Random

9.  A cappella music makes me happy.

26.  I love fermented butter.  [Editor’s note:  It’s really cultured butter.  Just forgot the name for a moment when I posted.]

5.  Owl City’s music can be SO random, but you have to love it anyway.

1.  I need to focus.

57.  When are they going to come out with windshield wipers for eyeglasses?  Just asking.

18.  Buttered quinoa = amazing.

3.  [I just lost a whole chicken thigh down the disposal, and I had to go in after it!]

80.  [Or at least my hand did.]

2.  For dinner, I’m mincing up garlic and ginger, and chopping some green onions.  It’s Asian-inspired!

95.  My brother’s mowing the grass for the first time this season.  Yay Spring!

77.  I pinched my tongue with a broken apple juice box straw.  Yup.

6.  This Friday night, my little sister and I will [hopefully] be having a slumber party – the whole nine yards.  Fun food, makeup, a movie, and music.  Should be great!

39.  Why doesn’t your computer automatically switch to capital letters after the end of the sentence, and then switch back (like phones do)?

14.  My room is a mess, but isn’t it always.

Speaking of that, that’s what I should be doing!

Love,
Allison

I’m Still Alive and a Fish Recipe

Yes.  I’m still here.

Sorry for the long(ish) absence.  Life has been really crazy over here.  (Actually, I should be cleaning my room right now.  But, hey.)

On Tuesday two good friends and I put together a fancy dinner for the leadership couples in our church.  It was a BLAST – but still a lot of work, and very exhausting.  We decorated our basement, and set up a table with white tablecloths down there.  The night of, all of us – my friends and their brothers and I and my siblings – dressed up fancy and served/waited on the parents.

Anyways, lots of fun, but it took up Monday (cooking and prepping) and Tuesday (more cooking, prepping, and then serving).  Wednesday was takedown and we had company, Thursday Mom and I had to run an errand, and on Friday I spent the day at a friend’s home making Milky Way Bars (which was a blast).  And today Mom and I went shopping again.

So, basically, I’ve been busy.

Now, a (hopefully) brief story – I have some large-ish hoop earrings that I wear quite a bit.  Well, on Monday I went to put them on, and one broke.  I was pretty bummed!  I wear those a lot!  Thankfully, Mom had just received a coupon in the mail for Kohl’s (where I got my first pair) and I was hopeful that I could find another pair.

Today Mom and I went to Kohl’s, and they didn’t have any.  I was not too thrilled to say the least.  So on the way home we stopped at a different Kohl’s, and they had a pair of the hoops!  Not only that, but they were on sale, along with a bunch of other earrings, so I got several pairs.  And that makes me really happy. 🙂

Also, I got some pairs that *actually* have color on them, which makes me happy that I am branching out (most of my earrings are silver).

Moving on now.

I made this really tasty fish for dinner.  It turned out so well that I want to post it here, mostly so that I can make it again (I am bound to forget).

So, without further ado (or earrings), here it is.

Fish in Sauce (I am really creative with names, am I not?)

10 fillets of fish (mine was either catfish or tilapia, I didn’t look)
Salt and Lemony-Dill Seasoning (or dill)
Butter (and lots of it!)
1 onion, minced
2 c. Chicken broth
1/2 c. Water
3 Lemons, juiced
Dill and lemony-dill seasoning
Minced green onions

1.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Fry the fish over medium heat on both sides until cooked through, being careful not to overcook.  Sprinkle the fish with salt and lemony-dill seasoning while it’s frying.  Add butter as necessary to keep it from sticking.  When cooked, transfer to a 9×13” pan.

2. Scrape out any burned bits from the pan and pour out any burned butter.  Add a pat of butter and the onion, and sauté until softened.

3.  Add the broth, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add four tablespoons of cold butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until the piece of butter is gone.  Sprinkle the dill and lemony dill seasoning into the sauce.

4.  Sprinkle some green onions over the fish in the pan, pour the sauce on it, then sprinkle some more green onions on top.

Enjoy!

If you try this, please let me know if you like it!

