So if any of you are still there after I’ve gone a month without posting, you must really love me. I do seriously apologize, but it has been a crazy busy month that included friends visiting, friends moving (one to a new state and one to a new house), stay-cation with the hubby, our 3 year wedding anniversary, and several other less exciting to-dos. So now that I’m back let’s catch up. The plan is to get back on a regular blogging schedule; we’ll see what we can do. 🙂
The first thing to catch up on is the yummy food that I’ve discovered since we last chatted. I don’t know if I’ve told you, but my husband and I really love asparagus that’s roasted very simply with olive oil, salt, and pepper. I really love how the heads get crispy like a fry. Well, I’ve now discovered another vegetable with the same amount of wonderful crispiness and better price and availability: broccoli! I know there are tons of people that hate it, but it gets a really great flavor from being roasted, and it’s even better when tossed with a little garlic butter and Parmesan. I did discover that it’s best to cut the pieces fairly small so they get crispier.
I also made a yummy strawberry cake that was recommended by one of my favorite food bloggers. I did make the mistake of putting the strawberries cut side up, so I didn’t get the jelly effect she talks about. However, it still tasted great; I discovered that it makes a very good, light breakfast. (Update: I’ve since made it and taken pictures with the strawberries facing down. Very tasty both ways!)
Strawberry Summer Cake (from the fabulous Smitten Kitchen)
6 tbsp. softened butter
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. hulled, halved strawberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 in. or deep 9 in. pie pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar (1 c.) til pale and fluffy, about 3 min. Mix in the egg, milk, and vanilla til just combined. Add the dry ingredient mix gradually, mixing just til smooth.
2. Pour the batter into the pan. Arrange the strawberries, cut side down, on top of the batter in a single layer where they’re as close together as possible. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tbsp. of sugar.
3. Bake the cake for 10 min., then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake it til olden brown and a tester inserted in the center removes free of batter, about 50-60 min. Cool the cake in a pan on a rack.
I’ve also tried the new Reese’s Ice Cream treats. If you are a fan of Reese’s and you like ice cream, I strongly suggest that you buy a box. It’s layers of peanut butter ice cream and Reese’s peanut butter in a chocolate shell, and it is awesome!!!
Another awesome thing I tried was the Lemon Passion Cake from Macaroni Grill. It blew my mind with its citrusy goodness. If you like them (and we LOVE them), then you should sign up for their e-mails. I get coupons from them all the time for $5 off, free dessert, etc. While we were there (for our anniversary!!!), I noticed that they are now serving tapas. Some of the descriptions looked amazing. The ones that really caught my (to try next time?) were mac & cheese bites with a white truffle and Asiago sauce, herb and parmesan fries with a four-cheese sauce, and oven-fired artichoke hearts with lemon, bread crumbs, and a garlic aioli (isn’t that redundant?). Don’t those all sound incredible?
Since we’ve got so much to talk about, don’t be surprised if I jump subject quickly. Like right now! Sometimes I forget whether or not I’ve told you about something. Some time last year, a friend and I discovered how amazing Lane Bryant is. In case you don’t have one near you, it’s a plus size ladies’ store (14+). Last year we got some coupons for things like free camis. Because of that, I signed up for their e-mail and mailing list. Now, I get coupons in the mail every couple of months. The most common one is for $15 off a purchase of $15 or more. I don’t usually buy clothes because most of the tops are big on me and the bottoms are a little more than I usually want to pay. But they do sell jewelry, and they usually have some on clearance for 50% off. That means I can usually get a couple pieces of jewelry for about $5 or so.
I also recently heard about a couple of Blockbuster deals. If you go here, you can get 5 one night Blockbuster Express rentals for $2. That’s an amazing deal. I also got a flier in the mail yesterday that if you rent one of their newest releases for $3, that you’ll get unlimited $2 or less movie rentals until July 4th. They say that you can only have 1 day rentals, 1 at a time, but it still sounds pretty neat.
During my break, I also got to go to a Placido Domingo concert (a Christmas present from some awesome friends). I am a huge opera fan, so I really enjoyed watching a master at work. Even though he’s 70 years old, his voice is still incredible. If you get a chance to see him, you should try and take it. You won’t be sorry.
I am a person who usually likes to have several things going on at once. Most of the time you see me, I’m multi-tasking. When I’m doing something that needs a little more concentration, I’ll put on something that needs less for background noise. A lot of times, I use animal documentaries. On one of the recent ones, I learned about a blue-ringed octopus. It’s about the size of a golf ball and besides that fact that it can change to some amazing colors, what I found most interesting was that it produces venom that can easily kill a human. Whenever I find out new things about nature, I’m always amazed at the creativity of God. Everything he makes is amazing and intricate.
One of the things I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while, was the book Miracles by C.S. Lewis. (I love doing these reviews, but they do take a lot of time, so that’s why I haven’t don’t it sooner.) Most of this book was a little too technical for me, but I did get some interesting ideas for it.
Lewis says, “A miracle is emphatically not an event without cause or without results. Its cause is the activity of God: its results follow according to Natural law. In the forward direction (i.e. during the time which follows its occurrence) it is interlocked with all Nature just like any other event. Its peculiarity is that it is not in that way interlocked backwards, interlocked with the previous history of Nature. And this is just what some people find intolerable. The reason they find it intolerable is that they start by taking Nature to be the whole of reality. And they are sure that all reality must be interrelated and consistent. I agree with them. But I think they have mistaken a partial system within reality, namely Nature, for the whole. That being so, the miracles and the previous history of nature may be interlocked after all but not in the way the Naturalist expected: rather in a much more roundabout fashion. The great complex event called Nature, and the new particular event introduced into it by the miracle, are related by their common origin in God, and doubtless, if we knew enough, most intricately related in His purpose and design, so that a Nature which had had a different history, and therefore been a different Nature, would have been invaded by different miracles or by none at all. In that way the miracles and the previous course of Nature are as well interlocked as any other two realities, but you must go back as far as their common Creator to find the interlocking. You will not find it within Nature.” That is one of the best ways to explain miracles to a naturalist that I’ve ever heard.
Later, he explains it another way. He says that miracles are the exception to what we call the “laws of Nature.” Just like when we’re learning grammar, we are taught the rules of the English language. But someone like a writer, may not always follow those laws. The writer knows when and where the exceptions are and how to use them. Just like God, the creator of those laws, knows the correct time and place to bend them. But we’re still trying to figure out the rules, so to us it looks like he’s breaking them.
He goes on to explain it like this. Lewis says that if you were writing a book and used miracles to get a character out of a tight spot, then that would be out of place. But if you were writing a book that was about miracles, than of course you’d expect them in the book. Most people think that God is using miracles to get his characters our of a tight place. On the contrary, the parts of our story with the miracles are the most important chapters. As Lewis puts it, “It is a very long story, with a complicated plot; and we are not, perhaps, very attentive readers.”
When talking about what he calls “The Grand Miracle” of Christ’s resurrection Lewis said, “On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptised into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call ‘ambivalent’. It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.” His whole plan is so beautiful and amazing. He willingly let himself be killed and hurt, just so that we could come to Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior.
The last thing from the book that really touched me was a line that said, “In science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.” So many people try to use the tiny part of the world that we see to explain the rest of it, instead of listening to the Creator explain the grand design.
That’s all I have for today, but I hope to talk to y’all again soon.