Monday, January 31, 2011

Grocery Bag

We have made it through my last day of medical school weekend call, and this week we are on to my last week of Neurology!  With my LAST call night and LAST exam of medical school this week, meals will call for extra planning to allow for maximum sanity.  But, oh, will I feel like celebrating next weekend!

Day One
Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie from Cooking Light Magazine
I prep the potpie base the night before and store it in the fridge overnight.  That way I can whip the biscuit topping together when I get home and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.  This recipe is GREAT!  Full of great veggies, the base is DELISH (don't forget to taste and season to your preferences), and no can-of-cream-soup required!

Photo and recipe at

Day Two
Hamburger Stroganoff from Cooking Light Magazine
with egg noodles and steamed peas
We love stroganoff recipes in our house.  This one uses ground beef from our grass-fed cow and is easy enough to prepare when I get home in the evening.

Photo and recipe at

Day Three
Pesto Tortillini with spinach
and orange slices 
We love tortillini with the homemade pesto sauce I store in the freezer.  Since the sauce is already green, I can easily mix in some pureed spinach into the sauce and the kids have no idea they are getting extra veggies. 

Day Four
Crockpot chicken 
with steamed broccoli & Irish oatmeal soda bread
 A whole chicken meets my slow cooker in the morning, and 10 hours later on LOW I have a fully-cooked chicken ready for dinner.  Don't forget to cover the leftover chicken bones with water and cook overnight in the slow cooker for an awesome homemade chicken stock!  
The Irish soda bread is my current favorite.  I make the oats version of the recipe.

Day Five
Corn chowder from Food and Wine Magazine
with Irish oatmeal soda bread
This is my favorite corn chowder recipe.  Pureeing half of the soup gives it a very creamy texture.  This soup is a great way to use up some of the chicken stock I made from my slow cooker chicken overnight the night before.  YUM!

Photo and recipe at

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Persevering at Work

As our friends who are residents know, there are many days when going to work feels like drudgery, days at work that cause you to question whether going into medicine was the right decision.  T has now spent nearly a decade in medical training, and there have been many moments along the way when he has wondered if he made the right decision.

T has asked friends and role models for their philosophy regarding work by posing the question, "how much should you enjoy the work that you do?"  Because, to be honest, there have been days, months, maybe even years, when he hasn't particularly enjoyed his job.  Is it worth persevering in your work even if you don't really enjoy it?  Will perseverance today result in fulfillment in the future?  Or is it better to search for work elsewhere, something different, something more enjoyable?

T has shown great patience, perseverance and devotion in his work, even on days when he hasn't necessarily enjoyed it.  We have taken the approach that work is called "work" for a reason, because it isn't necessarily enjoyable, perhaps even most of the time.  We have chosen to trust that, by doing a job well even if it isn't enjoyable, we are doing our part to make the world a better place, provide for our family and provide for others.  

This morning, the Lord seemed to confirm T in his work in a very special way.  T is on call this weekend and by 6am he had been paged that a patient had arrived with a femur fracture that would require surgery.  As he got dressed to go into the hospital, T turned to me and said, "you know, as long as I am on call, I actually feel like I might enjoy going in to do this today."  After so long, he finally felt a little more excited and a little less intimidated to go into work.  It was a feeling he couldn't fake, a moment of giving thanks that encouraged us.  I share this today as a reminder to us of the value of perseverance and for others who struggle to persevere in their work.

"'Just live your ordinary life; work where you are, trying to fulfill the duties of your state in life, 
finishing off the tasks in your professional work or job properly, improving, getting better each day.  
Be loyal; be understanding with others and be demanding of yourself.  Be mortified and cheerful.  
This will be your apostolate.
...When you have finished your work, do your brother's, helping him, for love of Christ, so tactfully and so naturally that not even the person you are helping realizes that you are doing more than in justice you ought.  This indeed is virtue befitting a son of God.'

May God infuse in my soul the desire to make of my work, not a self-centered activity geared to my own interests, but a service that is open and useful to many, done in the certainty that this ideal of service to others will give a new, higher and more joyful meaning to my life.

