Monday, October 31, 2011

Carrot Soup

I've never been into cooked carrots too much...until last year when I discovered that I loved them roasted.  I saw a recipe for carrot soup on Pioneer Woman and decided to give it a try.  Apprehensive, I just made 1/3 of the recipe in case I didn't like it.  Well, I loved it!  I'll definitely be making this again.  For her pictures and humor, go here.

  • 3 pounds Baby Carrots
  • 2 quarts Vegetable Stock Or Chicken Stock  (I used homemade chicken stock)
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme (used dried)
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream (used milk)
  • Dash Of Salt (also added pepper)

Combine carrots, stock, and thyme in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from heat and transfer soup in two batches to a blender (or you may use an immersion blender.) Puree soup completely, then stir in honey and cream. Taste, then add salt as needed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cooking at the Kasbah

My brother is a really great gift giver; last night we cooked and use two of his best gifts:  the bread maker and the tagine.  He also gave me a cook book with lots of Moroccan recipes: Cooking at the Kasbah {always makes me think of the song Rock the Casbah}.  Tried a new recipe: tagine of chicken with eggplant with sun-dried tomatoes.  I've had the store bough version of the eggplant from Trader Joe's, which is really good.  But the home made version was much better.

Onions, roasted eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, with lots of spices and seasonings:

With the chicken that is also cooked in the tagine:

And a freshly made French baguette to accompany it:

A fun and delicious meal to cook!

Oh, right!

The other night I heard something that really struck me: trusting the Lord and waiting on the Lord are connected. We are only able to wait on Him because we trust Him.  And if you trust the Lord, you know His character and are therefore able to wait on Him.

Simple, yet revolutionary, thought.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Truth isn't always pretty.

I just bumped into a buddy on the street as I headed back to my office.  We said hello and then he asked if I was feeling ok.  I said, "oh is my eye red?  My allergies started flaring up."  "Yeah, you look really exhausted and not yourself..." was the reply I heard.

Apparently staying up too late and oversleeping two of the three work days this week, thus leaving me in a tizzy in the mornings, has taken its toll.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Young Life Banquet

I went to the Charleston Young Life banquet last night and was reminded all over again why I love this ministry.  Young Life is fun (being a Christian doesn't have to be boring).  Young Life loves kids (even the ones that are really hard to love).  Young Life shares Jesus (whom we all need).

Young Life started in Charleston in 1996 and I got involved a few years later.  The Lord used Young Life to show me that, yes, I too, was in need a savior.  As I listened to kids share how Young Life was used to bring them to Jesus, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude.  12 years later, I was sitting at a table with my old YL leaders and was so thankful that they loved me when I was a brat, were honest with me about their own lives, and showed me over and over again what it meant to love Jesus.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. - Matthew 28:19-20

Making things up may not be the best way to go.

In a month, I'll be in Honduras; crazy and exciting!  Yesterday, I went to look for bus information to take from the airport to the town I'll be staying in.  Shannon gave me the website and told me I could buy a ticket online now or when I got there.  Well, obviously this A-typer would prefer to purchase in advance.

Should be easy, right?  So I went to "buy online" and started filling out my information.  Since I'm not Honduran, I don't have an Honduran ID number.  Fine, just put in your passport number.  Well, I didn't have that with me or access to it.  So, I did what every normal person would do: I made it up.  I put in 123456789 (not even knowing how many digits your passport number have; which, turns out to be 9!).  To me, this would be perfectly fine, because websites only take you so far until you give them the goods, i.e. submit your credit card info.  No worries, right?

Wrong.  Of course, as soon as I clicked "next" after my personal information it does not take me to another info page.  Nor does it take me to the payment page.  Instead, it says, "thank you; someone will be in touch with you."  Great.  My first thought:  please don't call me because it is likely I won't understand a word you are saying.  I was relieved when I received an email from Mayra about my bus ticket.

