Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yummy Wednesday - Chorizo Hash

Over a year ago, we started getting our meat from True Cost Farms.  Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, eggs...  It's all good!  Occasionally, they send out suggested recipes for the cuts of meat we get - and this was in the newsletter this month.  Delish!

You'll need:
2-3 links Chorizo sausage, sliced
7 or 8 small potatoes, chopped
2 bell peppers (we used red and green), sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, sliced
Olive oil for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste

To make:
1.  Drizzle an iron skillet with olive oil, and when heated add the potato chunks.  Cook til browned, then place in the oven at 375 degrees.  Let cook for 30 minutes, maybe... 
2.  Drizzle another skillet with olive oil, add the peppers and onion.  Cook til tender, but not soggy. 
3.  Add the potatoes and sausage to the peppers and onions.  Cook til the sausage is warmed up.
4.  And a little salt and pepper - and waa-la! 

This made 4 servings for us, served with some homemade bread and a little Pinot Grigio.


Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Halloween!
2.  Pumpkin cupcakes.
3.  Candlelight.
4.  Yummy dinners.
5.  True Cost Farms.
6.  Getting plane tickets to visit my sister and her family in Idaho!
7.  Cute trick-or-treaters.
8.  Compromises.
9.  People reaching out to help Hurricane Sandy victims.
10.  Our dog' shennanigans.  They always make us laugh.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thankful Tuesday

I recently got one of those journals that you find in all the gift stores...  You know the ones I'm talking about - brown, cardboard cover - "Cooking Journal,"  "Fishing Journal," "Travel Journal," etc. 

I got "Inspirations: A Gratitude Journal."  And I love it!  I thought I'd share some of my thoughts from it on Tuesdays...  Here goes!

Today's weather, news, events:  Finally!  The sun is out - no more gloomy gray!  The news is full of coverage of yesterday's Hurricane Sandy on the east coast.  7 million people without power.  16 died.  So far, Facebook and texting has enabled me to hear from those I know out there - and all are good.  The election has pretty much been put on hold - except for the annoying commercials.

I am grateful for:  Safety of friends in the storm.  Power.  Clean water.  Sunshine.  Warm oatmeal.  Pumpkin cupcakes.  New friendships.  Making plans for travel!  The sounds of owls at night, outside our windows.  Smartwool socks.

Spiritually I:  Have been intrigued with the idea of "self-control" all this week.  Not just on little things, like food cravings and biting my tongue - but the big things like attitude and choices made that reflect my priorities and values.  Hubby and I even had a discussion over dinner last night about this idea...  So many things to think about!

People in my thoughts today:  Obviously, the hurricane victims.  Friends, former youth group kids, kids of friends, etc.  They're all in my prayers today!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  My favorite moment of the week so far?  Last night, Mike and I were cleaning up after dinner, and I was singing and dancing around like a complete dork.  I asked him, jokingly, if he ever regrets marrying a dork?  He replies, very seriously, "No.  In fact, I love that when we have problems or issues it is never about our marriage...  It's usually about having too much fun together - cooking, going out, traveling, trying new things, etc, etc!"  I just started laughing.  He took my dork comment and made it into a philosphical commentary about our marriage!  I loved it.

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Since I work from home on Mondays, so far this week...  Notes of encouragement, took birthday treats for a youth group kid on Sunday, checking in on Hurricane friends...

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Ha ha ha.  Tomorrow is Halloween.  My goal is to not eat a piece of candy for each one I hand out...!  Practicing self-control, you know!  (I've done good so far - I bought the candy on Friday, and haven't touched it!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Homebody Monday - Shrines

"The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."
--William Morris, The Aims of Art

I recently picked up Gretchen Rubin's new book, Happier at Home and started reading her second happiness project - all about making her home a happier place. Kind of fun, right?

I already think of my home as a happy place - the place I can't wait to be everyday... But what if there's ways to make it even happier?! Oh my... Challenge taken!

Here's one of my favorite quotes about happiness, in the "Preparation" chapter:
"Research shows that happiness is the cause AND effect of many desirable circumstances, such as a strong marriage, more friends, better health, success at work (including making more money), more energy, better self control (there's that idea again!), and even longer life. Although people sometimes assume that the happy are self-absorbed and complacent, just the opposite is true. In general, happiness doesn't make people want to sip daiquiris on the beach; it makes them want to help rural villagers gain better access to clean water..."

Gretchen's first focus for the project is on "Possessions." Not because she feels controlled by things, but because they have a tendency to weigh us down. Unless we "cultivate" them! She says, "Cultivating my possessions, then, wasn't a simple matter of organization, elimination, or accumulation; it was a matter of engagement. When I felt engaged with my possessions, I felt enlivened by them, and when I felt disengaged from them, I felt burdened."

So true...

