Category Archives: Uncategorized

NO ONE PANIC

I have not fallen off the face of the planet… I just was taking a blogging break.

Because here’s what I’ve learned about blogging. Sometimes, I just don’t want to share everything I do with the world. Right away anyway. Sometimes I just want to process on my own and then share.

And sometimes, I really don’t have that much to share. Or that much that I think is entertaining enough to share.

So I store up stories for a while.

So, no worries to those of you who thought maybe I was sitting around doing nothing for the past few weeks.

I just wasn’t ready to share it with all of you and put a humorous spin on it.

I’ve been cooking, I organized my drawers, I spent time with amazing friends, found a new place to live come May, saw the fam, budgeted some more and discovered a couple of new restaurants.

I also discovered an entirely new way to spell my name:

Oh Jimmy Johns, you're so cray cray.

Oh Jimmy Johns, you’re so cray cray.

Bettsie. I mean, hooked on phonics maybe didn’t work for this person – but hey – no judging here. Bad spellers of the world unite!

I promise to re-join the blogging world this week. With fun stories. And good recipes. And lots of laughs.

Thanks for sticking with me through radial silence. You guys are the best.

 

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A WELL STOCKED KITCHEN…

As a quick follow up to the Cheese Frenchee post, I’d like to just share with all of you a picture of this so-called Cheese Frenchee.

I mean... COME ON!

I mean… COME ON!

And yes, it’s sitting on top of a pile of greasy nasty onion rings. It’s true, after having to think through all of the ingredients, I admit, it’s pretty gross. But really, it tastes delicious and it’s SO worth it.

I also wanted to give you a little teaser of things to come.

There really are 101 Things To do. That's at least 101 blog posts.

There really are 101 Things To do. That’s at least 101 blog posts.

I had a whole lot of amazing birthday presents this year. And this slow cooker cookbook is the one of the best. I looked through it briefly trying to decide what I wanted to do first. And I found six recipes that I had a really hard time trying to narrow down. So there will be plenty of crock pot fun in the near future.

Oh… and this found it’s way into my kitchen this week too..

This. Makes. Blending. Things. So. Easy. And it's so clean. And it's so small. It's PERFECT!

This. Makes. Blending. Things. So. Easy. And it’s so clean. And it’s so small. It’s PERFECT!

Bam.

This slightly charred kitchen  is fully loaded and ready to cook up a storm!

WHITE MAN CAN JUMP

The best part of having a little little brother, is the excuse you have to do the things you used to love when you were a child.

Some may say that’s part of the reason I so love the group I work for too…

So during a quick trip home I stole some family time. And don’t ask me how, but we stumbled upon a conversation about if two people could ride on one bike at a time.

So obviously, we got the bike out. And our helmets. And decided to try.

I needed one last picture together before one of us smashed our face in. Permanent style.

I needed one last picture together before one of us smashed our face in. Permanent style.

And here’s what we discovered.

These two people could NOT ride one bike together. Meh. Props for trying. It was worth every laugh.

On the way back inside (still laughing), Ben causally mentions he can probably jump over me.

Yeah sure Ben. That’s cute. I mean, I know you’ve got long legs, but I’m 5′ 9″. That’s just not possible.

And the next second I felt hands on my shoulder and then BAM Ben was on the ground in front of me.

You’re kidding me right?

Holy. Crap.

So we did it again so that I could have picture proof.

The kid is just plain cool.

The kid is just plain cool.

I’m not making this up. This white kid can jump.

It made me smile… so obviously, I wanted to share with you.

Also, I somehow now have a desire to attempt to jump over things. I haven’t really started anything yet, you know, because I recognize that I’m a klutz…  But be warned, one of these future posts might be the one titled “No Front Teeth.”

Smile.

The Happiest of All Birthdays

I love my birthday. So much. It’s a day you’re showered with love and an excuse to chat with old friends.

Plus… if we’re being honest… sometimes there are gifts. And I really do love gifts.

27 was an amazing and fantastic year.

I fell in love.

Traveled to Austin, Chicago, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Fraser…

Witnessed one my best friends marry the love of her life and enjoyed a few other weddings along the way.

Became an Apple user.

Up and moved my life to a new state.

Strengthened some incredible friendships.

Found some amazing new friends.

And bowled what felt like every other weekend!

I can’t wait to see what 28 brings and if the showering of love yesterday was any indication of how fantastic this next year will be… it’s going to be an amazing year.

Such a lucky lucky girl.

Such a lucky lucky girl.

Knitting Here I Come!

Yarn and letters from a pen pal. What a great mail day.

Yarn and letters from a pen pal. What a great mail day.

So in one day I got an ENTIRE box of yarn… and a note from my pen pal (yup, I have one, how cool am I)!

And that box of yarn has inspired me to re-learn to knit. So I found a beginners class on March 15th.

And I’m going.

And it’s going to be great.

So in April – I’ll start working on all of your scarves for your Christmas presents. Go ahead and let me know what color you’d like now 🙂

A Little Home Upgrade and Paleo Chicken

I have a confession. When I moved, I left all of my tools with the house.

Because what on earth do you do with a saw and a drill in an apartment?