However, from the time I submitted my information to the time I received Mayra's email, I found out I'd submitted the wrong bus stop (not shocking).  So I asked her about that and mentioned I could give her my legit passport  number later on.  I'm pretty sure Mayra became alarmed when she realized 123456789 wasn't my actual passport number.  {Come on, Mayra, who's actually lucky enough to get that number?!}  At any rate, I emailed her my real number last night.

At this point, I'm fully expecting to be flagged by the Honduran bus system and may be called in for questioning.  Yet, hoping Mayra doesn't tell her supervisor about some random American who's certainly clueless and potentially fraudulent or terrorizing or something tragic.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great weekend in Clemson

I left work a smidge early on Friday and met Beth.  We headed to Spartanburg to pick Courtney up and then made our way to Clemson.  Well, actually, it wasn't quite as easy as that.  Traffic from Charleston to Spartanburg was miserable.  After cruising along at 20 MPH for a while, we finally came to a complete stop.  Praise the Lord, we were stopped at an exit.  We made the bold decision to take the exit and try the back roads; a Garmin, phone GPS, and call to Clark later, we knew how to successfully pass the traffic and re-enter I26.  Charleston to Spartanburg is a standard 3 hours to me, but this trip was 3 hours 45 minutes.  I'm SO thankful I had Beth in the car with me.  I'm sure she's glad she was able to experience my highway driving skills.

The drive from Spartanburg to Clemson was a bit heavily trafficked as well, but manageable.  We dropped Beth off, and met Jacqueline at Copper River Grill for supper.  It was 8:45 when we got there and we were all starving.  Jacqueline got a BBQ pizza.  Courtney and I split meals: she ordered the hamburger with bacon and cheese and onion rings.  I ordered the meat pizza.  It had a layer of pepperoni all over the pizza, then other meats and mushrooms on top.  Courtney's burger came with a whole plate of fries.  Jacqueline's pizza had a pile of onion straws on top.  Basically, it looked like a Biggest Loser meal before Trainer Bob gets a hold of you.

After gorging on not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious food, we headed to the lake house that Jacqueline's mom has been staying in for the past month.  This house.  The view.  Seventy five percent of the house has a view of Lake Keowee.  Gorgeous.

We headed out around 8:30 to meet Mr. Bishop and then mosey on to their family tailgate spot.  As if we didn't treat ourselves enough the night before, we certainly treated ourselves tailgating.  Bojangles biscuits and mimosas for breakfast.  Jalepeno pimento cheese, beer cheese dip, fruit, crackers, brie, puppy chow, etc. for snacks.  Bojangles fried chicken and biscuits for lunch.  Pumpkin beer.  Tailgating before and after the game, as well as half time, involved much food and enjoyment.

I hadn't been to a Clemson game since I was in graduate school there.  It was SO fun.  I love the stadium, all of the people in orange and purple, and the overall excitement.  I love it when the entire stadium yells C. L. E. M. S. O. N. one section at at time.  Almost gives you chills.  And we won!  Still undefeated!  Other things to note: Courtney taught me what downs are.  I felt like I'd learned a new language; football makes so much more sense now!  Also, we were able to see Margaret and Amanda at the tail end of the 4th quarter!

When we headed home, we enjoyed sunset club with a great view.  For those of you who don't know, we started sunset club senior year.  We pulled our furniture into the backyard and hung out and maybe had a drink with all of our friends from about March until graduation.  Anytime you have a good sunset, good friends, and a place to sit, do it.  You won't regret it.

Sadly, we started eating again and I ate so much puppy chow I could have gotten sick.  Thankfully, I didn't!  Ginny (Jacqueline's mom) told us about Storage Wars.  It was fascinating. We only watched about 8 episodes and then something called Hog Catchers came  Who knew hog trapping/killing was so intense?!

