Saturday, February 19, 2011

popcorn quick tip

Over at Eating Rules, I found this little tip about making popcorn. I love popcorn. Like LOVE popcorn. It's a meal sometimes.

For awhile I would make popcorn in a pan on the stove. Then I got a popcorn maker that you use in the microwave and it uses little paper bottoms so every last kernel pops. But the trick was, once you run out of the little paper bottoms, you need to go get more.

So when I came across this little tip, I was all over it like drizzled butter on popcorn.

Popping corn in a paper bag!

The first time I tried it, I used a paper grocery bag. It was a bit too large for the microwave, but worked none the less.

The second time I decided to use a lunch paper bag.


I dumped some kernels in the bottom (I found some organic popcorn on sale in the bulk section at the store), folded it a couple times and put it in the microwave for about two minutes. I waited until the popping was winding down, pulled out the paper bag, dusted some salt on the top (even tried it without butter and it was pretty good!), closed it up, gave it a good shake and voila! Fluffy, yummy popcorn.

You don't even need a bowl! And when you're all done, you throw the bag in the recycling or even the compost!

So it's a win-win-win for everyone! And a yummy one at that!

Review of Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes

Revell Books sent me this complimentary copy to review.

By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, why he, a British aristocrat, is on American soil working as an indentured servant.

In a time when relations between America and England rest on the edge of a knife, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths, leading them on a journey of intrigue, threats, public disgrace, and . . . love. But can Tabitha trust Dominick? Finding true love seems impossible in a world set against them.

This is the first book by Laurie Alice Eakes that I have read. It took a while to understand what was going on and I felt like this was a book two or three in a series, but it wasn't. I wasn't a fan of the male main character, Dominick Cherrett, as he rubbed me the wrong way as pompous and prideful and remained that way throughout the book. The storyline seemed a bit long at times with stalling here and there. Will I read another book by Laurie Alice Eakes? Possibly.

Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review of Soulprint by Mark Batterson

Waterbrook Multnomah sent me this complimentary book to review for them.

When I saw this book was available for review, I jumped right on it. Mark Batterson's first book, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, was the catalyst for me in moving across the country to a journey unknown.

There never has been and never will be anyone like you. But that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you. The problem? Few people discover the God-given identity that makes them unlike anyone else. Mark Batterson calls this divine distinction our soulprint.

God would like to introduce you to yourself.

In Soulprint, Mark pours the contagious energy he’s known for into helping you experience the joy of discovering who you are...and the freedom of discovering who you’re not. The wonderful fact is that your uniqueness is God’s gift to you, and it’s also your gift to God.

A self-discovery book that puts God at the center rather than self, Soulprint encourages you to recognize and explore the five defining moments in your life that will determine your destiny. Along the way, you’ll find that you’re not just turning the pages of a book. You’re turning the pages of your remarkable, God-shaped, world-changing life.

There were so many great nuggets in this book. I had read the beginning a good four times and found something different every time that spoke to my heart. This book meets you in whatever spiritual time you are in. For me, there was a lot of freedom that happened when reading the black print in this book. Here are some defining sentences that stuck out to me:

"The fact that there never has been and never will be anyone like you simply means that no one can worship God like you or for you. You were created to worship God in a way that no one else can. How? By living a life no one else can--your life. You have a unique destiny to fulfill, and no one can take your place."

How freeing is that? I don't have to worship like everyone else, because I'm not everyone else! I and all of us are created uniquely so it would seem that worshiping the God who created us uniquely would want us to worship him based on our individual uniqueness.

"One of the biggest mistakes we make is focusing all our energy on the next season of life instead of enjoying the season we're in."

This sentence hit me right between the eyes. I've been anticipating and ready for Ed to be done with school and for us to continue on our journey, but how much have I missed in anticipation? Thankfully I realized this awhile ago and have tried to make the most, learn the most, take in the most I possibly can while living in the adventure I'm in.

"When we try to be all things to all people, we're trying to be God. We've got a Messiah complex. And if we try to be everything to everybody, we'll end up being nothing to nobody. At the end of the day, I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I'm not."

How many of us pretend who we are and don't show our true selves? I know I've done that. Many times, many years. I've learned one thing from this book: No one defines who I am except God. People and events may influence me, but they don't define me. God knows my definition, my destiny, my identity. And I'm glad for that because I can learn to be the me who God intended.

