Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recipe: Italian Chicken

Time flies, and now we're in the month of October!  That being said, it's time for a new Recipe of the Month, but I plan to archive all old recipes.  Here's the September recipe for your eating pleasure:

Boneless Chicken Breasts (as many as needed)
Seasonings of Your Choice (recommends Accent, pepper, Italian seasoning)
Wish Bone Italian Dressing

Level of Difficulty: 1
(on scale of 1-5; 5 being "set aside an entire day") 

Italian Chicken
1. Clean & wash boneless chicken (I cut my chicken breasts into smaller pieces, usually cut each breast into 2 pieces)

2. Lightly(!!) season chicken (accent, little pepper, Italian seasoning is what I use)

3. Place chicken in casserole dish & SMOTHER in Wish Bone Italian dressing

4. Marinate at least 24 hours (flip chicken after about 12 hours)

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

6. Place the same marinating dish in the oven (covered w/ Reynolds aluminum foil) and allow to cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes. [the key is to keep the chicken soaked in the marinating sauce! SO GOOD!]

7. After 1 hour, flip chicken and pour a little more of the Italian dressing over the meat. Re-cover and finish baking remaining 10 minutes.

8. Eat up! The remaining juice is yummy over rice and/or veggies!


Don't forget to try out the October recipe: bean soup!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chuck E. Cheese's

Can you keep a secret?  Troy and I really enjoy going to Chuck E. Cheese's every now and then for pizza and games!  In fact, we decided to pay our good friend Chuck E. a visit last night!  Much to our surprise, one of our favorite games was GONE!! The adult air hockey was nowhere to be seen, but did that stop us? Of course not!!  We ordered our pizza and soda and played our other usual game--competition basketball--and then we invaded the children's air hockey!

Now, I must say that I was pretty sad to see our air hockey game go, but I was even more disturbed by a new edition to Chuck E. Cheese's: STREET HOOPS!  What a waste!! We already have basket ball!

But you see, street hoops is not your average basketball game.  Oh no!  When you insert your Chuck E. coin you immediately hear LOUD "street music", the balls are black, street hoops is written in graffiti on the game, and the net is made of chains!  Umm....Chuck E. Cheese, please bring back the adult air hockey and get rid of the superfluous "Street Hoops" that scares the little children with that loud ruckus! (also street hoops stole one of our coins...not sure if that is part of the "streetness" of the game or not!) LOL!!

Another new game was the football throw (which I was NOT good at).  Here's Troy playing.

After winning one and losing two games of basketball, I had to redeem myself on the air hockey game!!  Which I did!! :-)  Go Home team!!

Somewhere in between all the funnings was delicious pizza!! We are big fans of Chuck E. Cheese's pizza! (Although, shout out to Brixx Pizza which is our FAVORITE pizza place in Greenville!) YUM!!

So, never think you're too old for play time!! Although we were the only adults in the place without children (we almost always are!), we sure did have a good time!  And we always give our tickets to a child on our way out! So everyone wins!! ::smile!::

And if anyone knows Mr. Chuck E. Cheese personally, see what you can do about getting that adult air hockey back at the Greenville location! 

Enjoying life like I only have one to live,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Do You Want to Appear Rich? Or Do You Want to Be Rich?

This article came into my Google reader today and I just had to share it!  Please read and leave your thoughts/comments!  I may do a follow up later!  The article can be found at The Simple Dollar, a financial blog, but I've also pasted it below!

"Do You Want to Appear Rich? Or Do You Want to Be Rich?"

Unless your last name is Rockefeller or Vanderbilt or Gates or Ellison or Buffett, you probably can’t be both.

Many, many people choose to appear rich. This usually means buying a house you can’t really afford, cars you can’t really afford, and all sorts of electronic devices and jewelry and other items that you can’t really afford. Outwardly, you appear to have lots of money, but you’re actually sinking in a giant pile of debt, barely able to keep your head above water.

In this case, the appearance of affluence doesn’t equal financial independence. Instead, it equals a huge amount of financial dependence.

People in such situations depend on their employer for steady employment. They depend on their continued good health. They depend on minimizing major unexpected events – a transmission failure can be devastating. They depend on a reasonably strong credit rating while they juggle all of the debt.

That’s far from financial independence. But from the outside, it does look good.  These are the people who have a nice house and nice cars but seem not to have high paying careers. Do they have it all? Maybe at a glance, but the stress is intense. They’re constantly walking a high wire. If someone loses a job or the car’s transmission fails or a child gets devastatingly sick, the whole thing falls apart. And it’s scary. Most of the time, people who appear rich do all they can to pretend such things can’t possibly happen to them, but late at night, they know such things certainly can happen to them – and they worry. A lot.

