or on baking sheet. Inside the cavity, stuff with the lemon halves, onion, 2 sprigs of rosemary and the rest of the other herbs, and half garlic head. It is okay if they are sticking out of the cavity a little. Loosen the skin from the top of the chicken breast (careful not break it) and stuff remaining two sprigs of rosemary under the skin. Mix the melted butter and lemon pepper seasoning together. Then, rub the whole chicken with it or use a brush and brush it on. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can use whatever herbs you like. These are just my favorite. Cook until internal temp is 165 or for about an hour to an hour and a half.

If you like garlic, cut a few garlic heads in half and drizzle with evoo. Set them on the roasting pan with the chicken. They will roast and you can use the roasted garlic as a spread for your dinner bread.

The juices from this make wonderful tasting gravy. Just melt a couple of tbsp. of butter and add a couple of tbsp of flour. Let it sit for a minute or two. Then, whisk in the juices from the chicken and about a cup or so of chicken broth until thick.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Ahhh...it has been a while. Well, so far, this summer has been busy and wonderful!! We just spent a week in Greenville, SC at my parents house. Chris came for 4 of the days so we could have the boy's birthday party. Bryce turned three and Kael had his first birthday. I can't beleive it! Their party was amazing! It was just our family, my parents, and my sister's family. It was perfect!

From my parents, we drove to Isle of Palms to spend a week at the beach with our friends, Barry and Mendi. Mendi's wonderful family invited us to stay with them for the week. It was so fun! Bryce is still talking about his Mimi and Bekosh. I love that he knows they are an important part of our family. I am so glad that we got that time with them. I miss them so much it is ridiculous!

This weekend we are going to a friend's wedding in Asheville. It will be nice to see old friends. I am driving to Johnson City on Sunday to go to my old church and see some friends while Chris stays at his grandma's to work. I am VERY excited about seeing my friends!!

Then, I have two more trips planned for the summer. In June, I am going back to JC to spend a week with my friend, Faith and to see some other friends. It is going to be a fun week! In July, Chris and I (and da boys) are taking our first family vacation to Colorado. WOOHOO!! We are going to see our friends, Barry and Mendi. We can't wait!! We are excited about seeing them and have some fun things planned!!

Bryce starts preschool in August. He is going on Tues. and Thurs. from nine to one. He is very excited! He talks about school all the time! Kael still isn't walking. However, he is cruising everywhere and is very close to standing on his own. We go back to the doctor next week to get his weight checked. He dropped from 75% to 25% at his 9 month check up and from 25% to 13% at his one year check up. So, we take him next Thursday to see if anything has changed and then we go from there. I am praying that it is nothing. Chris is busy working. He has one more month of his long hour rotation and then he will be a second year resident. WOOHOO!!!

Well, that is all for now. I just thought I would give an update on what has been going on and our plans for the summer!
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