Sunday, January 30, 2011

Recipes In My Near Future (o:

This week will be very busy as my weeks have been lately. However, I'm hoping to fit in SOME blog time and share with you at least one or two fun new recipes... 

Last week I made homemade Chinese sesame chicken and it was surprisingly amazing. Dan gave it a 5 out of 5 rating! Haha! Here's a lovely picture:


Now you may drool over these recipes that I hope will show up in my week's cooking:

On the plan for Monday is Old Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup. This is a recipe that I found online, but I doubt I will follow it exactly - I never do! Call me stubborn....

2-3 lbs. beef shank or meaty soup bones
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. leaf thyme or marjoram
6 peppercorns or 1/4 tsp. pepper
1 bay leaf
2 whole allspice
2 cubes or tsp. beef bouillon
6 c. water
2 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 med. carrots, sliced
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 c. (1 lb. can) undrained tomatoes
1 1/2 c. (12 oz. can) drained whole corn (or any combination of vegetables)

On the schedule for Wednesday I want to make pork chops... I thought this recipe sounded yummy.

And depending on whether I can get to the store to pick up some tortillas or not, I thought that Enchiladas sounded good for Friday. HERE is that recipe. (o:

Also on Tuesday, the kids in my student teaching placement will attempt to make bread from scratch. We are learning about colonial times and will also learn about the power of yeast! Haha. This recipe sounds like a great one to try... maybe I'll practice tonight!
By the way, if you want to know the REAL way that people in colonial times made bread, check out this website that explains why it took all day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snowy Days



This morning I woke up to the beautiful sound of my alarm clock at 5:30.  I snoozed until 5:45, figuring that would still leave me enough time to get ready and packed up before my trip to school starting at 6:45.  An hour- yes! I could do it. Fixed my hair, washed my face, ate my breakfast, undressed.... and I got a text message. School's closed today??? Wait, did it even snow??!! I look out my window, knowing that the forecast last night said "zero percent chance of precipitation" and it was mostly right... the cars had only a light dusting.

So I put my pajamas back on!

And now I have enough time in my day to play catch up from this weekend, which was amazingly fun, but left me lesson planning like a mad woman last night.

Friday I pulled in to my driveway after school, blinked, and my grandparents had arrived. Yay! We had a very fun evening going to Disney On Ice to watch my cousin skate.  I would post pictures, but I don't think I'm allowed to say online what characters my cousin skates... plus none of them really turned out because its difficult to capture on film the zippy skating talent that we saw. But we had fun! And then gramma and grampa took us out to dinner with my cousin and we had a fabulous time. (o:

Saturday we relaxed, coffee in hand, with gramma and grampa after a much-needed sleeping in.  But after they left to go home, we had to get back down to business: laundry!  I then proceeded to make a grocery shopping list, but the day somehow slipped away from me and I never got the chance to go. (Something I think I'll add to today's list!)

Sunday morning church was great. The assistant pastor had a good message and the bell choir played an amazing piece. We were invited to lunch at our friends' house, which was very enjoyable. Around 3:30 we headed back to church for youth group - it was MINUTE TO WIN IT night!!!! Adults and kids alike had so much fun playing games requiring the most interesting skills (anyone know how to blow a greeting card across a table and have it hang off the edge by one side in less than 3.2 seconds??? Apparently, our youth group is so talented!)  Then it was 6:30 and we rushed home to finish lesson planning and to watch the Jets lose their chance to go to the Superbowl... it was a sad ending to an otherwise amazing day.

Now it's Monday and you're all caught up! Now it's my turn to catch up with myself - today's to do list: everything that I set out to do and didn't from last week!

A recent recipe of mine: pizza rolls! Pretty easy: my mom's pizza dough recipe, divided up and folded into little pizza pockets. This was what held us over before the Disney show. (o:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sit back and relax....

Monday... my last Monday of this semester that I have to myself. (o: Tomorrow brings the beginning of my busy semester. I figured I might as well take today to sit back and relax... for the most part.

I made myself some chocolate chip pecan cookies last night and am now enjoying them with some delicious tea.


Other than sitting back, I have been cleaning my brains out. I have this theory that if I start with a really clean apartment, and make myself stick to a cleaning schedule for this semester, I will be able to keep up with it. 



Same goes for cooking (andddd grocery shopping). I have it all planned out that if I plan out my week's menu on Friday nights, go grocery shopping for only what I need on Saturdays, and proceed to make ahead and freeze as much as possible, I will be able to become super-wife. 