Love,
Allison

Friday Night

We were most of the way through dinner when Drake gave me a sideways look.

“I wonder who could hold water in their mouth longer.”

I finished my last few bites quickly (or at least I tried to), then raised my glass to Drake an took a sip of water.

Game on!

We both lifted our cups to our lips, and took mouthfuls of water.

And so it started.

I got up and started clearing the table.  Since Dad was playing music, I started dancing around (kind of showing off :)).  I pulled out a piece of masking tape and wrote on it, “I have a feeling that this is going to end in water coming out of someone’s nose.”  I showed it to everyone, then wrapped it across my forehead.

Drake pointed at me, and then did thumbs down.  “You’re going DOWN!”  I shook my head, then signed the same thing back to him.  “No, YOU’RE going down!”

And then Dad put on a song that was in three.  I started waltzing around.  Drake stared waltzing around on the other side of the room.  We both stopped, and then Drake entered the kitchen.  He was standing real close to me, and I jumped away from him.  I didn’t know what he was doing!  I thought he was trying to make me swallow/spit out my water.

Then he stared to waltzing around, and I could tell that he wanted me to waltz with him.  So I did.

And that proved to be my downfall.

We had been waltzing for 3 counts when Mom said “Look!” or something like that.

And that’s when I lost it.  I started laughing.  Not just giggling, like I had been doing off and on the whole time, but really laughing.

I knew, at that moment, that I was done for.

I ran to the bathroom and spat out my water.  After coughing, I burst out laughing.

Drake had followed me, and was silently celebrating.  He waited a bit longer, then spat out his water.

After talking a bit, I told him, “We’ll have to do that again.”  I still thought I could win.

“Don’t get your hopes up.” he replied.

Just another Friday night.  🙂

I’m Still Alive

Yes, I am.  Although I am tempted to say just barely.  🙂

This weekend was our annual Men’s Advance.  And it went really well (at least from my view of things it did).  I helped it the kitchen, which was great, as usual.  But it is all very, very exhausting.

Very exhausting.

And on top of that, a cold is going around our church, and I could tell last week that, although I wasn’t sick yet, I was going to be soon.  So I did what I could to ward off that cold, but I had it on Monday.

It is appearing to be a real mean one.  As in it isn’t going to let off easy.

*Sigh*

Well, I had several wonderful grain free things over this weekend, and now I have been wanting to make them, as well as several other things that I have been wanting to make, but just haven’t gotten around to.  So, instead of making a mental list (which I am probably going to forget anyway, since my brain is out of it), I am going to make a list here.

(I know.  Another food list.  But bear with me.  It is hard not to be able to make any of these things, due to no energy, and the fact that I don’t want sugar while I am sick.  So hopefully this will help me let off some steam.)

1. Quiche or egg casserole.  Probably quiche, since it has crust.  I want crust.

2. Grain-free scones.  A dear friend of mine had these at their home when we were there for brunch, and THEY WERE AMAZING.  And I put butter on mine.  ‘Nuf said.

3.  Grain-free chocolate chip biscotti.  Again, another dear friend of mine made these, and I had them while at there home for brunch.  AND THEY WERE REALLY AMAZING.  And I need some again.  I think they had walnuts and raisins in them too.

4.  Grain-free biscuits.  I got a new recipe from a friend, and it is even better that the recipe I had tried.  I need something to slather some butter on.

5.  I need to make an apple crumble.  I tried to make walnut flour, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my walnuts never made flour.  Just a moist crumble-y thing that reminded me of a crumble. 

 

So that’s that.

What are you making/craving/hoping to make soon?

Do you have a cold?

The Valentine’s Day Incident and Herbed Rolls

I was trying to be the “good” babysitter, even though I wasn’t really babysitting.  I had just made a fresh batch of chocolate cupcakes, and, since we were going to watch a movie while Mom and Dad watched theirs (Valentine’s date), I thought I would be fun and let my siblings have cupcakes in the basement.

But I had this feeling of apprehension as I put some cupcakes on a plate.  They were chocolate…but hey, we had eaten other desserts in the basement without incident.  What difference would cupcakes be? Still.