 ~Selected from Saint Josemaria Escriva, Novena for Work

Friday, January 28, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, 
but life itself would come to be different.  
~Katherine Mansfield

About halfway through each of my rotations, the kids and I need attitude adjustments.  They seem to get squirrelly, I tend to get more tired & impatient.  This week, I have found myself having to remind my bears more than usual to stop whining, cease complaining, desist in their crankiness and reset their mood.  Tisk, tisk, I think to myself, why do my toddlers make life so much harder on themselves by succumbing to bad moods?

Then I realized the other day, as I overheard another hospital worker complain on and on about her day and inconveniences, that no matter our age, we are all prone to succumb to bad attitudes.  Her complaints rang loud in my ears, but I wondered, how often do I let my complaining and negativity run amuck unchecked?   

Nothing ruins the potential of a day, distracts us from doing good work, sours moods or affects relationships like a bad attitude.  As often as I try to instruct my toddlers on the merits of changing their attitude, I ought to remind myself.  Getting out of work late?  Be thankful to get to go home!  Dinner not made?  Be thankful that we have food in the cupboards!  Responsibilities overwhelming at home or work?  Be thankful for the faculties to tackle them!  

There now, Queen B, isn't that better?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Breakfast at GranMo's House

I got the morning off today for my prenatal appointments, and the kids had breakfast at MoMo's house so I could go alone.  Here is a picture as well as the menu that E-Bear and G-Bear enjoyed for breakfast this morning.  Her meals seem to be far more impressive than any of mine :)

Breakfast at MoMo's

Glazed donut holes with whipped cream dip & sprinkles
Selection of yogurt
Chocolate bunnies cereal
Cranberry~Raspberry Juice
Chocolate Milk


Thank the Lord for Grandmothers!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grocery Bag

We are buckling down for another big week at work, including a few call days for me and a week of call for T.  Better be prepared!   And yet, we seem to take it one day at a time around here......

Day One:
Winter Baked Ziti from Finding Joy in My Kitchen
I made this a day ahead and it is ready in the refrigerator for when I get home.  
The recipe calls for carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, but my kids will never know!
The sauce tastes amazing, and the dish looks great! 

Photo and recipe from SnoWhite at Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Day Two:
with homemade bread
This is one of my favorite meals to leave for T and the kids when I am away on call.
We love this soup.
Photo and recipe at

 Day Three
Spinach Fettuccine from Cooking Light Magazine
with orange slices and homemade bread

Photo and recipe at

Day Four
Spinach Mozzarella Calzones
with mixed green and pear salad
If I start the calzone dough in the breadmaker in the morning, I just have to add the spinach, marinara sauce and mozzarella to the calzones in the evening.  We love our calzone/pizza dough recipe!

Pizza/Calzone Dough
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rapid rise yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp regular yeast)
Mix together in a standing mixer or add to bread maker on the "dough" setting.

Day Five
Sloppy Joes from The Pioneer Woman
with homemade whole wheat rolls from Finding Joy in My Kitchen,
carrot sticks and apples
These sloppy joes are fabulous, one of my latest go-to recipes.
We also LOVE SnoWhite's whole wheat dinner rolls.  I can make the dough in the morning and it is ready to bake when I get home.

Photo and recipe at The Pioneer Woman

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

We love Sesame Street

The bears were already excited when they woke up this morning.  As T told his boss in the OR today, we had the hottest tickets in town tonight:

Tonight, Papa and MoMo treated us all to dinner and a night out to Sesame Street Live.  My goodness, did we have fun!  I am ever amazed by the way that my children are captivated by Sesame Street characters and programs.  Other TV shows are background noise by comparison.  I am also amazed by how much I enjoy watching Sesame Street with them.  Tonight was no exception.  

E-Bear waved hello and welcomed every muppet by name as they came out on stage.  He was breathless with excitement as he recognized each one that appeared.  G-Bear laughed with delight.  Both bears sang along with the songs, clapped and stomped along with the cheers, and shouted enthusiastically when the characters asked the audience questions.  They were so riveted, I think that they each blinked twice during the whole hour-and-a-half long program.  Ok, maybe they blinked three times.  

During the brief intermission, MoMo pulled Mrs. Fields cookies out of her purse for a treat and Papa couldn't resist bringing the kids up to the stage to buy an Elmo balloon.  The three of them walked back, each holding a bit of the balloon string so tightly, to be sure it didn't sail away.  I couldn't tell who was most delighted: G-Bear, E-Bear or Papa.  Just so you know, I remember him doing the same for me when I was a little bear.  