We'll see how this all goes. Anyone have any helpful tips or suggestions?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shipwreck Sunday

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rise
And hope takes flight
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go
You never let go
You never let go
You never let go

When clouds brought rain
And disaster came
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
When waters rose
And hope had flown
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul
Oh, my soul

Oh, my soul
Overflows
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills with hope
Perfect love that never lets go

Oh, what love, oh what love
Oh, what love, oh what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You’re the same
Oh, You never let go


Today's Sunday sermon was about Paul's faith through the storms of his life. He praises God in the middle of the shipwrecks (literally, shipwrecks) of his life. No matter what I'm going through - sunny or stormy - He will never let go of me. I am safe and secure in His arms. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Short Post - Short Day!

Gonna make this a quick post - it seems like all my hours for each day this week have been sucked up by a vacuum. I wish the vacuum would suck up all the stress too, but I'm not so lucky!

I meet my classroom tomorrow- going to be exciting!

Car update: still not working even though we replaced the battery. Any suggestions? Please send them my way!

I leave you with.... my very first shepherds pie. Dan gave it a 5 out of 5 so I guess it turned out pretty good!

Mmm.. cheesy beefy goodness!

I used this recipe... sort of. If you want to know how I doctored it, let me know!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shrimp Jambalaya

January 10th already! Tomorrow I start my first and only class of the semester, and a week later - student teaching!!!

Even though our car is still not working, today was full of blessings and fun. Dan and I maintained decent attitudes as we checked out our car again, I had a great day at work, after that we headed to a few stores and dropped things off at Goodwill (all that stuff I got rid of while organizing!), and then I shopped some more before making dinner.

By the way, my Rite Aid shopping trip rocked once again today. Here's what I got!


Now, I understand that Rite Aid is usually a bit more expensive than other stores. For example, $39.48 is what I would have paid for these 16 items without using any coupons or store rewards. However, I'm a sneaky coupon lady and I managed to get my total down to $3.17!!!! Unfortunately, I still had to pay tax, so I ended up swiping my card for $5.07. 

Ummm... hello!!! $5.07 for 16 items??!!!! That's like paying $0.32 for each item. That's like awesome. And this is why even though Rite Aid is overpriced, I LOVE RITE AID!!! Let me know if you've recently paid under 50 cents for 6 rolls of toilet paper....  Laura, I hope you get a chance to read this! (o:


I also got a chance to use my Wegmans gift card from my boss today - thanks again Faith! TELL me this isn't cute stuff....

A giant, deep stir fry pan (red!!), a stoneware pie plate (red!!), and another bread pan!!  Maybe you don't know this but my future kitchen (when I actually have my own) is going to have green walls (a NICE shade of green), white cabinets, and red and yellow dishes and pots and pans.
Using my new pan, I made a new recipe which I will now share with you! After all this blog IS called "Good Lookin Cookin" for a reason...

Shrimp Jambalaya

Ingredients: 
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • salt, black and red pepper to taste
  • 1 lb salad shrimp


Saute the celery, bell pepper, and garlic for until celery is mostly cooked. I added chopped onion too!

Add basil and rice and saute for 3 more mins.
Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes (undrained!), salt and peppers and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add water as needed to cook the rice. I added ketchup too as I added water so that the tomato taste wasn't lost. (o:
Add the shrimp and cook for 5-10 more minutes until its all nice and semi-thick. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sigh...

This morning was so relaxing and pleasant. I was able to wake up on time, do my devos for a little extra time, eat breakfast with my hubby, watch a sermon online (I wasn't able to go to church today because I have a work thing later), and happily sort through the things on my desk. I decided that I could check out the deals at Rite Aid before I left for my work party, so I took my time and sorted through my coupons, all ready to go...
I cheerily jogged down the stairs, purse in hand, smile on face. I locked the door, dropped something off in the mailbox, got into my car, and... it didn't start. AGAIN!

This problem is not new. It returns time and time again. We get it fixed time and time again. It annoys us and our bank account time and time again. I'm about ready to scream, kick the car, buy a new car, and just ignore it and take a bubble bath all at the same time. I. hate. cars.

And now that I have time to sit down and think about this whole situation as I wait for someone to call back saying they can help me jumpstart my vehicle, I realize that I read a verse this morning that sort-of relates. 
Jeremiah 8:13, "what I have given them will be taken from them." Ok, I know that this sounds a little extreme and non-applicable since the passage is talking about God's punishment for the Israelites. But, it made me think about one word in the verse that I tend to forget about from time to time. "what I have GIVEN" indicates that all I have, all I am, all I know has been given to me. I am so blessed in so many ways.

Riding in my car is not my right. It is a blessing, a privilege to even own a car. God has blessed me and I take it for granted and get overly frustrated when that privilege is for some reason taken away for a split second.

Other verses that I read today and thought worth writing down:

Jer. 8:9 "The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?

Jer. 9:23-24 "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight."

Yesterday we were able to visit Dan's sister and brother-in-law. Some fun pictures:

Dan's new hat that Linnea knitted right before our eyes! Amazing!




