Thursday, September 26, 2013

Burrito Bowls

What have you been eating lately? Is it still burgers and brats from the grill or have you just said to heck with the weather (which here is up and down more than my kids avoiding bedtime) and pulled out the crockpot, casseroles and soups?

Combine the weather and the busy evening schedules with one kid going as another kid goes. I mean, coming. I mean, what day is it? 

Last week, I was craving Chipotle but my wallet was not wanting the price hit. So I turned to Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats for her knock off Chipotle Bowls. I made them with leftover chicken. 

I made them for the whole family. And they all liked it (in varying degrees).

You need to make these for your whole family.

Use fresh chicken, leftover chicken, leftover turkey, make Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork and use the leftovers in this. (I love a recipe that I can turn the leftovers into something different.)

Store all the parts in separate mason jars. Layer a mason jar with rice, meat, beans and send with someone for lunch. 

I don't mean to be bossy, but this is should probably go on your menu in the next day, week or in the very least, month. I'll let you decide how you choose to store the leftovers.

I have no pictures because we, I, ate it all. 

Also, if you're fueling for a long run or afterwards, this is awesome! 

So tell me, what are you eating that is a surprise hit? 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coming Out Even in the End

Last night I tucked in bed a sad boy because our basketball game was quickly interrupted and we couldn't finish it. My tucking him in was also wedged in between trying to read to him a few pages and having a mama sit upstairs waiting for conversation to help brighten her night before she headed off to work. 
I plopped on the couch, feeling defeated. "When does the God math work out?" I wondered to myself. I've pondered this idea many times in the course of the last year, especially.
"God math" is my term for laying down your life for what really matters. The important but seemingly non-urgent things. It means giving up self. It also means that sometimes other things get set aside. But I'm telling you, for my life, sometimes those lesser important things pile up and I can't handle the undone-ness. 

So here's the thing. I prayed for this for me and my family. He's answering. It looks like this. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13.

It's what I will point my children to. It is holding out the word of life to those who don't know it. It's spending an afternoon visiting with a young mom who needs to be assured that she is doing this mom thing right and that chaos doesn't have to follow her. It is listening to someone talk their crazy out, because heaven knows I've done that. It's playing with a little boy who thinks the world of you instead of getting in your own game. It's inconvenient and time-consuming. It's worth it. 

One of my favorite children's series is the Frances books. In Bread and Jam for Frances, she makes her lunch come out even in the end. Bites of this and bites of that, until it is all evenly gone.
Even though I so desperately want it to work out now it will always feel undone until heaven. There it will all make sense. The parts I don't get now will fit together in His plan. It will give Him glory. 

This isn't what I thought I would post about today. It probably doesn't make any sense but thanks for reading as I typed my crazy out. 

I decided I'd share just a little bit more. She could use some prayer. Our relationship hit a rocky spot at the end of May. I took a break. I saw how God did use me in several ways in her life. I learned a lot. By His goodness we have spent a bit of time together recently. I would love to share some pictures of her and her baby as watching them is powerful but I can't. She is worth more than an ego boost in doing good and is not a sideshow attraction.

Another mom can also use your prayers. When the land of milk and honey, of opportunity, has been opened to you, is it just to fill your pockets and line your bellies or is there more? What she was unable to do and to provide for her young children, she can now but she needs to know it's not because of location, it's because of Him.

This is where my heart is at. This isn't always where my body is at. I'm tired and the mostly non-important piles are accumulating and the most important things (people) are just wanting some Mom time and I need strength for both. It will all come out even in the end. 

Tell me, where you are undone and uneven and how I can pray and encourage you?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ball Jar Print Winner

Looking back through my summer photos, I know I've not yet shared some of my most favorite memories yet. I've alluded to one and said nothing about the other. 

If I can, I will squeeze highlights from those into the next couple of days.

I drew for the Ball Jar Print this morning and Angie is the winner!! Thank you all for sharing with me some of your favorite summer memories. I felt as though I got a little intimate glimpse into your life and could see why they are special. I'm so glad they are your memories!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Racing in New Hartford

It is going to be impossible for me to catch up with all the riding and racing that took place this summer. 
What I can say is that it happened and it keeps happening.
Ben has had a goal for the racing season and reaching it required lots of racing and practicing.
Bill is trying to stay ahead of Ben for as long as he can, so that requires a lot of racing and practicing.
Luke is just getting started and he requires a lot of racing and practicing. 
So that's what they've been doing.

Here's their latest race which was just yesterday in New Hartford.
My parents and Bill's parents all came to cheer the boys on. (No pictures of all of us, which is my bad.)

Luke's race started out dry but by mid-race it was raining and it was difficult riding. Luke wasn't having much fun. I couldn't be with him at the end because I had to take care of Ben but Luke was cold and shivering and was pretty much done riding forever because he was miserable. 

Ben's race was rain for half of it and then it stopped. The course all the way through was wet, muddy and slick. Hard riding conditions for the riders. (I don't have any pictures because Audrey was done picture taking and I was taking care of Ben. You've seen him ride before; he looks the same.) Ben managed a great start and was in the lead right off before his bike died. Bill rushed out to the track to get it started, which it did finally start, but now Ben was way back in the pack. I wandered over to a section where I could see the riders coming through a couple of times. I caught a glimpse of Ben, except he wasn't way in the back. He was in the lead! In the first lap! 