In the end, the muppets learned the fun and importance of healthy habits like getting good rest, brushing teeth, eating healthy foods ("Eating your colors"), and exercising.  For us, the wholesomeness of the evening went way beyond the moral of the story.   I am not sure if it was as the six of us were sitting in our snug booth at the restaurant before the show, or as I watched the bears run full speed across the skyway with Papa and MoMo to the ticket gate, or as I snuggled E-Bear on my lap so he could see the stage, or as we walked out of the auditorium hand in hand, but at some point--actually, at each of those points--my heart welled up with thanks for joy, excitement and family closeness that my parents and Sesame Street brought into our lives tonight.   E-Bear will talk about tonight for weeks.  T asked G-Bear what she thought of the show.  "I thought it was amazing," she replied.  Amazing is right.  Thanks to Papa, MoMo, Elmo and the whole Sesame Street gang.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Doubly Blessed

If you happen to join us for dinner sometime soon, you won't have to worry about praying over your food at meal time.  My kids will be happy to do it for you......twice.  But, they will be happy to have you join in with them.

T likes to joke that our family is making up for all the times we have forgotten to bless our food before we eat it.  G-Bear and E-Bear currently have two favorite mealtime prayers, and they insist on saying both of them together as a family before we eat every meal.  Hopefully it isn't a reflection on my cooking ;)

Here are our kid's current favorites.  Hope we get to eat with you sometime soon and learn your favorite meal blessings!

The "New Prayer" 
(most recent addition, thanks to G-Bear's Sunday School)
Editor's note: many of you will find our family's title for this prayer amusing, because this prayer is certainly not new, nor is it in anyway original to our family.  But, it wasn't the prayer we started out with as a family, and we are enjoying it's "newness" in our lives these days.  It is super-cute to hear E-Bear and G-Bear's toddler voice version of it, especially when it comes to words like "bounty" and "receive":)

Bless us, oh Lord,
and these Thy gifts,
which we are about to receive,
from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord,

The "Singing Prayer"
(thanks to our cousins, who taught us this prayer when G-Bear and E-Bear were wee bears)
(to the tune of "Are you sleeping" without the repeats!)

God our Father, we thank you
for our many blessings,
Ah-men, Ah-men!

Like I said, doubly blessed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Grocery Bag

T and I start out this week with a rare treat--a day off together for MLK Day!   A three day weekend together as a family is more rare than a leap year with T in residency.  You can bet we will make the most of it as a family today!  Here is our meal plan for the week, as we are back to the real world tomorrow:

Day One
Veggie Fried Rice from Southern Living Magazine
with Naan 
This fried rice recipe is light, full of veggies and one of our favorites.  Naan is an Indian flat bread found at specialty stores and grocery stores.  While we have been known to attempt making our own naan, worknight dinners call for store-bought at our house.

Photo and recipe at

Day Two
Pesto Chicken Mozzarella Pizza
with pears and mixed green salad
We LOVE our homemade pesto (which I store in the freezer), and homemade pizza dough, but store bought works too.  Slice up ball mozzarella for a special, fresh-tasting treat.  I make the pizza dough in the morning and cook/chop the chicken ahead of time. That way we are half an hour from dinner when I get home!

Day Three
Black Bean Burrito Bake from Cooking Light
with steamed corn and apple slices
I add the zest and juice of one 1/2 lime to the burrito mixture.  
We often double this recipe for our crew of 4.
Photo and Recipe from

Day Four
Slow cooker spicy shredded beef 
with corn bread and steamed broccoli
A 2-3 lb. roast with 2-3 cups salsa goes into the slow cooker in the morning.  After 8-10 hours on Low, I have a delish beef roast ready to be shredded.  It will be Jiffy corn bread for us this week ;)

Day Five
Thick Three Bean Soup
with cheddar biscuits and orange slices

Thick Three Bean Soup
by Happily Ever Johnson

½ cup dried lentils
½ cup dried split peas
28oz chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups potato
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup edemame or lima beans
2 cups chopped onion
½ cup tomato sauce
½ tsp smoked sweet paprika
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
Juice from half a lime

1. Combine the first 9 ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Bring ingredients to a boil.
2. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils, peas and potatoes are tender.
3. Then add paprika, salt and pepper.
4. Simmer for 15 more minutes.
5. Transfer ½ of soup to a blender and puree.
6. Return to pot and stir in the lime juice.

