Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Letter to Littlest: 11 Months

"May the LORD bless you and keep you. May the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious unto you. May the LORD lift up the light of his countenance on you and give you peace"

Numbers 6:24-26

Littlest Climbing the Stairs

Dear Kenny,

Every night Daddy and I pray a blessing over you from Numbers 6:24-26. We earnestly desire that you would be close to God and that you would understand the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. That's why we pray this blessing over you.

We also pray this particular blessing over you because its the blessing that Grandpa Tim (my Daddy) gave to me when I was a kid. Every night that he put me to bed, he would give me this blessing. Even when I got too old for him to tuck me into sleep, Grandpa Tim would sometimes stop me, give me a hug, and pray this over me.

Although this particular blessing is one that is close to my heart, the Bible is full of prayers of blessing that the people of God pray, and it is full of examples of our generous God blessing his people.

Mischievous Smile

Why all this talk about blessings?

Right now, we are in the middle of selling our condo in Minneapolis, so Daddy and I have been anxious about our finances. Of course, nobody likes to lose money, but being anxious tells God that we fear that he is not a good God. We need to fight our sin and our temptation to worry and to feel that God is not blessing us because we don't like our circumstances.

That's why we have to remind ourselves of the biggest and most important blessing of all; Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we can be with God! Isn't that wonderful, Littlest? We get to be with God because Jesus took the wrath for us. I hope that God gives you eyes to see that this is the biggest blessing of all.

This blessing from God is the reason that we can be thankful in all circumstances. In all circumstances, God has given us grace that we do not deserve.

Children are a blessing from the LORD

Kenny, in the eleven months that you have been with us, we have learned that this is so true. You are a blessing and a joy, even when you aren't easy to deal with.

These days, you are going through a clingy phase. In fact, tonight I made pancakes with you strapped in a Baby Bjorn- This is dangerous and something I swore I would never do. Until tonight. You would not be consoled by Cheerios, or Raisins, or Daddy, or anything but being held by me. When you get like this, I tell you, "Stop with all the Llama Drama!" But I secretly love to hold you, and I love that I can comfort you.

Drama aside, you love to have fun. This was your first selfie!

You also are a lot of fun to be around. Daddy and I love to take you to ultimate frisbee. Last weekend, you found an unusually bold bird, and you chased it around for at least ten minutes before the bird got fed up with the game and flew off. You love to take coasters out of the coaster container and then put them back in.

The world of sound is starting to fascinate you, and you make noises with your hands, your mouth, and anything within your grasp. You love blowing bubbles in the tub, and you like making loud shrieking noises. We finally feel confident that you know the words Mama and Dada, but you still like to say Dada best.

You now have eight teeth, and you are starting to cruise (which means you walk along our ample furniture by yourself). You accidentally stood up on your own (because Daddy moved his arm before you could reach it), but you don't seem to have a lot of interest in repeating the experiment.

One of the biggest joys of being your Mama is watching you "Work" with Daddy. He will talk about all the home improvements that he is making, and you will happily sit by his side. When I look at the two of you together, I feel like I can see the present and I have a hope for how your relationship with Daddy will grow over the next decades.
Littlest and the Mad Scientist Hard at Work

Other than the coasters, and the world of noise, and the random things that you pick up off the ground, your favorite toy is your yellow stuffed giraffe from Miss Lori. Every morning, when we come downstairs, you find the toy and cuddle with it.

I love you so much Kenny, and I pray that God will bless you by his grace.

Mommy and Daddy

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Today I published a Review of The New Southern Table on my Cookbook Review site, CookbookAuthority.com. In addition to the review, I provide the full recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce. The recipe for the Gnocchi comes from Brys Stephen's cookbook, but I actually made up the Sage brown butter sauce myself (I was inspired when I found out we have a sage bush growing in our backyard!)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
The Gnocchi is chewy, but light with just the right hint of sweetnees. The brown butter sauce is tangy, decadent and delicious! I was a bit intimidated to make gnocchi, but it turns out that it's really easy to make.  Stop on over and get the recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi. The Mad Scientist, Littlest and I all loved it, and I am definitely going to make it again.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake! A hearty plate of YUM!
I haven't updated the blog with a new recipe lately because there's been a lot of this going on lately:
The Littlest One is climbing the stairs, and sliding down on his belly!
Not to mention this!
The Mad Scientist is working on doing some extensive home repair!
Thankfully, the bathroom is now complete :)
And having to make this...
Yes, that is mold growing in our grout lines, and on our shower floor.
Into this! (Do you require power tools to clean your shower, because we do.)
Okay, so it's not picture perfect, but at least I don't need a shower after my shower.
In the midst of all this craziness, I'm still trying to maintain my sanity, work, and write cookbook reviews! Needless to say, I'm looking for simple, easy, and delicious ideas that will get me from fridge to table a little faster. While a cookbook is great for planning out meals, and trying complex new recipes, I find that winging it gets dinner to the table a little faster.

Enter this BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake.

This recipe is basically a new spin on Baked Ziti, which was one of the first dishes I learned how to cook without a recipe. It's a super simple recipe if you've got leftover chicken on hand (which I always do lately due to my obsession with beer can chicken.)

You've got tender pasta, ooey gooey cheese, virtuous vegetables, juicy flavorful chicken and tangy barbecue sauce.  In less than ten minutes of time, you've got dinner in the oven, and you can get back to life- like wiping the boogers off of your son's face.

So, if you need a recipe when life comes knocking, try out this BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake.

print recipe

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake
Just about the easiest meal you will make this week :) BBQ Chicken, pasta, veggies, cheese sprinkled with cilantro and a dash of love.
  • 12 Oz Penne Pasta
  • 2 Cups Shredded Chicken
  • 1 Cup Bell Peppers Chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion Chopped
  • 6 oz Grape Tomatoes Diced
  • 4 oz Colby Jack Cheese Shredded
  • 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro
1. Boil Pasta according to package instructions minus one minute (pasta should be very al dente). Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 3502. Mix thoroughly Pasta, vegetables, chicken and bbq sauce. You may want to add more or less bbq sauce to suit your tastes.3. Pour pasta mixture into an 8X8 glass baking pan, and top with a generous layer of cheese4. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 until cheese is just starting to become brown. Pasta will be tender, and everything will be delicious.5. Top with fresh cilantro to serve.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Servings
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