Monday, December 3, 2012

Operation World and Uganda.

The call to pray is a serious one if a believer recognizes the impact their words and hearts cry has on the Father. Today is day two of two in Operation World's call to pray for the nation of Uganda. It has special meaning for me, because my husband and I sponsor a little girl in Uganda named Silivia and we think about her constantly. I pray for her health, safety, community, family, education, and innocence, since many within her nation have become victims of the Lord's Resistance Army, a guerrilla terrorist organization which preys on children and turns them into child soldiers.

She is safe, but my heart breaks for those in her country who have been traumatized by war. It drives me to my knees to pray and my heart has turned towards Uganda.

http://www.thevintagepearl.com/products/aheartforAfrica_p116

If you haven't done so or thought about it, there are millions of children around the world who would love to be sponsored and have their most basic needs met. Wonderful organizations like World Vision and Compassion International out there have children, like Silivia, for you to sponsor on a monthly basis.  As they grow, you grow as a sponsor, and personally, it has changed the way I view responsibility and giving back to the world around me. When we get her letters in the mail, we proudly hang them up on our refrigerator like any parent or family member would do for special children in their life.  Take a moment to not only pray for the individual nations of the world, but also to think about ways you can give of your time and resources to transform entire communities and nations around the world.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Choose

 
What are some of the things you choose to do daily?  

It is easy to look at a quotation like this and say I am committed to think and believe this way, but in reality I like many others do the complete opposite.  The key is to be mindful when living life so that each moment and breath encapsulates this reality.  True adventure of the soul expresses worship through wholehearted devotion to God rather than a solo act of lip service which acknowledges Him as Lord but fails to follow through with action.  


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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Canning = serenity

I admit, I have turned into a domesticated diva that purchases 40 plus pounds of sweet potatoes just because they are a good price. My solution: can them in such a way so that I can have have mashed sweet potatoes or soup whenever I feel like it. The only problem right now is I have all these potatoes and zero time to make it happen.

Guess I will have to rearrange my calendar...

Do you can?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stuffed Shells...be still my sleep deprived heart!



With the exception of a three hour nap from 5 am to 8 am this morning, I have been up for almost 1.5 days working on a grant for my internship site.  It has been a project of mammoth proportions and I was relieved to finally upload, submit, and place into the charitable pot for consideration.   Having said all that...I am loopy tired and am fighting the urge to take a very loooooong nap.  My husband has been staying out of my way while I finished the project, so I felt the need to cook up some food that appeased both of our palates.

He wanted shells in cheese....I wanted a nap.  Neither one of us felt like going to the commissary, so we compromised and went ten minutes before they closed.  Quickly grabbed the fixin's for this fabulously delish dish, we did the happy dance when we found a great deal on extra large monster lo carb energy drinks.

Originally we originally found the recipe on another website, but made a few tweaks to personalize it and make it our own.

It is super easy to do, and I even have a trick for keeping your cheese stuffin' clean.

Here's what you have to do:

Stuffed Shells with Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz)
1 large beaten egg
Dash salt
2 c grated buffalo mozzarella cheese separated...none of that shredded bagged stuff!
1/4 c green onions finely minced.
extra virgin olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of a saute pan...I am liberal with it!
1/2 TB red pepper
Salt, just under a teaspoon
Half a bulb of garlic,smashed, crushed, and then finely chopped
42 oz crushed red tomatoes
1 sm can tomato paste
1 package of sweet Italian sausage links cut up in small bits
jumbo pasta shells

To Prepare:

1)  Heat up water to boil the shells in and make sure you add a little olive oil and salt to the water to infuse them with flavor.
2)  Being by sauteing the sauce links over medium until they are cooked through.  Drain grease.
3)  Take a saucepan and throw in the oil, pepper flakes, salt, and crushed garlic.  Cook over medium high heat until the flavor of the garlic starts to open up and fill the air with its fragrance.
4)  Immediately add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and cooked sweet italian sausage.  
5)  Simmer until flavors are really incorporated.
6)  Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
7)  Mix ricotta, beaten egg, chives, salt, and half of the mozzarella cheese together.
8)  Cook shells until they are al dente.  IMMEDIATELY drain them and run cold water over them until they have cooled down enough to dry out.
9)  While waiting for pasta to dry, place the cheese into one of these babies.


Tovolo Cupcake Pen
10)  Your tomato sauce should be thick by now.  Ladle the lasagna pan bottom.
11)  Using your Cupcake Pen, begin piping cheese mixture into shells.  Lay neatly into the lpan.  (The cool thing about using the cupcake pen, is you will find it much easier to use then a spoon which makes things VERY messsy.
12)  Ladle remainder of sauce over shells and then sprinkle remaining mozzarella over top.  
13)  Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake until cheese starts to turn a nice shade of brown.

Here is where it gets sticky.  

14)  Remove pan from oven and don't touch it. I mean it. Don't stick a fork in to taste test.   Don't pick cheese off of it. Keep your husband out of the kitchen, he will be tempted.  Trust me, I know this to be a proven fact.  Let the pan sit for 30 minutes until everything hot has had time to settle down a bit.

When all is good and settled...DIG IN!  