Serve with sour cream and  lime wedges.

Blessings on your kitchen this week!

The Decline Effect

"The decline effect is troubling because it reminds us how difficult it is to prove anything. We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe."

Have you ever heard of the "decline effect?"  It's a phenomenon that doesn't have an official name, but it is a new, touchy subject in the scientific community and the subject of the above-cited and fascinating New Yorker article.  For us as medical trainees, awash in the realms of evidence-based medicine and scolded so long with the stick of the scientific method, this article was fascinating.  The article tackles a recent baffling trend within science and medicine, in which "all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain," in a way, attacking the veracity of reproducibility and the scientific method itself.  

I know, the article is 7 pages long.  Still, it's worth a late-night read or a long trip to the Powder Room.  Read it, think about it, then come over for dinner and wax philosophic (or not so much) with us about it.  T and I live a good bit of our professional lives in a world where evidence-based, double-blind, statistically-proven science is king.  The decline effect resonates with us because it suggests anew that whether scientific or not, we are all taking leaps of faith, it just depends on where we place our faith.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Daddy Joseph

Overheard during story time:

E-Bear (singing): "Mommy Maaary, Baby Jeeeeeesus, Daddy JOPHUS!"

T:  "Say, you two, let's practice something.  Are you ready to practice?"

G-Bear and E-Bear:  "Yeah!"

T: "Ok, repeat after me.   Jo-seph."

G-Bear:  "JO-phus!"

E-Bear:  "Jo-PHUS!"

T:  "Not quite, let's try that again.  Jo-SEFFF."

E-Bear:  "JO-PHUSSSS!"

G-Bear:  "JOPHUS!"

(ten minutes later)

T:  "No, no!  Jos-effff!"


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Neurology, week one

This week has already felt about as long as a neuro exam....and that is looooooong.

G-Bear and E-Bear always weather my first week back at work better than I do.  I don't enjoy starting new jobs, and during the clinical years of medical school we "start a new job" every 4-8 weeks.  Blah.  

The kids are having a great time with Miss R while I am away--I come home to happy, smiling, playful munchkins full of stories from their day.  And today I got home early enough to welcome G-Bear home from school and snuggle her into bed for a quick nap.  Before she fell asleep, she chattered on and on about her day at school, her time with Miss R, the kind of birthday cake she would like for her birthday when she turns four...... was like medicine for my soul.

This week I have especially enjoyed having Baby Bear tucked inside me.   Did we mention last month that we decided not to find out Baby Bear's gender?  T just can't stand spoiling a good surprise :).  So, s/he keeps me warm on my cold winter walk into the hospital, and now that Baby Bear is getting bigger, there are lots of big kicks and swiveling around, as if s/he is trying to keep me company, reminding me that there is excitement ahead, encouraging me that these last 9 weeks won't last forever.  What a blessing little ones are in our lives, even well before they are born.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grocery Bag

Neurology starts today!  I am pretty sure that when I get home from thinking about brains all day, my brain is going to be fried.  Thank goodness for meal plans.  Here's hoping that ours will get us through our week.

Day One
with green peas and apples
YUM!  This is a great recipe.  I like to make it with our leftover butternut quash and apple soup rather than puree.  The kids can't tell the difference between this and regular mac & cheese.  
Photo and recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Day Two
Wine-marinated steak from Cooking Light Magazine
with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans
Time to use up the last of the steaks from our grass-fed cow!  

Photo and recipe at

Day Three
Spaghetti Carbonara from Sunset Magazine
with romaine pomegranate salad and homemade bread
We love a good carbonara recipe, and this one fits the bill.  Quick, hearty, delicious! 
I always add green peas to the pasta for extra veggies.

Photo and recipe from

Day Four
Thai Honey Peanut Tofu with basmati rice and 
garlic-ginger carrots from Cooking Light
The original recipe is with chicken, but tofu works well too.  My kids don't notice the difference :)
I prepare the tofu/chicken in the marinade in the morning--then in the evening we are minutes from dinner.  The carrots are my all-time favorite.
Photo and recipe at Tasty Kitchen
Garlic-ginger carrots photo and recipe at

Day Five
Larb from MyRecipes with romaine lettuce wraps, apple slices
and Rosemary Flat Bread from Tasty Kitchen
Be still my heart.  Have you not yet tried larb?  
This fabulous Thai dish is a family favorite.  Quick to pull together and fabulous flavor.  
The flatbread recipe is fabulous as well-- I made it for a party this weekend and we all loved it! 


