Saturday, March 30, 2013

He Is Risen

He is risen, indeed!

I hope today is a reminder of the truth of God's love for you. I know I feel so blessed today especially. God is so good.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Bacon


Honestly, I haven't been cooking very much lately you guys. My life was sort of consumed with studying for my test. Now that it's done I'm ready to get back in the groove. One thing I did manage to cook awhile ago was this side dish. 

I actually ate this for dinner two nights in a row, rather than as a side dish. Bottom line the bacon makes this dish. Of course. What isn't made better with bacon? Nothing.
Anyway, you also have brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes combine with simple ingredients (just a little olive oil, S&P). When you start with good things you don't need to add much.
Make this for yourself for dinner or as a fantastic addition to a huge dinner with friends. I do recommend eating this within a day or two. Enjoy!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
Ingredients:
  • 2-3 lbs fresh brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 big sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 slices bacon
To Make:

1) Preheat oven to 400*. On large rimmed baking sheet spread sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to coat.
2) Bake vegetables for 25-30 minutes, tossing once while baking. Sweet potatoes should be soft enough to pierce with a fork but not too mushy. 
3) While those roast, cook the bacon, more on the crispy side. Remove from pan, remove oil with paper towels. When cool enough to handle break into bite sized pieces. When vegetables are done, sprinkle bacon on top and serve. Enjoy!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 45

I love pugs. I think they're absolutely adorable and if Seth would let me I'd get one. Until then I'll just watch hilarious pug videos like this one: pug vs electronic spider.

I do not love golf. I took lessons in 6th grade and my instructor called me "tornado" because I usually spun around after I hit the ball. Even though I don't like golf I can still appreciate this awesome video of a golfer climbing in a tree to hit his ball backwards.

And in unrelated news, although I'm not sure what would be related to pugs or golf, I get to add an extra three letters to my name, OCN. I passed my Oncology Nursing Certification exam! woo hoo

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: March 24

I had some beautiful moments this week. Seattle has been spoiling us with a few sunny days. Living in a place that is mostly cloudy makes me appreciate the partially cloudy/sunny days a bit more.

Monday: Love the light coming through the clouds
. 
Took myself on a picnic for studying.
it was colder than I anticipated but being outside for a little bit was refreshing
At Cupcake Royale, I opted not to get a cupcake
instead I got salted caramel cupcake ice cream in a bacon crack cookie sandwich
truly that amazing
Table at cupcake royale with friends
My second attempt at flowers.

At Liberty Bar on Friday evening
Had a fantastic gin cocktail and good sushi/sashimi
A gorgeous evening!

This week I've got one day of work and family coming in town. Hope the rest of your Sunday is awesome

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Did you guys ever have to do the project in junior high where you had to explain how to do something step by step? The example was always how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you didn't tell someone that they even had to open the jar of peanut butter they couldn't and therefore could never make the sandwich.
I'm pretty sure I explained how to write a Chinese character. Why I remember the example better than my own project I'm not sure. Thankfully we don't have to write recipes like that in real life otherwise you guys would never get the lids off the jars. 
And Lord knows you want to open the peanut butter jar to make them. These muffins are surprisingly delicious. The peanut butter batter remains light but wonderfully flavored and the warm jam in the middle of the muffin is a delicious combination. You can also customize these using creamy or crunchy peanut butter or different flavors of jam or jelly. 
I definitely recommend these with a big glass of milk, fresh out of the oven. Go ahead and indulge your elementary school self with these.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
(from good 'ol Paula Deen)
makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup thick jelly or jam (raspberry is my favorite)
To Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray
  2. In a mixer using paddle, mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in peanut butter and mix until dough becomes crumbs, 3-5 minutes. Then add milk, egg and butter just until mixture is combined. 
  3. Put a small spoonful of batter into bottom of the pan, create a small well in dough and add a teaspoon of jam. Top this with peanut butter dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tops of lightly browned. Let them cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or let cool and store in airtight container for up to 4 days.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 44

Rules of storytelling (and life) from Pixar. I particularly like #8.

Last night I watched a really good documentary called Pressure Cooker. It's about high school students in the inner city learning culinary arts and competing for scholarships. I cried at the end. It's available on Netflix instant streaming.

And Proof That Anything Can Be A Cupcake. I want the churro one now, spaghetti? not so much.

Last but not least, the 6th grader in me is super excited Justin Timerblake's new CD is coming out tomorrow. And the me now is excited that Run Boy Run's CD is coming out too! They're a phenomenal bluegrass band that was recently on Prairie Home Companion (twice) and I know them from college and they're all amazing.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: March 17

I started out this week with a cold. Lemon Zinger Tea and tissues were my cure

study, study, study

messages of love on the sidewalk

I spent two days at a nursing symposium and got this take home favor

New discovery of the Elliot Bay Book Company in Capitol Hill
We were just there while waiting for a table at a restaurant but I need to go back

I did karaoke in one of those places with small rooms and it was awesome
Where else can you bust out with "I believe I can fly" in the company of friends?

Any highlights of your weeks? I hope this upcoming week is a good one for all of us!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Reviews: Kitchen House, Spring Moon and Wallflowers


I know I've said this before, but I love getting books that can be read in a few days, either because they're so good I can't put them down or they're short. Anyway, here are my latest book reviews.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

After she was orphaned on a slave ship, Lavinia, an Irish girl, becomes an indentured servant on a plantation in the South. As she grows, her relationships with the black slaves become complicated as she is thrust into the world of the plantation owners. The plantation owner, Captain Pyke, is rarely home, his wife lives in an opium-induced stupor, leaving control to an evil field-master. As historical fiction, it's not very likely or accurate (it doesn't seem to be) but still is an interesting story. And as frustrating as Lavinia may be, since she seems to be rather immature in a lot of her decisions, I was still dying to know how the story would end. I'd give it 3.5/5 stars.