Sunday morning consisted of a quiet time and finishing off the puppy chow.  We took a short walk around the neighborhood, and then Courtney and I had to pack up and head out.  We grabbed Beth and decided to carry on with our "Treat. Yo. Self." themed weekend by lunching at Cook Out.  A NC style BBQ sandwich, onion rings, and mint oreo milkshake for me.  So good.  When Beth and I left Spartanburg, we had one more detour to make.  My old stomping ground of Clinton, SC.  She'd never been to Presbyterian College or Clinton so it was time to rectify that.

The Presbyterian College sign.

Our beloved townhouse, B5.

Isn't PC gorgeous this time of year?

Donors are crazy about statues on campus and to my knowledge, this is the newest one.  Also, one of the largest.

Beth and I headed Back to Charleston, grabbed a quick bite at Moe's, and then I dropped her off and headed home.  Sure, I'm tired.  Sure, I slept through my alarm this morning.  But, the weekend was totally worth it!  So thankful the Bishops extended their hospitality to me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Week in review

This week has flown by and has been a good one.  Things to note:
  1. Ran for 20 minutes Monday.  For me, that is a lot.  Kind of a miracle in fact.
  2. Tuesday night included a lot of time just worshiping the good.
  3. Supper with mom Wednesday night.  Good food.  Fun time together catching up and telling stories.  One of those times where your parent just feels like a friend.
  4. Beth came over for supper last night.  Good times.
  5. Excited to head to Clemson for the weekend!  Haven't spent time there since I was in grad school.  It is beautiful this time of year, they are undefeated, and will be hanging out with fun friends.
  6. Treated myself to a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit this morning.  
  7. For your enjoyment:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago...part 4

Sunday morning consisted of lots of debating, mainly political, until we got hungry enough to leave the apartment for brunch.  Which, by the time we got there, was straight up lunch.  My pancakes and crispy bacon totally hit the spot.  We cruised through the Lincoln Park Zoo for a while and I'd forgotten how long it's been since I've seen zebras and the like.

We cooked engagement chicken, rice, and roasted broccoli before heading to Second City.  Yes, this is the place where one of my favorites got her start.  We saw Sky's the Limit (Weather Permitting) and it was quite funny.  A little bit crass, a little bit condescending towards Christians, but tuning that out, it was great show.  It was a fun way to end a great weekend.

Monday morning came early at 4:30.  I got dressed and then Nathan drove me to the airport.  Thankfully, the flight left on time and I landed in Myrtle Beach, and made it to work by noon.  Long day, but totally worth it.  Such a fun weekend in Chicago, good time with Nathan and Shannon, and a great personal mini vacation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago...part 3

Saturday morning was pretty chill.  I got to go exploring by myself again in the form of a run/walk and it was glorious.  Nathan, Shannon, and I headed out to go grocery shopping.  This meant going to 3 places: local farmer's market for fresh veggies, including brussel sprouts on the stalk.  Looked like this:

We also headed to Gepperth's meat market.  In addition to what was on the list, Nathan couldn't pass up a few links of duck sausage.  (That was a first for me.)  Then, we headed to a regular, and tiny, grocery store/market for the things we couldn't get elsewhere.  Once home, we made a pizza for lunch: onions, bell pepper, tomato, duck sausage, and cheese curds (the curds were also a first for me).  I'd say we did quite well:

After lunch, we lounged and caught up on some tv.  Then we started cooking supper:  pulled pork, mac and cheese, to which Nathan's signature is adding gorgonzola for an extra bite, and roasted brussel sprouts.  We were cooking supper for some of their friends, Betsy and Will.  More on this later...

After showering, etc., we headed to church.  Church was really great.  The music, the sermon, communion.  And, it was really cool to go to church with Nathan and Shannon.  I love how the Lord is working in their lives.