Photo and recipe for rosemary flatbread at Tasty Kitchen

Blessings on your kitchen!


T and I were touched by the following story this weekend:

Egypt's Coptic Christian community suffered a terrible attack on New Year's Eve at Saint's Church in Alexandria, where 21 people were killed.  In response to the horrific violence, thousands of Muslims attended the Christmas Mass on Jan 8th (the day of the Orthodox Christmas celebration) to stand in solidarity with their Coptic countrymen.  

The article is a touching recount of the the brotherly act of solidarity.  

Our prayers are with our close Coptic friends, their families in Egypt, and their country.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nine weeks to go...

Most pregnant women are counting down the days until their due date.

Before I do that, I am counting down the days I have left of medical school.

Starting Monday, I have 9 week left.  

I have to make it through brief stints of neurology, urology, and radiation oncology.

This weekend feels like a Marti Gras of sorts.  The last weekend off before my last 9 weeks.

I feel like a swimmer on her final lap: head down, no breathing out of the turn, legs and arms burning....

....but, hallelujah, I can see the finish.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, my G-Bear gave to me......

A beautiful, handmade piece of jewelry!

Both T and I were the lucky recipients of Christmas bracelets from G-Bear tonight at dinner.  She had made them before Christmas with the Amazing Miss R and wrapped them herself.  But, she declared tonight, she had been waiting to give them to us on the LAST day of Christmas.  You should have heard our OOOOs and AAHHHHHs when we opened our gifts tonight.   What a special way to end our Twelfth Day of Christmas!  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Overheard in the house this week #9:

We might just be having too much fun around here....

#3: (Overheard at the dinner table...)
T: "E-Bear, what did you do today?"
E-Bear: "We see baby Jesus!  At G-Bear's shool!"
Me:  "That's right, E-Bear, we saw baby Jesus in the manger outside of G-Bear's school today, didn't we?"
T: "And who else was there with him?"
E-Bear:  "Mawee an Daddy Joe-phus...."
G-Bear: "...and an ANGEL and SHEPHERDS and three KINGS and a CAMEL and Mommy Mary's Cow!"
T: "Mary's cow?  Did she ride a cow?"
G-Bear: "Um, maybe a camel.  Yes, I think it was a camel."
Me:  "Are you sure it wasn't a donkey?"
E-Bear: "Cow!"
G-Bear: "No, let me, I think it WAS a donkey, mommy, you're right."
T: "And did the kings bring baby Jesus presents?"
G-Bear:  "Yes!"
T:  "What presents did they bring?"

#2: (Overheard at bedtime)
G-Bear: "Mommy, next time we have a popcorn treat, can you give me a bowl instead of a plate?"
Me: "Sure, G-Bear."
G-Bear: "Because you gave me too much tonight.  My tummy is too full of popcorn."
Me: "Gosh, sweetie, I am sorry, next time you can have a little bowl."
G-Bear: "You have to remember, mommy, I am just a little girl.  I am not big like daddy.  I am stiiiiiill little."

#1: (Also overheard at the dinner table)
E-Bear: "Mommy!  More noodles, mommy, QUICK, more noodles!"
Me: "E-Bear, while I appreciate your enthusiasm over dinner, I need you to ask in a nicer way if you would like to have more."
E-Bear, pausing to think for a moment: "Mommy, RUN!  More noodles!  Run, mommy, run!"

(Editors note: At this point, T and G-Bear burst out laughing.  I did not run to the kitchen for more noodles, but appreciating the ardor of the request, I did get E-Bear seconds.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Grocery Bag

Welcome back, Grocery Bag!  And welcome to 2011!  May menu planning continue to help us get through our weeks with healthy, home-cooked meals.

Day One
Individual Meatloaf Wellingtons -- T's own idea!
with mixed green salad
T has jokingly requested beef wellington for dinner for months. We decide to come up with a simplified HEJ original version, and here it is.  This recipe is budget and weeknight worthy, but creative and impressive enough for guests!