Spring Moon by Betty Bao Lord

This came highly recommended by my mom, and she describes it as a story of a "typical Chinese family" but very well written. Lord tells an in-depth story about, Spring Moon, a member of the renowned Chang family. From the time she is young she lives through the rigors and traditions of a young Chinese girl, from having her feet bound, to be married off to a man she's never met at 16. As she grows and has children of her own, China is changing around her; going through revolutions and eventually following into communism. It's a really incredible story. I didn't love it as much as my mom did, I got kind of lost in some of the characters and am honestly don't know much about Chinese history so wasn't that invested. 3/5 stars.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Chbosky tells the story from the point of view of Charlie, a high-schooler, writing letters about his freshman year experience to an unnamed acquaintance. He becomes friends with a group of seniors, has a crush on one of them, ruins his first relationship, deals with his family, drugs and alcohol. At the very end of the book, an important, life-changing fact about Charlie is revealed that sort of made me appreciate where he comes from and the book a little bit more.  I went into this books with pretty high expectations and was sort of disappointed throughout. His experience was really different from mine in high school and I don't necessarily appreciate seemingly "typical" stories about high schoolers, where they deal with drugs, alcohol, etc. Anyway, 2.5/5 stars.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Oatmeal Bread


Life is a funny thing sometimes. I'm in a weird place where there are days where I'll be running around like crazy. I'll be doing errands, and studying, and cooking and cleaning and working. Then I'll go through days where I feel like I wish I had more going on, more friends to hang out with, classes to go to. What is it about life that makes it like that? Unbalanced, almost.
This bread is good for all of those occasions. I'll have a piece plain and untoasted, while I'm running around first thing in the morning while I'm trying to make it to the doctors appointment. Or I'll eat a piece with butter and honey, enjoying a cup of tea, leisurely watching my second show on Netflix at 2 in the afternoon.
I hope you have a slow day where you have time to make this bread and that you get to enjoy this bread on the balanced days. When you have enough time to drink a second cup of coffee before you head to work then dinner with friends.
Oatmeal Bread

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast (or regular yeast)
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
To Make:

1) Proof yeast in lukewarm milk until bubbly, about 10 minutes. In mixing bowl stir butter, salt, brown sugar, oatmeal and yeast/milk mixture. Stir in flour, one cup at a time until shaggy dough is formed. Knead for 5 min by machine or 10 minutes by hand on well-floured surface.

2) If you use rapid rise yeast, let it rest for 10 minutes, then form into loaf. Place in well-oiled loaf pan and let rise for 1 hour. If you're using regular yeast, let it rise in a bowl for an hour prior to forming into a loaf.

3) Preheat the oven to 350*F. Once loaf is risen, bake for 35-40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped on. Remove from oven and let it cool on a rack. Will keep for 4 days. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Observation Tuesday: Volume 43

Some real talk today: I've got a cold. I'm going through Kleenex like it's no body's business and drinking lemon zinger tea like its my job. Hopefully it'll go away by tomorrow so I can go to work. Any magical cold remedies you've got up your sleeve?

Do you remember the Oreo commercial from the superbowl? Watch it here. Now that you're up to date on the cookies vs. cream argument watch this fantastic video of someone really into the cookies.

26 Stories That Are Better In Reverse. My favorite one is 16.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: March 10

You guys, I was so thrown off this morning when my alarm and I was so tired. Thankfully I remembered I had daylight savings time to blame. 

Sunrise on the way to work

Cuties in my cow bowl.

Free Thursdays at Seattle Museums!
This is the Museum of History and Industry (i.e. history of Seattle) and it was really cool
lots of buttons to push, which made it fun

Ship!

Sunny day in Seattle. Windows and sun roof were definitely open

Seth and I visited La Conner, WA today.
This is on the rainbow bridge

Nell Thorn Restaurant & Pub in La Conner
I had Braeburn apple and gorgonzola pasta - delicious

A giant tree. There was no explanation so I don't know what the significance is


Friday, March 8, 2013

Vanilla Walnut "Shortbread"


I feel a little bit of writers' block. Not that I call myself a writer, normally I just babble on about random stuff before introducing a tasty snack of some sort. This time I'm just going to jump right in with why I made these vanilla walnut "shortbread" cookies.
I really enjoy is having delicious pre-made snacks ready in the freezer. Waffles, smoothies, these delicious pseudo-shortbread cookies. These come together in a snap and are quite fantastic (and gluten-free!)
You put the ingredients in a food processor, pulse for a few minutes, then form into cookies and freeze. No turning on the oven even.
I happened to have made these a few days before my best friend came to visit. Since she eats gluten free it was a total bonus to have these ready in the freezer. If she hadn't surprised me I totally could have played it off like I had just whipped these up since I knew she was coming. But maybe you can too.

Vanilla Walnut No Cake Cookies
adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
To Make

1) Put walnuts, coconut, honey, vanilla and salt in food processor. Pulse until smooth. It will take a few minutes. Once it's done scrape the dough into a mixing bowl.

2) Using your hands, rolls pieces of the dough into balls roughly 1 and 1/2 inches in diameter. Then flatten the balls into cookies. Freeze for an hour and enjoy! (Keep them stored in an airtight container)