Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Want To Scrap My Blog

So I started out a scrapbooker, but I do less of it now that I have a blog. My blog seems to be more immediate & satisfies a lot of that need to tell the story of my family... but there are a lot of things on my blog that I would like to scrapbook for my family. Has anyone done this before? Surely it's been done a lot, before. I'd love to hear any ideas or pointers you have on how you did it or post some links if you have blogged about it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking

Ok I might really like this digital scrapbooking thing. I didn't think that I would. I don't know why. I like my computer a lot. I guess I thought I was touchy-feely when it came to ink and paper. I worked most the day (except when I had to go to work) on my digital scrapbook for the Big Picture Scrapbooking Class I'm taking. "Everyone Can Write A Little." It's a class about writing in short snippets (Facebook and or Twitter) and digitally creating a scrapbook to record some of them. When I signed up I was only focused on the writing part... but this week we delved into Adobe Photoshop Elements - a place I would never have wandered on my own... yet I have discovered, this if FUN!

So I spent today watching the Cathy's Tutorial and following it in Photoshop E... and going all the way back to my very first Twitter post marking favorites that I might include in this album. I don't think I want to conventional scrapbook anymore. This is more fun! I think it is also in part because these are my thoughts--- because of that this album is going to be a lot about me. I am used to creating albums in which I (as the photo-taker in the family) am mostly invisible. It strikes me now as ironic to create scrapbooks as a mode of expression - from which I myself am absent.

Well better go check on the oven... it's frozen pizza and leftover chicken for dinner tonight or we'll never make it to Wednesday Night church on time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Easy Picnic Chicken

This is that chicken recipe I have been talking about. It is so good and so easy that I have made it 3 times since I first tried the recipe on May 15. This is a Nigella Lawson recipe. If you're not familiar with Nigella, you should check her out on The Food Network. Nigella is a foodie and a wordie, she talks about food the way I FEEL about food. What is not to like about a woman who allows herself to be shown stealing a midnight raid on the fridge at the end of her show.

I get this all ready in its marinade in the morning before I go to work (or before lunch on a weekend) and bake it off at dinner time. Don't let the buttermilk put you off, this isn't a fatty dish, the buttermilk is just a marinade, the acidity in the buttermilk results in wonderfully juicy chicken. I buy one of the large packs of drumsticks at my supermarket, which make the recipe quite affordable & kid friendly too.
Updated Note 9/5/09:You've gotta use fresh garlic in this. I have made it probably 8-10 times and the 3 times I made it with that garlic out of a jar (because fresh was unavailable) it was so lackluster. It was like it wasn't even the same recipe. It's hard to believe that fresh garlic would make such a difference... using sea salt also brings a better result than table salt.

Easy Picnic Chicken - or Buttermilk Roast Chicken

12 chicken drumsticks (approximately 3 lbs total weight)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups of buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, bruised & skin removed (sometimes I put extra)
1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns (I use 1/2 Tbs. ground black pepper)
1 Tablespoon sea salt. If using regular table salt use 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place 1/4 cup oil, buttermilk, garlic, pepper, salt, cumin and maple syrup into a large zipper bag. Squish the bag a bit to combine. I like to set the bag inside a plastic container, it keeps the bag steady as I add things to it, fits handily into the meat drawer of my fridge, and protects my fridge & counter from any leaks or drips. The one in the photo is a very inexpensive Rubbermaid Take-along. Add the chicken legs to the bag, squish around a bit to coat the chicken, seal the bag and place in the refrigerator. Meat can marinade from 4 hours to overnight. Flip the bag over a few times during the day to redistribute the marinade.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray it with Pam and the chicken will stick less. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag shaking off the excess marinade and arrange them on the baking pan. You may need to place your chicken pieces a little further apart than my photo, I use the convection roast setting on my oven and the air convection allows me to place the pieces closer together. Drizzle the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil over the chicken and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Verdure Al Forno - Baked Zucchini