A big part of the focus tends to be short term happiness and impressing other people – but long term happiness and enjoying yourself takes a big back seat. Fake it until you make it? Only if you’re bringing something more to the table – and that “something more” comes through without lots of superficial elements to impress others.  Trust me, I’ve been there. It can be fun in the short term, but over the long haul, you realize how many opportunities in life you’re missing.

On the other hand, one can choose to be rich. From my perspective, being rich means being as financially independent as possible – almost no life events can impact your situation – and being surrounded by the things you care the most about. Yes, this has one disadvantage over appearing rich: you don’t get lots of shiny things whenever you want them. But it comes with tons of additional advantages.  You’re not tied to your job for purposes of compensation. If you hate your job, quit and find something you don’t hate. The money isn’t the constraint.  You’re not buried in bills. Each month, you don’t have to pay much at all out in required bills.  You don’t have tons of different things that need constant care and maintenance. You’re not cleaning a 6,000 square foot house. You’re not caring for five different cars. You’re not keeping up an immaculately landscaped yard. Sure, if you’re passionate about one of these, you can chase it – but if you don’t care, there’s no need to have them or maintain them at all. You don’t have “friends” that constantly judge you based on the stuff you have. You don’t worry about having enough money when you retire.

In the end, it comes back to one simple question: do you want to appear rich, or do you want to be rich?

Hope you enjoyed the article,

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Randomness Continues...

My visit to the dentist last week resulted in a lovely surprise--a new toothbrush find!! I think the only good thing about going to get your teeth cleaned is the free baggie you get afterwards (with the toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, & mouth wash)!!  Anywho, the extra soft Colgate 360 toothbrush is pretty great!  It has this thingamabobber on the back that brushes your cheek while you brush your teeth (lil' weird at first, but then it's pretty cool!).  I've named my toothbrush Susie and she's been doing a fine job!  I'd definitely give it 2 thumbs up.

So, next time you're in the toothbrush aisle, consider giving Susie's family a try! And let me know if you like it!  

Saying cheese,

**And don't forget to purchase a new toothbrush every 3 months!**

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Young America, We May Have A Problem...

As most of you know, this afternoon raised much discussion in law school classrooms, dorm rooms, and corporate offices across America!  Why, you ask?  Because for approximately two hours today, Gchat was down!  For many of us,  a large red line appeared above our Inbox alerting us that our contacts had temporarily been "lost."  This was the first sign.  Next, our Gchat was disabled and the horrifying gray dot next to our name sparked controversy all across America!  Somewhat confused, we managed to turn to blackberry chat, Google Talk on blackberry, or some other internet service (I'm not on facebook or twitter so I was really out of the loop today!)!  But, that wasn't enough.  What would we do without Gchat?  Would we have homework? actually work on our jobs?! AGH!!!

To further prove the severity of the situation, stepped on the scene to verify that, "Yes Folks, GChat is indeed down!"  (Who knew Gchat/Gmail was that big!!)  Certainly, many of us initially thought, "Maybe it's just my Gchat"  But no, when we checked with our blackberry chat friends or facebook friends, we realized it's ALL OVER!!

This isn't the first time this has happened, but this is the first time that I've seen CNN actually include the madness in it's list of "Hot Topics" articles!  For me, that was a wake up call! Young America, We May Have A Problem!  Why are we so addicted to this screen?!

I didn't think I was that into instant messaging type programs since I'm not a MySpacer (MySpace still exists right?), facebooker or twitterer (I may have made that word up), but when Gchat is down, I pause for a moment to think..."What am I going to do?" LOL!!  This, my friends, is a problem! 

What's the solution? The cure? Who knows--recklessly abandon our daily outlet to our friends both near and far? Nah!! LOL!! Too extreme.  But perhaps more thoughtful reflection on how many ways we have to connect with people and for people to connect with us.  Can you cut down? 

I'm not sure what to do, but I do know that seeing the article on CNN today was enough to make me think...does Gchat having difficulties really deserve to share headline space with "4 police officers shot in New Jersey raid" or "G-20 leaders meet to bolster global economy"? 

What do you think?

Wondering what life would be like without a blackberry, Gchat, or this fun blog,

Can't Eat Just One...

Nope, I'm not talking about Lays Potato Chips! I'm talking about one of the unhealthiest (but most DELICIOUS!) food items around--Krispy Kreme Donuts!! Had a craving for them last night before church so Troy stopped by and brought us a dozen home last night...

...Here's a picture of the box this morning after I packed a few for work today.  There must be some secret crack in these KK donuts because you CANNOT eat just one! Especially when they're "Hot Nows" or after placing them in the microwave for exactly 10 seconds. 