So all the above to say, I really liked this book and will be reading it again. Mark does a great job getting right to the point in an easy thought provoking way. I high recommend this book to anyone.

To see a video and read a complimentary chapter, click here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A shout out!!

Today I'm giving a shout out to one of my amazing friends. She's putting her fantastic sewing skillz to great use and is selling her items on her site. This may seem like a sales pitch to some, but to me, it's getting her fantabulous work out there. You know and have heard the sayings, "it's now what you know, but who you know" or "word of mouth"? Well, I'm using the words of my mouth and who I know to tell you about Anne.

I've known Anne for a long time. 12 years? 13 years? So long, I've lost count. I actually knew her husband before meeting her (yeah...he's stellar too). We've been through thick and thin together. And I mean thick. and. thin. All that to say, she's amazing.

And so are her sewing skills. See that cute guy over there? Sorry, he's not for sale, but an apron like he's wearing is! That's my Sam on his 7th birthday. Anne whipped up that apron for him. He may not look super excited, but he's eager to wear it in the kitchen. Along with aprons (she makes them for adults too!), she sews:
fabric grocery bags (which last longer than the store bought reusable ones...and they're cute!)
diaper bags
kids clothes
cloth diaper covers (I like the monkey ones myself)
and much more. She makes the cutest head bands too! So cute that I almost want to have another girl just so I could use one! Last month I even mailed her fabric to sew a bag for a gift for one of my friends here and within an IM conversation she had it finished and it was back to me within two days (that bag traveled over 4000 miles in just five days).

So if you're all about homemade items, head over to Anne's site. Even if you're not all about homemade items, check out her site. You may just change your mind. And if you have something you would like sewn that you don't see listed, ask her! She's uber creative and can customize to your needs. Her items are top notch.

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated to give a shout out about Anne. She's my amazing friend whom I believe you all should know about. My opinions are my own and if you know what's good for you, head over to her site! That is all.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Good-bye bagged tortilla chips!

Last night standing in the kitchen flipping through my mind recipe Rolodex, I landed on taco's. But quickly realized I had no tortilla shells. What to do, what to do? I rummaged through the fridge and found a package of corn tortilla's and immediately thought of whipping up some homemade tortilla chips. Taco salad!

I have not had much luck baking corn tortilla's. I either under bake them, in which I get a headache from having to chew and chew and chew or over bake them and who wants to eat burned tortilla chips? Not me. So I always fall back on the bagged chips.

But I remembered wanting to try a new recipe I had stumbled across for tortilla chips. And no better time like the present!

I headed over to Two Peas and Their Pod, found the super simple recipe, printed it out, oiled, cut and salted the wedges and popped them in the oven. I was skeptical. Very skeptical. I tried to not set myself up for yet another tortilla making disappointment. I didn't want another meal where I would be chewing undercooked chips.

I pulled the first batch out, flipped 'em and put them back in. Five minutes later I pulled them out and cooled them off on a cooling rack. As soon as they were cool enough to eat I broke one apart, was pleasantly surprised that they sounded nice and crisp, then popped one into my mouth.

HEAVEN!! Just the right amount of salt and the most absolute perfect texture! (of course, I'll admit, the next batch I made, I didn't leave in long enough and they were a smidge undercooked, but still so very yummy!)

The trick to these is broiling them! Who would've thunk! I'm totally hooked as are the two little people and my main squeeze. It's a win-win-win-win!

Here's the recipe:

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips
courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod
click here for the printable version

1 small package of white corn tortillas, taco size, cut into triangles
Cooking spray-we use a canola oil spray
Salt-to taste

1. Preheat the broiler to high. Put corn tortilla triangles on a large baking sheet. Don’t overlap the chips. If you want to make a large batch, fill a second pan and only bake one at a time.

2. Spray the triangles lightly with cooking spray. Turn over triangles and spray again. Sprinkle with salt, to taste.

3. Bake in the oven for about 3-4 minutes. Turn chips over and bake for another five minutes, or until chips are golden brown and crisp. Make sure you don’t go too far while the chips are in the oven. They will bake quickly!

4. Cool and serve with guacamole, salsa, or eat them plain.

I didn't have any cooking spray, so I brushed olive oil on each side before cutting.
And yes, they bake super quick, so don't leave the kitchen!