This is one of my all-time favorite dishes... You could probably get non-veggie eaters to dig into this one, it's so good. This is a layered baked Zucchini dish, it reminds me a bit of a lasagna only even better! The Fontina cheese has such a wonderful melt, it really adds to the texture and flavor of the dish. This is from Giada De Laurentiis book Everyday Italian, but I make it the way I saw her make it on her show, rather than strictly follow the recipe in the book. The book calls for 3 layers of the ingredients, but I find it difficult to get the zucchini to cook properly that way, I only make 2 layers. The original recipe calls for plain salt, but I use Lawry's Garlic Salt, I thought the original recipe was missing garlic flavor. I also use seasoned Italian bread crumbs, while the original recipe called for plain. "Verdure al forno" means vegetables in the oven. Giada suggests substituting whatever vegetables you like best to make the recipe your own. When I make this, I don't really measure I just layer, drizzle and sprinkle what looks right to me.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds total), cut crosswise into 1-inch thick slices (planks not rounds)
Lawry's Garlic Salt (or 1/2 teaspoon regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 - 1 cup heavy cream
2/3 - 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2/3 - 1 cup grated fontina cheese
4 tablespoons grated Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
2/3 cup seasoned (or plain) dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with olive oil.

Arrange enough of the zucchini slices over the bottom of the dish in a single layer to cover. Sprinkle with one third of the salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over the zucchini and sprinkle with 1/3 cup each of mozzarella cheese and fontina cheese. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, then with 1/3 cup bread crumbs.

Repeat layering the ingredients one more time. (The vegetables can be assembled 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.) Place the baking dish on the baking sheet and bake uncovered until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, 40-60 minutes. You can serve this immediately, but if you let it sit for 15 mintues it is easier to cut into squares (I usually can't wait that long!)

Note: To test for doneness, I insert a butter knife into the center of the dish. I am looking at how easily the knife goes thru the zucchini to see if it is soft enough.

The cookbook says this makes 4 side-dish size servings... I think you get more than that from it. We often eat this is a main dish, all it needs is a salad & maybe some bread to make it a meal.

What's up with me, today

Lately, I've been really enjoying Mandisa's new album , Freedom, and for the past 2 days, specifically the song "Definition of Me" which isn't available to add to my playlist below, but it's a great album and you can hear clips on her Music site

You can see Mandisa's Official music video for "He is With You" at

Last night I made the most delicious chicken drumsticks, marinaded all day in buttermilk and baked off in the oven at night -It's my intention to share that recipe at some point (click link above for recipe.) It was delicious and easy.... Ethan loves drumsticks but wouldn't eat the potato salad I served with it. At the end of the meal he pushed back from the table and told me he'd had enough meat and asked if I could make something with vegetables for tomorrow's dinner. Ah my baby loves veggies!
So today I need to choose what veggie dish we're eating & get the ingredients while we're out. I've decided on Verdure Al Forno - a wonderful cheesy Zucchini dish - almost like a zucchini lasagna. While thumbing thru the cookbook Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentis in which this recipe appears I decided to also make a double batch of Marinara sauce, so I can make it into Pene with Vodka sauce later in the week. I love pink sauce (creamy red sauce) and in my opinion a good Vodka sauce is the pinnacle in that category.

I'm also hoping to get enough housekeeping done to leave me time to work on my album for the Big Picture Scrapbooks class I'm taking online; Cathy Zielske's Everyone Can Write A Little. It's not what you might think from the name. It's about learning to write in little concise bits... 140 characters at a time like a Twitter or Facebook Status Update. I have been Twittering away -but haven't done any of the album construction work yet... so getting that underway is on the slate for, today.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something to read at the Beauty Salon

I have mentioned that before purchasing a book for my Kindle I can download and read a sample - usually the first chapter of the book. I have enjoyed this feature and enjoyed a few books I might not have thought to read otherwise...

Yesterday I needed to kill some time with a head full of foil at the salon... Every woman has experienced one of these price-of-beauty moments when she wants something to take her attention away from that crazy haired, Bride of the Tin Man reflection in the the glass...