Check out this website on the "Five Worst Foods You Can Eat"  Don't be surprised at what's listed as #1!

Enjoying a donut break while I'm young,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Proof Is In The...Prayer!

 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."  
Philippians 4:6 

Without question, the last six months of my life have taught me the POWER of prayer and the dire necessity of having a consistent and ever-improving prayer life.  Not only have almost all of the books that I've read recently emphasized how prayer has transformed the authors' relationships with others as well as the Lord Jesus Christ, but my pastor's vision for his flock, my personal reading of God's Word, my meaningful conversations with my husband, and the every day going on's of life, have worked together to make it evident that without a prayer life, it is impossible to grow/mature spiritually or make it peacefully from day to day.

While there are numerous scriptures given to us by the Apostles that remind and teach us that prayer is vital (the instruction to "pray without ceasing" seems pretty clear!),  Jesus Christ Himself was, of course, our perfect example.  The Gospels relay countless times when Jesus prayed in order to maintain His strength and relationship with the Father (Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18; Luke 11:1; Luke 22:41; Matthew 26:36; Mark 6:46; Mark 14:32, Luke 9:28; John 17:1-5).  Likewise, I've found that prayer not only builds my confidence in Christ, it also betters my relationship with Him and reassures me that I serve a prayer-answering Savior who not only listens to my cries, but also responds!! Hallelujah! 

Prayer is our time to sit and talk with our best friend and first love.  Just imagine how great it is to have quality alone time with your spouse where the two of you enjoy each other's company.  We cherish that time because it is essential to our relationship.  Similarly, our alone time with Jesus Christ is vital to having a relationship with Him.  And in all honesty,   time spent with any human being pales in comparison to time spent one-on-one with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  It's unlike any other time!  Everyone and everything else is set aside during this sacred time to offer praise, whisper words of prayer, cry out, or simply shed a tear in communication with the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:6).

Elizabeth George, author of A Woman After God's Own Heart, suggests that women create and keep a prayer journal that lists people who are in need of prayer and/or situations that need prayer.  Initially, I thought that the idea of a prayer journal was a bit unnecessary, but the more that I've developed a life of prayer, the more I realize--there is A LOT to pray about(!!) so perhaps a journal would be helpful to remember every thing/situation/person that crosses my mind to lift up in prayer.

Perhaps two of the most important prayers that have proven to be refreshing and fruitful in my life have been (1) the prayer that I set aside to pray strictly for my husband and (2) prayer for those who I find it "challenging" to like/coexist with.  

Prayer for Your Husband 
I've found that setting aside a time to pray solely for your husband (especially(!!!!) if your husband is a deacon, preacher, pastor, or leader in your local place of worship) is perhaps one of the most productive things a wife can do.  It builds your confidence in your husband and it allows you to trust Jesus and your husband even more.  [or at least, I've found this to be true]  Moreover, praying for your husband really makes it easier to love and respect him in the role that he fulfills in your life.  I'm in an infancy stage with this set-aside prayer, but I truly recommend to any wife who isn't already, set aside a time each week where you lay before the Lord and pray solely for the many facets of your husband's life and responsibilities.  It adds a new level of beauty to the marriage!!  

Praying for "You Know Who" (Matthew 5:44; Mark 11:25) 
My oh my how I've discovered (am discovering) that praying for people who may not be the easiest to appreciate or get along with is (1) not as easy as you'd think but (2) SO helpful in getting to the place where you can honestly love them!!   Initially, I generically mentioned their names in prayer--"Lord, please bless X.  Help me to love X."  That was not an easy first step, I must admit.  Now, however, I'm finding it easier to pray for those individuals in more than just a sentence or two.  I find myself praying for all the aspects of their lives and when I arise from prayer, I have a new found love for X and a confidence that God will help ME in being more like Him in loving X.  For truly, the prayer for X is also about the Lord helping me because clearly I am not walking wholeheartedly in His Word if I am not loving X as I do others (Matthew 5:44-48).  Man, it's been a tough pill, but I see that it works! [side note: it's also humbling because Jesus shows me how He continues to love me despite my shortcomings, so why can't I do the same for others (Galatians 6:3)]

There are so many other prayers that we pray--for healing (James 5:15-16), our natural leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2), our spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Hebrews 13:18), peace in Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6), salvation/deliverance for our loved ones, for wisdom and understanding, and SO many more--but I wanted to briefly mention how those two prayers in particular have been a blessing to my life and continue to help me to develop my relationship with Jesus Christ.  Truly God has shown Himself as REAL through my prayer life.  So I say, forget the pudding, the proof is in the prayer!!

"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer."   
Romans 12:12

Sitting in a seat of fervent prayer,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Is It Just Me?