Here's to a well fed husband and a peaceful night.  Cheers!





;




Monday, July 16, 2012

Mental Stability

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about life and she challenged me to pick up my computer again and start blogging. I have to admit, I really do miss pouring my heart out with every keystroke and life has been nothing short of challenging for me over these past few months. I am not the same person I was even three years ago and I wish I could put to rest my past and all of my faults/mistakes from it. Why does human nature dictate that what we were in the past be what people decide is how we should be in the present? Why can't we accept the fact that people grow up, mature and move on with their lives? I used to party and drink alot. To the detriment of those around me, I was so insecure about love and life that I ended up hitting rock bottom. I lost my friends, got laid off from my job, and was absolutely miserable. Somebody called me psycho a few years ago and looking back, I would have to agree with their opinion of me. I was not mentally healthy. Right now I am finishing up my Master's Degree in Professional Counseling. I look at where I was then versus now, and I am in such a better place mentally. My point in all of this is to merely state that one has to be healthy in order to be stable in life. I feel much calmer and much more content with my situation and my status in life. It doesn't take much to make me happy and I have a heart for those who do not know the peace of God like I have come to experience. I have surrendered all of myself to the grace of God. Without Yahweh I am nothing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vol Ball Caramel Orangesicle Cookies

I am ready for football season, mainly watching the University of Tennessee play. There is something so incredible about sitting in the stands amongst a see of bright TN orange, singing Rocky Top, and watching the Pride of the Southland Marching Band form a giant "T" for the football team to run through. I tear up every single time this magical combination happens right before kickoff, because it is as that moment I am one with the crowd.


Football season cannot happen soon enough. I am so ready for it that I even changed my ringtone on my cellphone to Rocky Top and will probably annoy all the Georgia Bulldawg fans around me. You see I live in the heart of Dawg's territory and wear my orange proudly. I am such a diehard fan, that my entire kitchen is being outfitted in Kitchenaid Orange appliances.


In honor of the upcoming football season, I decided to create my own twist on another chocolate chip cookie. This one I affectionately have dubbed "Vol Ball Caramel Orangesicle Cookies". It has a hint of orange flavor to tease your tongue, are pillowy soft, will rock your world with white chocolate chips, and send you over the edge when you bite into it's caramel center. Oh yes beloved reader, this one is a keeper for sure!

Here is the recipe:

Dry Ingredients: (Sift these ingredients together)
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda

For the sugar base:
1 1/2 sticks of butter melted 1 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1.5 tsp orange extract 2 eggs
1 package of vanilla instant pudding (don't question me, just buy it!)
1 c white chocolate chips
zest of two oranges or one large navel orange
1 c caramel bits

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Beat the butter, sugars, vanilla, and orange extract until creamy.
3) Add in the eggs and mix until smooth.
4) Mix in the pudding.
5) Incorporate dry ingredients into mixture.
6) Using a microplane grater, zest two oranges and add to mix.
7) Next, gently mix in the blessed white chocolate chips and caramel bits.

This is what the mix should look like

8) Take a big chunk of dough roll it into a ball.  

9) Drop them onto greased cookie sheets



11) Bake for a minimum of 17 minutes.
12)  When you pull them out of the oven....RESIST and let them rest.


Fresh out of the oven

check out that gooey caramel center!

Everything is perfect with a tall glass of ice cold milk!


 

ENJOY!  :)



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One Pound Chocolate Chip Cookies



I am on a high protein diet, which has really caused me to reevaluate why on earth I decided to make these monsters. One bite in them, and you will turn into a chocolate zombie. I am not kidding. These babies are the size of my palm and about half an inch thick.



The best part, when you bite into them, they are soft, chewy, and hit you with a chocolate caramel center. Prepare to feast your eyes and loosen your belts a notch.


Directions:

Dry Ingredients (Sift all these ingredients together....BEFORE you add it to the gooey sugar base).
2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For the sugar base:
1 1/2 sticks of butter (give me a break, I live in Savannah and yes, Paula Deen is from here!)
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg plus another egg yolk
1 c chocolate chips
1 c white chocolate chips
20 rolos (yeah, you heard me, and make sure you take off its golden wrapper!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Put on an apron, you will wear flour if you aren't careful!

Melt butter

In my Kitchenaid mixer (I LOVE that thing), beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. 

SLOOOOWLLLY add in the egg and then the yolk until everything looks smooth.

Then, slowly add in the dry ingredients.

When everything looks like doughy heaven, incorporate in all the blessed chocolate chips until your mixer sounds like it is driving on a bumpy road.

Here's where it gets fun! 

Take a big chunk of dough roll it in to a ball and then form a cavity in the center. This is the well where you place two Rolo's and then close up the hole.

If need be, pinch off more dough out of your mix to close the gap. You should have a ball the size of a lime. 

Drop them onto greased cookie sheets and bake them for a minimum of 17 minutes. When you pull them out of the oven....RESIST the temptation to eat one. Trust me. They need to sit for about ten minutes in order to harden slightly enough to handle. Otherwise you will end up with a gooey mess on your hands.

Makes about ten cookies....and if you aren't careful, will add ten pounds too!

 

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