So I pulled out my Kindle. Hmmm I think it is time to start on Francine Rivers' The Scarlet Thread... I have really been looking forward to reading this one! So I begin reading. Hmm a boy named Alex, that was the name of the girl's husband in that OTHER book I read years ago. Hmmm that girl's dad gave her a hard time about her boyfriend too. Gee I guess some of these novels can get pretty formulaic. Except.... the names of these children sound really familiar. read a little more this so much like that other book - but those people live in L.A. not a sleepy town up north... Lucky for me Sierra's husband decided to take the job in Los Angeles before the sample of the book runs out. Then I knew for SURE. I'm so glad I didn't buy the book because I had read it a few years ago and just didn't recognize the name (blush.) Feeling a little old, now. It did give my hair dresser and I a good chuckle and something to chat about while she washed and trimmed my hair.

So from now on, no matter how SURE I am that I want to read a book... I guess I had better download and read the sample before buying. I find I have a harder time remembering library books because there often is no cover artwork to jog my memory.

I really want to read another book by Francine Rivers since I liked the first and second books in The Mark of the Lion Series so well. I enjoyed reading A Voice in the Wind more than anything I have read in a long time. I have heard praise for Redeeming Love, but it is not yet available for Kindle so it will have to wait. I've almost settled on The Last Sin Eater.

I've just complete the juvenile fiction books The City of Ember and The People of Sparks both by Jeanne DuPrau. They were both fun and I'm now reading The City of Ember to Ethan. Even though he is an avid reader on his own, He still loves being read to. I like to watch his excitement as the story unfolds, and it gives us so much opportunity for discussion.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Psalm 27:1

Today this song is running over and over in my head. I wanted to look up which verse it came from.

Psalm 27:1
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (KJV)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Journal - Ignore

This one is for me. My blog is like my journal, it's where I do my journey so feel free to ignore this one.

So if you're not supposed to build a wall... what ARE you supposed to do?!

Then I get a Text from Lynda that says
"Have a blessed day Nahum 1:7"

Nahum 1:7
"The LORD is a good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."

Ok I'll try that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tweeting & Scrapping - Big Picture Scrapbooking's: Everyone Can Write A Little

So I mentioned my failure to follow through on my first attempt at an online Scrapbook Writing class in my postHow writing Is Like My Cat, Emma, & how I failed at a Big Picture Scrapbooking Course. Yet here I am not very much longer down the road signing up for another class. Well I'm going to give it another try, I'm getting back on the horse. I need something to feel good about right now and creating usually does that for me so why not?

I'm downloading the pre-class & first week videos as we speak. Gonna download my videos, print my handouts & cut myself a piece of that Chocolate Silk Pie leftover from Mother's Day (It's comfort food, I make no apologies, today!) Thus armed I'm going to head upstairs to the big comfy couch and begin my journey.

I'm taking Everyone Can Write a Little by Cathy Zielske. "How Twitter or Facebook can make you a better journaler of the everyday. And, a cool digital hybrid album project to showcase your results." Well I'm already Tweeting on Twitter and connecting on Facebook so I'm already half way there, right? Well I hope so. As soon as I heard about it, it sounded like a class for me.

If you'd like to see Cathy's Video explanation of the class click here. The class begins, today, but registration will remain open until May 20.
Gotta run, I don't want to be late for class!

PS BPS Give Away Share a tweet for a shot at a random seat: comment before midnight pdt 5/19/09. - follow the link below.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Verses of Encouragement

I needed encouragement, today so I went looking for some... I sought words that would make me feel courageous to act, but I was sent one that soothed the hurt in my heart.

Deuteronomy 31:23
The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: "Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you."

Ezra 10:4
Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.

as soon as I had found those, my cell phone beeped and Lynda had texted me this one.

Jonah 2:2
2 He said:
"In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.

A great site looking up verses online, comparing translations, or searching for keywords:

Found this site today, has an index to find encouraging verses for different situations:

Recent Updates 5/13/09

I thought I'd mention a few things I've updated on the site, today:

I've added "verse of the day" to the top of my blog.
I added a "Song of the Day" playlist to the bottom of my blog, my intention is to add songs to it on those days when I have a particular song in my heart.

I am also adding a link to another podcast about The Shack to my post about The Shack: and I republished that article because somehow it ended up back in drafts (sorry about that.)