After church, Shannon rode with Betsy, Will, and their kid to run by Nathan/Shannon's and grab the food, then head to Betsy and Will's to get the baby to bed on time.  Nathan and I took took the train and met them there a bit later.  We tossed the food in the oven to heat up and soon enough enjoyed a nice meal.  It was a fun time.  That is, until my allergies couldn't take it anymore.  They have a cat.  There wasn't any visible hair, etc. on the furniture and they put the cat downstairs so I was hoping I'd be ok.  And I was for a while.  And then the allergies hit me like a ton of bricks: itchy, watery eyes.  We had to bolt ASAP.  Thankfully Betsy drove us home and let me cruise in a store for some Benedryl.  Two pills later and my eyes were cleared up; plus, I slept like a baby.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sweet Home Chicago...part 2

Nathan headed to work Friday morning, while Shannon and I slept in a bit.  We went on run/walk, but went our separate ways.  I LOVE meandering through unknown neighborhoods and exploring new places.  As an introvert, it was a great way for me to re-charge and prepare for the day.  I cruised through Lincoln Park (Nathan's hood), Old Town, and made my way over to the lake.  Shannon and I met back up at home, showered, and hit the town.  We shopped and grabbed lunch at Flaco's Tacos.  I didn't get too much, but a few things, including my first Zara purchase.  I'm definitely a summer girl, and was reminded of this over and over again this weekend.  One reason: it is really hard to try on clothes when you have pants, shirt, cardigan, scarf, and a jacket.  That's a lot of clothing to take on and off...  At any rate, I had a nice, low-key day with Shannon.

We headed home and then I headed to meet a great friend of mine from Columbia, Emily.  We drank red wine and ate appetizers and caught up and laughed and told stories.  When we both lived in Columbia, we hung out all the was a sad realization that we hadn't seen each other in over a year.  But the best thing about good friends, is that time seems to vanish when you're brought back together again.  Emily lives in the same neighborhood that Nathan and Shannon do, so when it was time to part, I took a leisurely stroll home and found a big bowl of chocolate ice cream waiting for me when I got there.

Sweet Home Chicago...part 1

I left work on Thursday and headed to meet dad for a quick and delicious lunch.  After a bit of convincing, he only ate one sandwich.  Ha.  Graciously, he filled up my car with gas and sent me on my way to Myrtle Beach.  The airport is tiny and people watching was pretty entertaining.  We boarded the plane on time and were quickly greeted by the captain who I think would have preferred to do stand up rather than flying.  Some of her jokes were better than others.  Apparently the door to the plan wouldn't shut properly, and though it was fixed there was a lot of government paperwork to be processed and that was taking forever.  Next thing I know, one of the two AC units is down.  Don't worry, it isn't needed...but again with the paperwork.  At lunch, Dad asked me if this airline (Spirit) was safe; I laughed it off, yet really started to wonder as I sat there with all of these announcements running through my head...  Needless to say, we were an hour late getting off the ground.

The flight was easy and I made a friend: Lindsey.  Sadly, since I was running behind we had to ditch our original plans: seeing Live58.  I was really excited because it wasn't playing in SC.  Such a bummer.  Instead, I met Nathan and Shannon at Nathan's office and we walked to Hubbard Inn for supper.  We all shared some crispy sweet breads with brussel sprouts.  If you've never had sweet breads, you're missing out; they are amazing.  I had the lamb burger, with mint, red onion, cucumber, feta, and tzatziki sauce.  Served with awesome fries, it was really satisfying and delicious -- especially after flying on an airline so cheap you don't get a snack.  Shannon and I each had a Goose Island 312; think local Blue Moon.  We headed home and I have to say, their neighborhood is really nice.  While not huge, this apartment is much bigger than the studio I stayed in with them four years ago.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh, Marcia

I'm grabbing (super quick) lunch with my dad on my way out of town this afternoon.  We're hitting up Sewee Outpost.  It is a local Mast General Store of sorts (lunch, bait, and a new PFG shirt in one stop) and they have the most amazing shrimp salad sandwiches, among other things.