I even made Meiling and Noah use forks.  Just to be safe.  Little did I know…

I had unwrapped Meiling’s cupcake and given it to her on a plate, and was working on prepping Noah’s, when suddenly their was a commotion.

Lucy had a cupcake – a chocolate one, at that – in her mouth.  Drake was doing his best to prevent her from eating it, while holding her.

I hastily set down Noah’s cupcake and grabbed the cupcake top (she wasn’t lucky enough to grab the whole thing) out of her mouth.  I squeezed as much frosting out of her “beard” as I could, then let her go.

“Take her upstairs!” I said to Drake, as I protected the cupcake-laden area of the floor.  Of course the cupcake had landed frosting-side down.  I sent Noah upstairs for a bowl (also, the frosting-side-down had landed right in the middle of the toy cars and road rug that were all over the floor) to put the dirty cars in.

And then we started laughing.  And laughing.

“Well,” I said to Drake, “At least her breath smells better now!”

There was just something so funny about the whole business.  I had to go interrupt Mom and Dad.  And, laughing, tell them the whole thing.

Lucy had hopped up on Meiling’s lap, since Meiling was sitting on a low chair, and snatched the cupcake right off the plate.

The little stinker.

Lucy didn’t ingest enough chocolate to make her sick, and we got the ensuing mess cleaned up quickly and got our movie rolling shortly.

 

Recently I picked up The Joy of Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Baking at the library.  I was really thrilled, since it uses all sorts of nut and seed flours.  I tried one of their roll recipes, and they turned out wonderfully!  Their waffle recipe was AWESOME, also.  I am hoping to try another recipe before I return the book, and before the week is out.

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My rolls

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Two Cookies and Two Chilies (and a Kitchen Chore)

Today Drake and I ran several errands together.  We had quite a bit of fun, even though the errands weren’t all that exciting.  Drake’s a lot of fun. 🙂

A few days ago Meiling and I had some kitchen time together.  Mom had purchased 2 bricks of cheese, not realizing that we already had 2 at home.  Meiling and I started our time together with shredding the cheese.  We used the food processor, which, when you shred cheese in it, makes these tasty little cheese balls, which we eat with great satisfaction.  Mmmm…  We don’t usually use the food processor for cheese, since it can be a bit of a pain to clean, but this was a great excuse to pull it out.

We also worked on spaghetti, which was our dinner.  (No photos, so I won’t elaborate.)

Last on our list was to bake cookies.  We made chocolate chip cookies and flourless chocolate fudge cookies.  The chocolate chip cookies I made using our family favorite recipe, altering it to be grain-free and made with coconut sugar.  The flourless chocolate fudge cookies were a recipe was one I found online.  Right after I made it, I didn’t like them, and neither did Drake.  (Noah liked them, though.)  I tried them today, and they were much better.  It’s surprising how much difference a few days can make.

Today I made two chilies – our regular chili recipe, a slow-cooker recipe from ATK’s family cookbook, and a buffalo chicken chili I found on the internet.  It’s in celebration of my dad coming home – he has been out of town.  They (the chilies) are both really, really good.  The buffalo chicken chili is spicy, although that is a bit of a given, isn’t it?

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Bricks of cheese

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Shredded cheese

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Sisters ❤

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Chocolate Chippers

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And the other kind with a really long name

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Today – buffalo chicken chili…

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and our regular chili (BAD picture – but I didn’t feel like trying again)

Snow and Paleo Biscuits

Here is another “mixed” post – food and something else.  Funny how that happens.  But I guess that is the way my life is.  🙂

I saw a recipe for Paleo biscuits a few months ago.  I was intrigued.  But 6 egg whites?  I really don’t like using only half of the egg.

I was reminded of these last week when I made some regular biscuits.  And today I tried them.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

They have a different texture, and a different flavor than regular biscuits, but I still really enjoyed them.  It was lovely to have something to spread butter and jam on again.  Mmmm…

When I had the dough all mixed up, I didn’t think that it would work.  It didn’t really stick together.  Even when I scooped it into the muffin pans and tried to press them together, they still crumbled.  But once they were baked, they stuck together fairly well.  As my family can attest, they were a bit crumbly, so I just spread the butter and jam on top instead of putting it inside.  (They were enjoying watching me eat one at dinner, as I tried as hard as I could to have it crumble only into my mouth.)