Brad and Linnea - just hanging out! We had a great time!
The kitties! So cute - and surprisingly calm by the time we left. (o:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cleaning Blues

Today's To-Do List:

Organize both of the closets
Organize the linen closet
Sort through all my clothes
Do the dishes
Clear my desk
Sort the laundry
Find a place to put my food processor
Throw away/get rid of as much stuff as possible

Time allotted to do all this: 3 hours!

So I have one hour left before we eat lunch and take off to visit Dan's sister and brother in law. We have made the bed, done the dishes, organized the closets, and almost finished sorting through clothes. And we have managed to throw out some stuff! Yay! Check out my now-organized closets:


Dan's clothes on the left, mine on the right.  Hmm... something tells me I need to go shopping!

On to the linen closet!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Walmart is good for something

Thought this would look cute over my stove and could make room for more things in my cabinets!!! New place for spices? Olive oil? Cookbooks?? Yes???

Look HERE to see what I'm even talking about. (o: Yes, you too Dan.



Update: dimensions = wayyy too big for our teeny apartment!

Plans and Ziti

The days go by quickly don't they? It seems like yesterday was Christmas. In fact, it is already January 7th and classes start back up next week. Who was it that said God laughs when we start making plans??? Well, whoever it was is probably right. This week I had it all planned out - I was going to get everything sparkling clean, get in all the workouts I wanted, have time every day to just spend with Dan, and get to bed and wake up on time every day.... Even if God isn't laughing right now, I am! How did I ever think things would go according to that perfect plan? (o:

As it stands, my apartment is messy, we stayed up late last night and woke up late this morning.
Kitchen and Livingroom: not too bad...
Bedroom: terrible because we shoved everything from the livingroom into it last night before guests came over. (o: Anyone want to guess what I'm doing today and tomorrow?

Anyways, we had friends over last night and I made a new recipe. Baked Ziti with Meatballs. De-lish. Here is the recipe: Yummy Recipe Here!

I should have taken a picture of it last night but I didn't have time. Maybe I'll have leftovers today for lunch. (o:

Today's verse is from (you guessed it) Jeremiah. Today it is 7:27, "When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer."  I hate when people don't listen to me - especially when I'm either pouring my heart out to them or giving them instructions. Every good teacher desires to be heard the first time I suppose. But this verse made a connection with me because it made me think - do I really take time to listen to God? Jeremiah is pretty much all about God's people ignoring what He has to say. Am I any better than them? Take some time today to simply sit and listen. I tried this morning and it's way harder than you think!

Christmas isn't over yet, it seems. Here are some of my pictures from today...

 My Secret Santa Gift for my work party
 Christmas Ornament made by Gloria
Berries on the snowy tree outside

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Verse of the Day

This month I'm working my way through the book of Jeremiah. So far so humbling. (o:

Jer. 6:16
           "...Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

What a perfect verse for the beginning of the year! Lord, help me to find the good path and walk in it this year!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Me!



Last January doesn't seem so long ago, does it?  And come to think of it, the resolutions I made last year seem to be exactly the same as the ones I am re-making for this year.  Only now, I'm adding a resolution to the list: blogging.

Seriously? Did I really set up a blog only to post once a month?

What I really want is this - accountability. My resolutions may be met more easily if I keep myself accountable through posting my progress for my friends and family to see. So here goes:

1. Grades = 4.0 please
         Shouldn't be too hard for me seeing how I have only one real class and then student teaching. And also since I've obtained or come extremely close to a 4.0 every semester so far, why should this semester be different? Roberts should view this post and re-think the level of difficulty for undergrad education majors.

2. Money = save it please!
          I just downloaded an amazing savings tracker from spectacularsavings.net (LOVE this blog!!!) and I am sticking to my budget for groceries each month! Yes, stephanie, this includes everything. And of course, I'm the queen of all coupons.

3. Morning time = peaceful time with Jesus please!
          Especially this coming semester as I step into a special education classroom and need both patience and guidance from God. Lord, help me to fall in love with this part of my day and not rush through to get to other things!

4. Eating healthy and exercise = finding balance please!
          It's not that I hate these things. I actually quite enjoy cooking healthy meals (and making them look pretty) and hitting the eliptical. I just need to prioritize so that these things are near the top (instead of watching glee and reading blogs in the evenings).

5. Blogging = accountability please!
          Ok, really this goal is more focused on staying in touch with myself and with family and friends. Blogging will help me collect my thoughts and also keep me connected with family who might enjoy knowing what is going on with those two college kids who live so far away from home. Plus, I may just stick to these resolutions if I keep revisiting them!

Well, now you all know and are given the permission to pester me to see if I'm sticking to my plan!

I leave you with this:

Dan and I used some of our Christmas money from grandparents to purchase a new camera! It's not the most amazing camera in the world, but it is a billion times better than the one we have - and fits within our price range! I can't wait to start taking tons of pictures and posting them on here for you all to see!

See the listing at tiger direct here:    
Our new camera!