So the first "challenge" was to "create a shrine." Take the time to highlight and care for the things that engage us. It's an arrangement of things that call attention to something particular, engages us in a particular reaction or mood, and celebrates something that is important to us.

The more I read, the more I realized I already arrange my house with certain "shrines!"
Family and Friends.
Books - the Joy of Reading!
Fun!  (Games, Wii, dvd player, a scrapbook of concert tickets, and a marriage anniversary book to record our life every year!)
Mike's fun.
My Grandpa.  A wood-carver and outdoor enthusiast!
My Grandma, Baba.  Rainbows, angels, and sea shells.
Little reminders of fun moments.
And now? I'm in the process of creating more... For sure one for "Travel."

What kind of "shrines" do you have around your house? I'd love to hear!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Pumpkin granola.
2.  Prayers.
3.  Spellcheck.
4.  Planning events with friends.
5.  A day to work from home.
6.  Duvets.
7.  Funny note from friends.
8.  Sales.
9.  A week with no evening meetings!  Woohoo!
10.  Kayla won a Cities Sampler this year - no standing in line in the cold!  Woohoo!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Inspirations - Attitude

"Everything we encounter throughout the day is a spiritual opportunity, if we approach it with love.  Every moment challenges us to rise to our highest: to choose strength over weakness, forgiveness over blame, faith over faithlessness, and love over fear.  And when we can't, we ask God to help us."

"...The attention we pay to the nature of our thinking, therefore, is the most powerful attention we can pay."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

This morning in church, the sermon was about the "fruits of the Spirit" - specifically, self-control.  Many jokes were made about eating too much Halloween candy, and using the vices we each have to unhealthy results.  We even watched a video about kids and the "marshmallow test" that's used to test delayed gratification...  And while, yes, I have some definate issues with self-control in those areas (chocolate, anyone?) - my evening reading tonight made me think about the issue of self-control in a bigger sense, too.

Attitude.  In a conversation this week, a woman was filling me in on the hard time she and her husband are having...  And by the end of the conversation, she said, "I look at the other prayer requests and realize this is nothing really.  It will get better.  We pray and we keep moving forward and we're still very blessed."

Attitude is everything.  How we choose to view the world and the situations we find ourselves in - that's everything.  If I dwell on the problems of my day - I forget to notice the little things my husband does to make my life easier.  If I let one negative, biting comment get me down - I overshadow all the wonderful words that have lifted me up.  If I hold grudges, I miss out on new possibilities and a lighter heart.  If I live in my past, I miss out on the joy of today and the hope of tomorrow.

I pray today that God guides me how to live a bigger and better life - through self-control.  Control over my thoughts and attitude.  I pray that my heart is light and full of love everyday.  And when it's not...  That I remember to ask for help.

(And yes...  Ditto on the chocolate addiction, too!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Hubby finally turned the furnace on!
2.  Celebrating Maggie's birthday with Ghiradelli brownies.  Yum.  (Chocolate, yes.  But I only had one!)
3.  Youth group kids making me laugh.
4.  Celebrating another birthday at church this morning - a spunky, lovely 90 year old!
5.  Sharing lunch with a friend and his two little ones.
6.  Yummy chili on a cool day!
7.  Watching my hubby play with Nola and Fin.  He's crazy.  And they loved it.
8.  A happy dog.
9.  Cuddling on the coach for our evening shows.
10.  Starting a new book!

"For as any one of us finds our wings, the entire world is lifted."
--Marianne Williamson

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Fun - Concerts, Beer, and Witches, Oh My!

"Three things are needed for a good life, good friends, good food, and good song."
--Jason Zebehazy

I love when the fun of the week is almost all spontaneous, shared with friends, and a little silly.
Life is good. 

The weekend started Thursday with an call from the hubby during the workday, asking if we could go to a concert that evening.  A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin.  Cheap tickets.  New venue.  Good music.  A friend free to join us.  Sounds good to me!

Friday night we were supposed to be camping out in line for our allotment of the 2012 Surly "Darkness" beer.  By late morning we realized we weren't tough enough to camp in 20 degree weather...  So we invited another friend over for some beer tasting.  Warm and cozy.  Good company.  Some great beers.  Another lovely evening!

Today, was our church's annual UNICEF carnival for the little kids of the church and neighborhood.  I got to get dressed up, play with little kids, eat "mummy dogs," and laugh at our magic show.  It may be kind of a silly event - but I do look forward to it every year!
What fun did you have this week?
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Cuddles.
2.  "Haute Chocolate" nail polish.
3.  Teenage boys who volunteer at little kids' events.
4.  Laughing with friends.
5.  Adorable pics of kids in costumes.
6.  The love and labor that parents put into their kids' costumes.
7.  The hubby's work winterizing our house!
8.  Making brownies for a youth group member's birthday.
9.  A "smiling" coyote enjoying a sunspot in the tall grass on the side of the road this morning!
10.  A sunny day!  Finally!
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