Here is where you can find the recipe.  I might try to add some salt next time, but I am not sure how that will alter how they rise.  Note:  I am not familiar with this website, and do not claim to know or endorse the other content on this site.  Over and out.

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Yep.  Pretty good.

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See?  All gone.  🙂

It snowed on Saturday.  A good, thick snow.  Lovely.

But, as usually happens here in the Midwest, the temperature rose to 50*F, and it was melting.  *Sniff*  I like the snow.

Anyways, I was able to take a few photos of it before it totally melted away.

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Frost. Ice. Books.

The theme for yesterday’s 6 Lenses photo was favorite book.  So I took a large stack of books and all the necessary extras out to the-trees-in-the-pasture-across-the-road to take a picture.

Now the distance from the gate to the trees seems quite long when you are hauling a wagon containing 2 bags stuffed with books, a thermos of tea (for the pictures, not to drink), a camera bag, a quilt, and a teacup, with the other hand holding the camera.  Also, the tall grass covered with ice didn’t aid my journey.

Basically, after hauling out there and back, I was tired.  And cold.

So when I was done, I went inside and started a pot of coffee.

Then I went back outside with just my camera and macro lens to take a few pictures before I went in to have my mocha.

 

These past few days have been normal, or as close to normal as my life ever comes.  Just the norms.  School.  Chores.  Dinners.  Nothing all that exciting.

Something a bit more exciting is that the first part of my midwifery correspondence course came last week in the mail.  Mom and I ordered the first group of books that I need for it on Saturday, and I started it today.  I can’t wait for my books to arrive (the earliest I can expect them is the 18th).  Oh, I am SO looking forward to reading and learning!

I am not currently planning any desserts this week – but I am hoping that we will be able to pick up another of my favorite chocolate bars (Lindt 90%).  I finished the one I had today.  It was really good.  And now I want more.

I am planning a few new dinners for later this week, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  We’ll see if they make it on here.  I haven’t been posting that many savory things lately – mostly just the sweets.  🙂

Oh.  I just remembered.  I will be making Mom some coffee chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream this week, and I will hopefully make Dad some chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I also owe my brother Noah a chocolate cake.  (For Christmas, I let both of my brothers choose any recipe they wanted, and I would make it for them.  Noah requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Drake wanted Brazilian Black Beans.  I think I am going to make Drake’s when I come off this diet, so I can eat it.  I really like Brazilian Black Beans.)  But I probably won’t make his chocolate cake until next week.  (I need to add all three of these things to my schedule.)

Well, that’s all for now, folks!

And now, a few pictures.  (You can never tell beforehand how long this section is going to be.)

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The frozen grass I was trying to plow through

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Frost

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I should have tried to get this shot horizontally, but I guess I forgot.  Plus, this blade of grass was very close to the ground.  And normally I am not very close to the ground.  This made photographing it rather difficult.

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Thistle

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Hate these things.  Vehemently.  I was VERY careful to walk AROUND them.

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This is the photo I posted on 6 Lenses yesterday.  Couldn’t decide if I liked the vertical one…

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…or the horizontal one better.  What do you think?

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(Said with an accent) A spot of tea!

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Throwing out the tea

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Ice is SO FUN to photograph.  It has all the benefits of photographing water, except it stays much more still.  The only downside is that it is cold out.  Freezing cold.

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There is a slight focusing difference between these two photos.  Which one do you like better: 1…

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…or 2?

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SPARKLES!

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‘Tis the Night Before Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you all had just as lovely of a Christmas Eve as we did.  We continued our tradition of having the W.’s over.  We had an awesome time! We talked, played a game, and stuffed ourselves with ate our traditional prime rib dinner.

I love our Christmas Eve tradition.  It is so fun, so laid back, that there is very little stress involved.  It makes for a great time.