What's the Big Difference?

Lately, I've taken a liking to the newer Honda CR-V (the fact that I know the name of a car should be very impressive. I have little to no knowledge about cars!).  I think they're really cute, sleek, un-soccer mommish, yet roomy.  I also think that they look very similar to the BMW SUV that I see all around town.  When I shared this resemblance with Troy, however, he laughed at me as if I had just compared a pair of Manolo Blahnik's with red pumps from pick-n-pay.  

But, I'm still pretty convinced that the Honda CR-V looks similar to the BMW X5 (clearly, I had to look up the name of the BMW!)  Also, the pictures don't do it justice!  Today on my way home from work I saw a sky blue BMW X5 and a sky blue Honda CR-V and that's when I decided to stand more confident in my analysis.  What do you think? ::smiles!::

Can you tell which is which?

Wondering if it's just me,

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Vote Is For Saute!

So tonight I made the same veggies as yesterday but instead of sauteing in the skillet, I seasoned them and rolled then in a little pinch of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and then placed them in a glass casserole dish and baked them (covered) at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  They were yummy, BUT I must say I prefer the saute from yesterday.  If you like your veggies soft, then you'll probably like baking/roasting them better.  Anywho, it's been a delicious experiment!  I am a new fan of red and yellow peppers--so delicious!

 **close up**  Can you see how soft it is?
Verdict: Baked is B+; Saute A!

Pleasantly stuffed,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Do YOU Do It?

This past week I've been asking around trying to figure out how to make veggies "like they do in the restaurants."  You know, crispy but cooked and not oily.  Most people that I asked suggested either sauteing or baking/roasting the veggies so I've decided to try both. 

Today was take #1 (saute) and I plan to try the second recipe tomorrow for dinner.  So here's the who, what, when, & how of it all:

Who: Me. 

Squash, Zucchini, Yellow & Red Peppers 
(fresh from the local farmer's market!)

When: Take #1 Sunday after Church

1. Cut, washed, & seasoned the veggies 

    2. Put a little drop of extra virgin oil in skillet
    3. Added the peppers first (60 seconds)

      4. Added the squash & zucchini

        5. And tossed around for about 5 minutes 

          We were very pleased with the results!! They were not 100% the restaurant quality I wanted as far as non-oily, there was a little evidence that they'd been cooked in oil, BUT the peppers were SO good!!

          So, here's my question to you: how do YOU cook similar veggies?  I'm open and willing to try different things!  


          Thursday, September 10, 2009

          "Can't Beat That With A Stick" Part II

          So, I went to ATL and after approximately sixty minutes of walking around and various trips to the dressing room (I was not as efficient as I should have been!), I am now the proud owner of three of the ruffle shirts and two "cowl neck sweaters".

          As suspected, the ruffle shirts were pretty much out in my size, but they happened to have some in back!  I asked the lady at checkout if they had the two colors I wanted in back and she went to check but then I realized--"Oh no! I didn't ask about the turquoise color!" I felt too bad to ask her to go back again so my plan is to either (1) forget about that color or (2) go back tomorrow! (for those of you sitting in suspense, #2 is the most likely option--we're talking 99.9% chance). 


          If you can't tell, I've really been into ruffles & belts lately, so pardon the uniformity of the pictures! I like to test just about everything with a belt these days!

          Enjoying the fruit of my labor,

          "Can't Beat That With A Stick" Part I

          If you've ever been shopping with me, you know that if I ever (1) pick up an item, (2) look at the price and (3) say these six magical words--"Can't beat that with a stick!"--then that item in my hand is surely coming home with me!! Some deals, you just can't pass up!  Well, I found out about one such deal today! The cutest little ruffle shirt. I purchased this shirt in wineberry about a month ago and for a "limited time only" these shirts are on sale at your local Ann Taylor Loft for the low low price of .... (drum roll please) $14.50!!  
          So, where can you find this blogger at approximately 5:20 p.m. today?  At my local ATL buying every color that is left in my size!!  These shirts are so comfy, versatile (i.e. you can make them dressy or casual, for work or for play, I've even done it with a belt below the bustline), and let's not forget the low price!  So, I thought it'd be crazy and unfair not to share the fabulosity!!  If you go out and buy one, let me know!!

          Looking forward to today's shopportunity,

          Tuesday, September 8, 2009

          First Came Love....

          We all know the song--"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes (insert girl's name) with the baby carriage!"  First things first, NO, I am not at the baby carriage phase.   However, when I look back over my life, I've come to realize that many of my best moments happened because "first came love."  So, welcome to the randomness/fun & adventure which is me/my life!  We'll see how the blog world works out for me.  But thanks for joining me for the ride! Here I go....