I got this email from mom just now; she's infamous for her tragic typing:

hhve freeun in cjjcasgp
ddionnt kyet daddddy eat mmor than onne sdabndwwich//////////
lovre mmomma


Looking forward to Noon

Leaving work early today to head to Chicago!  So excited for this mini vacation and time with my brother and sister-in-law!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twist on an a Favorite

I heard Sufjan's version of Come Thou Fount on Friday Night Lights and loved it.  Of course, I forgot about it, but was pleasantly reminded of it today.  Thanks, Pandora.  Enjoy.


A lot of people LOVE pumpkin products.  There are quite a few mid-westerners in my office and they really get excited about pumpkin food items...especially something called a pumpkin roll.  It's fine, but doesn't make me giddy or anything.  And then there is the Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Starbucks.  Granted, I don't like coffee, but it never ceases to amaze me how excited people get over those things.

But, there is one pumpkin product I do love.  Blue Moon's fall brew.  A little bit of pumpkin.  A little bit of spice.  A lot of enjoyment.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back in Action

I was out last Thursday and Friday with a sinus infection and it actually feels good to be back in the office today. That may have something to do with the fact that I really have nothing else on TV to watch.  But the good news is, I'm fully caught up on Parks & Rec -- all of season 3 and what has aired of season 4, with the DVR set to record new episodes.  Yes, life is good.

In other news, I had a burst of energy last night.  This, coupled with the perfectly cool temperature outside, made me want to run.  I was actually feeling quite good on my run (never happens, hence I never run) and then my left knee started hurting.  It felt like a knife was jammed in there and all of my cartilage leaked out.  It still hurts I'm taking the stairs one at a time.  For some reason, things like this always happen to me whenever running "feels good."

Example B: circa March 2007.  I was running in Shandon (Columbia, SC) and had been going a few miles...feeling really, really good.  Up ahead there was a large, cut down tree limb in the road.  For this excellent runner?  Not a problem.  I would easily jump the limb and continue with my proud and easy pace.  The limb wasn't the problem; the unseen pile of debris hiding behind the limb was the problem.  I landed on my left ankle with all of my body weight, somehow skinning my knee, and bruising my entire left leg in the process.

Of course there were some construction men watching all of this go down.  They couldn't have been nicer.  One (literally) picked me up and set me on the back of his truck, grabbing a clean cloth to wipe the blood off my shin.  The other ran inside to get me a bottle of water.  They offered to give me a ride home, but I hobbled the 1/3 or so mile home.  When I took my shoe off, a big blue ankle had replaced my previously white, kankle-free one.  My left ankle still acts up from time to time and I can especially feel it when it rains.  The plus to not having your foot fit in any of your shoes: wearing Crocs to work for a solid two weeks.

The moral of this story: I don't think I'm meant to be a runner.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A bit of a rant.

It's no question that the state of SC is having some financial difficulties these days.  School districts all across the state have spread their budgets very thin just to retain teachers and keep the lights on.  Or so I hear...

Every day on my way to work, I drive past an elementary school and everyday I wonder: why are there now four crossing guards to help kids walk across the street?  The past two school years, there have only been two.  To my knowledge, there hasn't been an increase in students at this school or an increase in kids that walk to school. Everything looks the same as always, but there are twice as many crossing guards.

To me the kicker is, of those four, two stand together and talk the entire time.  Really?  Last time I checked, it didn't take two men to help one or two tiny kids cross the street.  Perhaps worse than this: the woman that is most often times in her car and on her cell phone.  The fourth fella is a block or so away from the school.

All of these things grind my shorts.  Especially since our county voted to increase our sales tax (now at 8.5%) so that 1% would go towards education.  If spending education money this way is considered right, I'd prefer to be wrong.

Monday, October 3, 2011

GOB, Buster, and Lucille, oh my!

I'm a huge fan of Arrested Development.  It never gets old to me.  So hearing that a new season and movie are actually  finally, in the making makes me super excited!

Part of me still thinks this is some twisted and cruel joke, but here's hoping it's not!