Individual Meatloaf Wellingtons by T&B Johnson

Makes 12 

1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup minced carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh oregano
2 lbs extra lean grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 steak sauce, such as A1
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 Tbs dijon mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 packages large crescent rolls (enough for 12 crescents)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat.  Saute onion, carrot, garlic and oregano until softened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  
2.  In a large bowl, combine onion mixture with next 7 ingredients and mix well to combine.
3.  Spoon meat mixture into 12 large muffin cups coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.
4.  Remove muffins from oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare a large jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Wrap the cooked meat muffins in the crescent roll dough.

5.  Unroll uncooked crescent roll triangles.  Working one at a time, carefully remove a meatloaf muffin from the muffin pan and place it in the center of a single unrolled piece of crescent roll dough.   Wrap the meat in the dough by pinching the sides of the dough together around the meat muffin.  Repeat with remaining meat muffins and crescent roll dough.  Place wrapped wellingtons on prepared jellyroll pan.  

6.  Bake wellingtons at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pan and serve warm.
Yum!  We love them!

Day Two
with Spinach, pomegranate and orange salad

Yum.  Delicious comfort food.  We add 1 cup of chopped, cooked leftover chicken to the sauce sometimes.  The salad is made by adding chopped orange slices and pomegranate seeds to fresh spinach.  Toss the salad with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Photo and recipe by Ree at The Pioneer Woman

Day Three
Butternut Squash & Apple Soup from Slow Cooker Recipes
with toasted mozzarella sandwich squares
Here is a great slow cooker squash soup--perfect for afternoon prep and an easy dinner.  I find that pureed soups are a great way to get veggies into my kiddos.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup for the Slow Cooker

4 1/2 cups steamed, mashed butternut squash
3-4 cups chicken broth
1-2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs minced onion
1 Tbs packed light brown sugar
1tsp minced fresh sage or 1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup half&half

1.  Combine all ingredients except half&half in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
2. Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and puree, being careful with the hot liquid.  Return soup to slow cooker, keep warm, and stir in half&half just before serving.

Day Four
Beef Stroganoff from Cooking Light Magazine
with steamed green beans 
and Orange Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce from Take Back Your Table

Photo and recipe from

Day Five
Rice with Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Peas from Food & Wine Magazine
with fresh pears

Recipe and photo from
Blessings on your kitchen this week!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy (drip, drip, drip) New Year

Happy New Year?

Something is missing where our faucet used to be.  Oh wait, it's the faucet.

2010 ended with a new motor in our broken furnace.
2011 started with a leaky faucet, which rapidly developed into a broken sink pipe.

Ah, the new year.  From me to you, 2011, welcome.

The day started out with T (who is on call this weekend) getting called to the hospital for a operative case that had come in over night.  We recovered quickly, as the kids and I spent the day at MoMo and Papa's house, eating sweet rolls and watching Alabama win the Capital One Bowl.  T and I got the kids to bed early (after a day with lots of play and no naps) and prepared for an unexpected quiet evening to ourselves.  First on our agenda was to make dinner together.  The evening was set up to be such a treat!

Raise your hand if you love broken pipes!  You can have mine.
An hour later, as I lay sprawled out on the floor in the cabinet under the sink mopping up the tell-tale puddles that had drawn our attention to the problem pipe, I made a decision.  
I decided to start out the year by counting my blessings rather than cursing the circumstances.

#1: T and I were home together, with kids asleep and safely out of the way when the pipe burst.  No curious little helpers, no motherly multitasking for me.  T was here to take the sink apart to find the leak for me.  He is calm and gentle and innovative.  He never once acted frustrated.  

#2:  Although we can't use the kitchen sink, I had just run the dishwasher and we have a utility sink in our laundry room.  T was able to rinse and wash our dinner dishes in the laundry.  

#3 to 1,000,000: 
Our house is warm.  
We have each other.  
We had a night to ourselves to solve the problem.  
We have two precious children asleep upstairs.  
We have full tummies.  
We have a God who loves us and chose just this moment to let this happen.  
We made it to 2011.  

Happy New Year, everyone.  I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, but it seems just as appropriate to start out the New Year by counting blessings.  Hope you will join us.  May God bless 2011 in many more ways.