After his race, we lunched on burgers and pasta salad and such and the boys got their award.
There isn't much that turns Luke's frown upside down faster than an award. Since all the rest of his awards have been plaques, this was his first trophy! 
This isn't Ben's first trophy but it's a happy win for him all the same.

Conditions for Bill's race was dry all the way through and the track started to tack up a bit so he didn't end up as muddy as the boys. Bill is doing great getting off the line and is now starting to hang in the top five of most every race.
We watched and cheered for him. And ate cookies.
Nothing draws the boys faster than cookies. All the snickerdoodles were wiped out in a short amount of time.

We've only a couple more races left on the schedule. It's a good thing, too, because I'm going to have to do some trophy rearranging during the off season. 

Usually I like to narrate the pictures but for some reason my computer/Blogger isn't cooperating and I'm not willing to fight it today.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Chicken Parmesan Bruschetta and the Garden

Remember way back to early summer and the story of our garden? When those green dreams were dug into warm soil to be carefully tended on and lovingly nurtured?

Only to come out the next day and find that rabbits do indeed like Everything but especially the broccoli.

Ah, yes, that garden.

Our garden, my friends, has been the subject of sore and delight depending on the point of view taken. To me, a still novice gardener, it is somewhat sore because of the plague of the rabbits. Before I installed chicken wire around the whole thing, it was literally an open salad bar for those critters. I know the word got out- free greens in the Ward's backyard. After chicken wire installation, they stayed away but my poor plants looked weak and wearied. I brought in friend after friend to advise and console me. They all assured me something would grow. 

Now that we're nearing the end of the growing season or at least the end of the growing season of vegetables I know how to grow, I can report something edible has been exhumed from the now bunny barricaded patch. 

We've had approximately 12 strawberries, 10 consumable radishes, 1 pot's worth of mashable potatoes, a small saucepan of green beans, 4 cucumbers, 16 jalapeno peppers, 11 very small onions, 2 green peppers, 20 various tomatoes, and an ice cream bucketfull of grape tomatoes. We are still waiting on the carrots and kale. I'm afraid the broccoli, the one lone surviving broccoli, is not going to make it. 

My friend, Deanna, says its all about experimenting and learning as you go. I've got a lot of going still to learn.

All that being said, we actually have had enough tomatoes to eat and give away without being obnoxious. My grape tomatoes are actually sweeter than my sister's and that's pretty much all the gardening success I need right there.

Today's What 2 Eat recipe is a culmination of staring at tomatoes piled on my counter, knowing we needed a break from pico de gallo and tomato caprese and were going to have BLT's on the weekend. Ok, I don't need a break from any of those things. It's the rest of the family. I drew inspiration from two recipes stuffed in my recipe collection and came up with this.

Chicken Parmesan Bruschetta
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Pepper
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

  • In a shallow dish, beat eggs together. In another shallow dish, combine Parmesan cheese and pepper (to taste). Dip chicken breasts in eggs then in cheese mixture, turning to coat. Place in casserole dish along with 2 tablespoons butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, uncovered. Turn over, add more butter if necessary and bake another 15 minutes until cooked through.
  • Combine chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. 
  • Serve chicken with tomato mixture on top. 
 My kids aren't fans of stuff on top of their meat and chopped tomatoes. I served it all separate and they had to eat a small spoonful of the tomatoes, which they did (and didn't die, amazingly). 
What's on your plate this week and did it come from your garden? 

Is a favorite summer memory from your garden? Tell me here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Last of Summer with a Giveaway

This print sits framed on a rusty yellow cart on my back deck. A mason jar jammed full of the flowers only summer brings. It brings a smile to my face.

Even though summer is taking it's last stand with heat and humidity, fall is warming up with changing and falling leaves. It can't help it.

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to share my favorites of this past summer with you. It's now or never. 

Today is my 500th blog post! Thanks for continuing to read my ramblings. Let's celebrate with a giveaway.

If you'd be so kind to leave a comment and share with me a favorite memory of this summer, you'll be entered to win this print from me. It's an 8x10 print from The Wheatfield. I will draw for a winner next week. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zucchini Galette and Nectarine Crostata

I might try something new on here. What to Eat (on Wednesday or Thursday or Monday or whenever I get to it) weekly feature. I'm gonna try to keep it simple in format. An idea, a picture, maybe a recipe or a link.

This idea comes out of meeting with Kim and Jen as we discussed carpool schedules and then we talked about what we were having for supper. I immediately put their ideas on my menu and just like that, two meals were taken care of for the week. 

First up is Zucchini Galette. Pie crust is rolled out. Ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, garlic and more are mixed together and spread over the crust. Thinly sliced zucchini is layered on top and the crust is folded over and baked. To my surprise, the whole family loved this!

Second is Nectarine Crostata. I've never made a crostata. It is literally easier than pie! The second pie crust from the box (I'm not that good of a pie crust maker.) is rolled out. Thinly sliced nectarines tossed with flour, sugar and a bit of orange juice and/or zest are piled in the center. Sprinkle with a buttery crumb topping, fold crust and bake. This recipe is based off of Ina Garten's Summer Fruit Crostata in the Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook but you could look up any crostata recipe and use any kind of fruit. 

What are you eating this week?