Hang things and cut stuff. That’s the answer.

Luckily for me – Mr. Southern Gentleman has every tool imaginable… and is handy. Man, I knew I liked this guy. So I traded a homemade meal for his handy help around the apartment. Which began my search for a paleo friendly meal – as he’s a clean eater. At the suggestion of a friend – I checked out PaleOMG. What. An. Amazing. Blog. Be warned – she’s a little vulgar – but the girl can cook! And when I stumbled upon this recipe – I knew I had found a winner – especially because I already had all of the ingredients at home. That has never happened to me… in my entire life! I felt so very June Clever.

Delicous. And completely healthy. #winning

Delicious. And completely healthy. #winning

Paleo Sweet Lemon Pepper Chicken

Ingredients:
•1lb chicken tenders/breasts/thighs (I just used two pieces of chicken, you know, because there were two of us)
•1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (I only had half an onion… and it was fine)
•1 apple, thinly sliced (I chopped)
•2 lemons, halved (ahem, lemon juice works too…)
•2 tablespoons raw honey
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•1 teaspoon nutmeg
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon black pepper
•½ teaspoon white pepper (I just have no idea what this is and will research further – until then, extra black pepper was fine!)
•½ teaspoon garlic powder
•½ teaspoon onion powder
•2-3 tablespoons fat, I used olive oil

Instructions
1.Thinly slice your onions and apples and throw them into a fat greased skillet under medium-high heat.
2.Let the apples and onions cook down for a bit until they begin to become translucent. When they do, add ½ lemon (juice), 1 tbsp honey, ½ tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and ¼ tsp white pepper, garlic and onion powder and mix thoroughly to help combine and let caramelize (this really happens, and it’s cool).
3.While the onions and apples cook away, pull out another large skillet (again – who has two skillets?! my one skillet solution: I threw the apple/onion mix into a pan and put it in the oven on warm, cleaned the skillet and then reused it), add some fat and heat up under medium-high heat. While the skillet heats up, salt and pepper your chicken and add them directly to the pan.
4.While the chicken begins to cook, add the rest of your ingredients including the spices, honey, and lemon on top of the chicken.
5.When the sides begin to turn white, flip the chicken over and add any extra honey and/or lemon on top, to taste.
6.Once the chicken has cooked through (the outside might blacken… I choose to call that the honey glaze seal… but um… whoops), layer some caramelized apples and onions on a plate, and top them off with some chicken.

I thought that a little quinoa would be perfect for this meal – so when I threw the apple/onion mix in the pan I also put my quinoa on to boil/cook. And it turned out about perfect! Plus – it tasted delicious! Plus – it was a nice clean meal.

Drilling, stud finding, tool using fun!

Drilling, stud finding, tool using fun!

But the best part? Was after. There was measuring, there was design, there was some laughs and a whole lot of sawdust… but then there was an opening in my cat box! Check that out.

PLUS – we (read he) got my map hanging up in my room. AND he fixed the crooked frame.

But as home projects usually go… now I’ve got the itch to re-spray the side the of the cat box… and all of my bedroom furniture.

Too bad it’s too cold here – so that project will get postponed for a while. Especially since now we know that spraying that inside is just a headache waiting to happen!

But the place is coming together nicely. Just in time for me to move in a few months!

Cooking Challenge – Chicken Parmesan

Having this blog has been a blast – because when someone tries something that they really like – they then forward along the recipe.

I love that. So please keep it up!

This weeks adventure goes to my dad for passing along an easy chicken parmesan recipe from the beloved food network!

Ingredients:

Tomato sauce: (heads up – hypothetically – you COULD buy sauce and use that to save time – just sayin)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (reminder – this will make it spicy, cut it if you hate that)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Chicken:

  • Cooking spray 4 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds total) (see how this says THIN?! lesson learned: if you have thick ones, you can cut them in half… otherwise it’ll take forever to cook your chicken!)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons dry Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Tomato Sauce: Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes (if it’s burning… TURN DOWN THE HEAT, I mean, you’d probably never do that… but just in case…). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the flavors are blended and the sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the basil.

It's gross. And cool. All at the same time.

It’s gross. And cool. All at the same time.

Chicken: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cutlets with the salt (ps. if there’s gross fat on it, feel free to cut off the parts that look gross – that’s allowed). Lightly beat the egg whites in a medium bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan on a sheet of waxed paper. Spread the flour on another sheet of waxed paper. Working with 1 piece of chicken at a time, dip both sides into the flour, shaking off excess. Dip each piece into the egg whites, shaking off excess, and then press both sides into the breading to coat.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (side note: I have ONE skillet. So after making the sauce, I put that on a back burner in a sauce pan, cleaned out my skillet and reused it for the chicken – add ‘extra skillet’ to the list of things I need…). Add the chicken (in batches, if necessary) and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes (per side… and this is important for two reasons 1) you want to make the breading a little crunchier and 2) otherwise you have to cook them in the oven for longer). Transfer the chicken, in 1 layer, to the baking dish. Spoon the sauce over the chicken then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake, covered loosely with a tent of foil, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly, about 12 to 15 minutes.