Melissa and I decorated the table, which we did last year.  This year Mom had purchased a new candle centerpiece.  (I’m not sure where I was going with that.  But we’ll just leave it there anyway.)

Before the W.’s got here, I pulled the gingerbread cookies out and frosted them.  I must confess that I *sigh* ate a few.  *Sob*  I will try better next time. 

Voice #2:  BUT IT IS CHRISTMAS, right?  Do I get ANY cheating around Christmas?

Voice #1:  If you hadn’t been cheating as often, yes.

Voice #2: BUT…

Voice #1:  Oh, don’t even go there.

Voice #2:  Just…whatever.

 

Never mind. Sometimes these things just happen.

As I was saying, *cough* I decorated the cookies today.  I was trying to be artsy and creative (which, although I can be the latter, I am NOT the former by any vast stretch of the imagination).  I tried several different things (swirlies was my best), but then I got stuck on words.  Words are so fun.

I kept trying to write “twinkle” on a small star-shaped cookie, but all that would fit was “twink.”  I tried to get it to fit twice, but only ended up with “twink” both times.  Later, as I was looking at them, I realized that I had gotten confused as to where the “i” was, and had dotted the first stroke of the “w” both times.  So I ended up with “tiwnk,” or probably more like *tries to find letters that look like what she wrote* nope.  They don’t have the letters I was using on the keyboard.  How did that happen?

 

Wow.  Maybe I should write my posts this late at night all the time.  It might make things a bit more interesting.

And who knows what I will come up with?

Maybe it is better that I don’t.

 

So I had lots of fun with words.  You’ll see in the pictures.

 

Do you see how long (and how many interruptions – FROM MY OWN BRAIN) it took for me to say that?

 

Anyway, now for the pictures.

 

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Like you really have to write this on a cookie.

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This too

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Again, this was pretty obvious

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It turns out, “yum” is really fun to write in cursive in frosting.

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I started thinking about Christmas carols, and thought about “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”  Well, when there is white, it is often on a tree, right?  So I put white on a tree.

Sometimes I’m not sure that I make a whole lot of sense.  Or that if I do, it is a rather silly sense that I make.

Whatever that means. 

(I really should write my posts this late at night!  I’m much more fun!)

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When I showed this to Melissa, she said that I should have written “wish”  on it (when you wish upon a star).  I completely agree.  I will have to do that next time.

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Again, another very obvious one.  But I think this one is quite cute.

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An M&M!  Love those things.  Have you seen the Chocolate Mint ones?  Anyone tried them?  I haven’t, but they sure sound good!

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This next set of cookies was inspired by my sister’s piano theory book.

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They often have things to decorate with notes, rests, and such, and they tell you which thing gets which symbol with numbers.

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Kind of a “decorate-with-music-symbols-by-number” thing.

(I am sure they have a more official name, but, as has been previously stated, it is late.)

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So I decided to try decorating cookies with musical symbols.  I should have tried to do the bass clef over again.

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But treble clefs are just so much more fun to do.

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They fit really well on the tree cookies.

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I then started writing the titles of Christmas carols out on cookies.

(Ding Dong Merrily on High – I am going to put what each one is, since they are all not super easy to read.)

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One of my favorite Christmas songs (When Love Came Down)

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Christmas doesn’t fit on one cookie, or at least I didn’t think it would.  I didn’t try.  I might have ended up with something similar to “twink.”

(Sing We Now of Christmas)

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I love doing exclamation points!

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(Joy to the World – with an exclamation point!)

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(We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

 

And my grand masterpiece…

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This was SO FUN!

Thank you for putting up with all the cookie pictures.

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Our Christmas Eve table

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The centerpiece

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Reflection

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Beauty on a plate (what else can I say?)

 

Oh, and one more thing…

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Merry Christmas!  May you all have a lovely, lovely Christmas!

 

Much love to you all,
Allison

Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

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LOVE the moss

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And the grass

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Old barbed wire is so…country…

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…and just plain wonderful!

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Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

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…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

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Old rusty farm equipment

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Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