My dearest, loveliest Elizabeth. Three years ago today you were placed in our arms. That was the happiest day of my life!! I am so glad that the Lord chose us to be your forever family.
The wait for China was much easier. I knew how their system worked and I knew that we were kind of standing in line for it to be our turn to be matched with our child. But now? Oh my. There is no line. There is no system to figure out. It's just one big waiting game. Sigh.
So... what does a girl do while waiting? Well, you go shopping, of course!!!!
I didn't buy anything major. These are just some burp cloths, tiny socks and tiny onesies. I realized the other day that we have NOTHING in this house for a newborn, so when "the call" finally does come, we'll be going crazy trying to get things together!! So I figured I'd buy a few things here and there to prepare.
I don't know whether to buy girl or boy things. We requested a little girl because we already have tons of girl things and also because our house is small and the baby will be sharing a room with Elizabeth. If the agency calls us with news of a little boy, I am KNOW we will be more than thrilled and, well, we'll just figure out what to do about the bedrooms. :)
So that's where we stand with our adoption. Waiting. Just waiting. And one day "the call" will come and I'll be a nervous wreck. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 1/4 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley flakes
4 T butter, divided
4 cups chicken stock, divided
5 cups diced peeled potatoes
3 T all-purpose flour
8 ounces process American cheese*
1-1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
In small sauté pan, melt 3 T butter. Add flour and whisk 1-2 minutes until mixture turns light brown. Gradually stir in 1 cup chicken stock, whisking as you add more stock to make a smooth and thick mixture.
In a dutch oven, melt 1 T butter and then brown beef; remove any grease and then stir in onions, carrots, celery, basil and parsley. Add 3 cups chicken stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add butter/flour/stock mixture to dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper to taste; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
*I used 8 oz of American cheese sandwich slices!! Yep, I unwrapped each one. Seriously!! It was SO perfectly wonderful!! I'll do it again, too!! YUM!!
2 tsp olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 T tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
8 oz fusilli (or other) pasta
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and saute 5-7 minutes. Drain excess fat from pot. Add onions and saute until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and saute until the paste turns a rusty brown color (about 5 minutes). Add tomatoes with their juices, stock, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add pasta and increase heat to medium high. Boil soup until pasta is cooked. Discard bay leaves and sitr in basil and salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan 1/4 tsp salt and pinch of pepper and mix well. To serve, place 1 1/2 T of this mixture in each bowl. Sprinkle with mozzarella and ladle soup on top.
Makes 13 cups
And, I am sorry to say, I do not have a photo of this dish. Next time I make this (and the whole family insists I WILL be making this again!! YUM!!!!), I will take a photo to share.
So, y'all, make sure you have all the ingredients and make this SOON for your family!!!!
I got a sample issue of Mary Jane's Farm a week or two ago in the mail. Included was a recipe for Farmhouse Crackers. Yum. Homemade crackers. Crackers that don't have tons of weird ingredients listed in them like this...
What IS all that stuff, anyway?
Not only are these SUPER easy, but they are VERY tasty, too! Mr. U said "Stop buying those flavored Cheez-its for me and make these from now on!!!" I'll be more than happy to do that!!!
This is how my recipe ended up (remember, I have a VERY hard time sticking exactly to any recipe!! HA!)...
Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper Farmhouse Crackers
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off three sheets of parchment paper (2 will be for cookie sheets and 1 will be used to roll out the dough).
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients and then stir in oil and water. Take 1/4 of the dough and put it in the middle of a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment on top and smoosh it down a bit (LOOOVE my technical terms!! HA!!). Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as thinly as possible (I go for 1/8th inch thick). Carefully peel the top piece of parchment off and then score the rolled out dough into the shape and size of crackers you want (a pizza cutter or pastry wheel will make quick work of this) . Then, just bake them in the oven about 14 minutes until the crackers are crispy brown. Mmmm.
Take them out of the oven and remove the whole piece of parchment paper and set it on a cooling rack. Wait about 5 minutes and then carefully break the crackers apart and let them cool about 10 minutes longer before moving them off the cooling rack.
Repeat this same process for the rest of the cracker dough.
I have NO idea how long these will keep. They've never made it more than 3 days here before we eat them all up. Yum!!!
Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?
Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.
It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled, but still clasped; their faces are seamed, but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired, but still strong with love and devotion for one another.
Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love....
After hearing about all the snow up north, we are FINALLY getting snow here!! YAY!!! We Southerners surely like to see snow... maybe because it doesn't come very often and when it does, it's not very much. It's coming down pretty heavily, but not sticking to anything. Who knows? Maybe we'll wake up to a winter wonderland tomorrow morning!!!!
Tonight for dinner? Lasagna Soup!!! Sounds delicious! It's a new recipe from our friend Jesse and YUM I can't wait to try it!! I'll have to share the recipe (minus the photo, mind you) later on. Any recipe with fresh basil and ricotta cheese has GOT to be delicious, right?
What are y'all having for dinner tonight? Any new recipes you are trying out?
It's been raining and cold all day. No fun. Gray skies give me thoughts of heading back to bed!! HA!!
Today has been a day of being lazy for Elizabeth and I. We had a quiet morning and then we cooked lunch. Because Mr. U works right next door to our home (we live in the parsonage) and Joshua works just a mile down the street, we have our main meal of the day at lunchtime. We LOVE having the biggest meal earlier! Oftentimes we'll have leftovers for dinner or just a sandwich.
We were supposed to have roast chicken with potatoes, but the chicken didn't thaw out soon enough. So, I thinly sliced the chicken and it thawed out very quickly!! Then I sauteed it with onions, peppers and garlic and stirred in some pasta sauce. Next I served it over pasta and served green beans on the side. YUM! It came together quickly and prevented me from allowing myself to get in a bad mood because the chicken wasn't thawed completely! YAY! Gourmet? No!! Quick and easy? YES!!!! (Do any of y'all ever allow yourself to get in a bad mood when something food related doesn't turn out like you like??)
Elizabeth is resting now. She hasn't napped for months, but will rest quietly in her room each afternoon. I use this time to check email or blogs or even take a nap, too!!!
We don't have any big plans for the weekend. Hopefully we'll be enjoying sunshine tomorrow instead of all this rain we've been getting today!!
This is from Nancy Leigh DeMoss....
What helps you to grow in holiness?
“Come to the Holiness Conference—this weekend at the Expo Center!”
“Buy 7 Steps to Holiness today, at your local Christian retailer.”
You know, God uses something surprising to teach us holiness—suffering! In fact, the pathway to holiness always involves suffering.
When our lives are all roses and no thorns, we tend to be spiritually complacent. We neglect serious self-examination and confession. But affliction has a way of stripping away the stubborn deposits of selfishness that build up in the course of everyday life.
The psalmist put it this way, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”
Are you going through a time of suffering? Let me encourage you, hard as it may be, to embrace it as a gift from God. Ask Him to use this time to make you more like Him.