You guys. It was delicious.

It's so pretty! And I MADE that!

It’s so pretty! And I MADE that!

While I was cooking the chicken, I took my sauce pan, cleaned it out (I know, I know, I need more pans) and cooked the pasta. And this – is what we ended up with! It took about an hour from start to finish – but it makes for the perfect winter evening meal. A whoever said that cooking was quick – lied. But if you’re enjoying it – it’s absolutely worth doing!

Especially when you get to brag about the meal to family and friends the next day!

Uncooked chicken breasts might be the most repulsive thing to work with – ever – but they are delicious and have so much potential! Stay tuned for more chicken recipes!

Happy Love Day

Even looking at these beauties makes my heart happy!

Even looking at these beauties makes my heart happy!

Valentine’s Day.

Singles Awareness Day.

Overpriced greeting card day.

Regardless whatever you call this holiday. Remember that the day is all about LOVE.

Loving your friends for being your constant strength in life.

Loving your family for your upbringing in life.

Loving your job for providing you with an income so that you may buy groceries, pay rent and those darn utility bills.

So regardless of your check box in the SINGLE, MARRIED, ETC list, make sure you spread love today. Send an email to a friend giving them a compliment and reminding them that you love them for everything they do in your life. Call your parents. Smile at strangers.

And heck, if you want those tulips (or that box of chocolates… or both… no judging here) and no one is sending them to you.

Buy them yourself.

Because you’re so worth it. 😉

40 Days of Lent

A giant thank you to my delightful friend Grace for sharing this with me. An alternative to giving something up for Lent… and instead… taking something on.

Lent – in reality – is all about preparing yourself for the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Typically it’s about fasting or giving up a luxury as a penitence. But I think we’ve gotten a little past that and more towards giving things up for your own reasons. I don’t want to eat chocolate because it’s all going straight to my waist – so that’s out for 40 days! Lent. The fast food diet.

No judging here. I’ve done my fair share of that – fast food, caffeine, no sweets, giving this or that up selfishly… but this year – I decided to make it actually more about preparing myself for the coming of Christ and less about my own selfish desires.

So I present to you – the 40 Days of Lent list. This is a great way to do one thing a day that actually gives something away (pride, money, earthly treasures) – but also will make for a great daily reminder of what Lent is actually about.

So if you’re looking for something to ‘give up’ still and you accidentally already had your morning dose of caffeine… might I suggest you give this a whirl?! And let me know if you do – we can encourage each other!

Happy Lent friends!

Day 1: Pray for your enemies.
Day 2: Walk, carpool, bike or bus it.
Day 3: Don’t turn on the car radio.
Day 4: Give $20 to a non-profit of your choosing.
(Sunday)
Day 5: Take 5 minutes of silence at noon.
Day 6: Look out the window until you find something of beauty you had not noticed before.
Day 7: Give 5 items of clothing to Goodwill.
Day 8: No bitching day.
Day 9: Do someone else’s chore.
Day 10: Buy a few $5 fast food gift cards to give to homeless people you encounter.
(Sunday)
Day 11: Call an old friend.
Day 12: Pray the Paper (pray for people and situations in today’s news).
Day 13: Read Psalm 139.
Day 14: Pay a few sincere compliments.
Day 15: Bring your own mug.
Day 16: Write down a goal for your week, month or year. Put it on the fridge.
(Sunday)
Day 17: Forgive someone.
Day 18: Internet diet.
Day 19: Change one light in your house to a compact fluorescent.
Day 20: Check out morning and evening prayer at The Daily Office. http://dailyoffice.org/
Day 21: Ask for help.
Day 22: Tell someone what you are grateful for.
(Sunday)
Day 23: Introduce yourself to a neighbor.
Day 24: Read Psalm 121.
Day 25: Bake a cake.
Day 26: No shopping day.
Day 27: Check on an elderly member of your neighborhood.
Day 28: Light a candle.
(Sunday)
Day 29: Write a thank you note to your favorite teacher.
Day 30: Invest in canvas shopping bags.
Day 31: Check out the blog on givemore.com.
Day 32: Donate art supplies to your local elementary school.
Day 33: Read John 8:1-11.
Day 34: Worship at a friend’s mosque, synagogue or church and look for the beauty.
(Sunday)
Day 35: Confess a secret.
Day 36: No sugar day – where else is there sweetness in your life?
Day 37: Give $20 to a local non-profit.
Day 38: Educate yourself about a saint http://www.catholic.org/saints.
Day 39: Pray for peace.
Day 40: Pray for your enemies (you probably have new ones by now) then decide which of these exercises you’ll keep for good.

**Update: This originally came from redletterchristians. Always want to make sure the source gets proper shout outs!**

The Views

This state is seriously incredible.

I finally made it into a house more “in the mountains” than downtown. Here’s the backyard:

Whoa.

Whoa.

 

And if that isn’t amazing enough. Check out what was hanging out in the front yard.

Stop. The. Madness.

Stop. The. Madness.

There aren’t words.

Totally incredible.

If you’re trying to get closer to God? Move to the mountains. His beauty is everywhere. It’s crazy town!