Well, in case you hadn’t guessed, I had a crazy, busy week last week, which is why I wasn’t able to post like I usually do. But, rest assured, today’s post will contain everything that last week’s would have and more!
One of the things that made last week busy was that we went with some friends on a day-trip to Austin for my very first trip to…. IKEA!!!! It was absolutely amazing and officially my new favorite store! Besides having affordable, ingenious, cute furniture, they have great deals on housewares, and a bistro with affordable, yummy food. (The frozen yogurt is perfect!) We spent several hours in there, and I would have been happy to spend even more time (and money if I had it). (Update: The last time I went to Ikea, they had changed the texture of their frozen yogurt. 😦 It was still tasty, but not incredible like it was previously. I’m going again soon, so I’ll let you know if it’s changed back to it’s former incredibleness.)
Speaking of frozen yogurt, there’s also another place that you might want to try if you’re a fan, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. Around Christmas time, my bestie got me some of their to die for hazelnut froyo, that I desperately want to have again. They switch out flavors often, so I’ hoping it’ll be back soon. The store carries about a dozen flavors at a time with lots of delicious toppings, so you can concoct whatever your heart desires. They also have a free reward program, so that over time you’ll be able to get free froyo.
If you haven’t noticed, my summertime ice cream craving has definitely kicked in. While I still adore my Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s, I sometimes like to branch out with novelties like popsicles and ice cream sandwiches. To me, Skinny Cow has some of the best ice cream sandwiches out there; it’s hard to believe they’re low cal. They recently came out with some new flavors; so far, I’ve only gotten to try the strawberry cheesecake, but it was a good start. I don’t like the shortbread cookie as much as the regular chocolate one, but the vanilla and strawberry swirled ice cream was delicious.
Once things slowed down a little, I got to chance to watch some neat things. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but one of my favorite TV shows is The Closer. Kyra Sedgwick is absolutely hilarious as a quirky Georgia peach trying to run the major crime squad at LAPD. Sadly that show is coming to an end. (Update: The spin-off show “Major Crimes” is just as great.) However, I just finished the first season of another great cop show, Rizzoli & Isles that I wanted to let y’all know about. In this show, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a tough-as-nails Boston homicide detective who’s best friend, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), is the medical examiner. Together they make a crime fighting team with lots of funny lines and bff chemistry. Both these shows are on TNT during the summer, but you might be able to do what I do and borrow them from your local library. I also got to watch a couple of fun movies. Last week, I watched the very inspirational Soul Surfer which tells the story of Bethany Hamilton who overcomes the loss of an arm to become a championship surfer. The focus in the movie is not about the shark attack (in fact, you only see the shark for 1 second), but about Bethany coming to terms with her disability and realizing that life is about helping others. I also just finished watching Sydney White, which was a really cute take on the Snow White fairy tale. Have you found any cute new movies or TV shows lately?
Obviously, I also watched a movie for our weekly segment. The latest movie up for review is He’s Just Not That Into You. I want to warn you first, that it was rated PG-13 for sexual content and some strong language (mostly in the Ben/Anna storyline which I wish wasn’t even in the movie). The overall gist of the movie is a mash-up of different guy-girl relationships that eventually get woven together into a cohesive story. (Trailer) The scenes that really make it for me are Gigi’s “bathroom” scene, Neil helping Beth around the house, Neil trying to sneak his boat pants back in the house, and how they wrap everything up at the end. The movie is also packed with funny lines, some of my favorites are “I don’t do kidding.”, “All right, I’m interpreting your silence as tacit compliance.”, “You did it again. Very vague.”, “Yeah, please don’t cyber-stalk him.”, “Oh, so there will be plenty of chances for me to be awkward.”, and “My pants can’t come home? Why?”.
For no real reason at all, I decided to do 2 recipes for this particular movie, but now I’m glad I did, since you’ll have one recipe for each week. The first one that I decided to make was this delicious Onion Garlic Dip. This dip is easy to whip up and tastes great. The only thing I would do differently would be to cook the onions longer than just the recommended 5 minutes. It tastes good, but has a strong onion flavor. I personally prefer a little milder onion taste, so I would just sweat them a little longer if you’re like me.
Onion Garlic Dip (from the October 2007 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray)
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 16 oz. tub sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. paprika
1. In a food processor, finely chop the onion and garlic.
2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook til softened, about 5 minutes. Return the onion/garlic mix to the food processor, add the remaining ingredients, salt to taste, and pulse to mix. Chill til you’re ready to serve it.
I also made some amazing Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies. I don’t generally like oatmeal raisin cookies because if they’re not done properly, all the cookies taste like burnt raisins. (:P) However, I adore oatmeal cookies in general and these definitely make it on my list. They have a pleasing amount of spices, lots of nutty goodness, and some hints of chocolate to round it out. They were a big hit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they show in my kitchen again before too long.
Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies (from Smitten Kitchen – how does she make cookies look so pretty?)
1/2 c. softened butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1 c. quick-cooking oats
2 c. chopped pecans
2 tsp. orange zest
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment. In a bowl, beat the butter til light and fluffy. Add the sugars, salt, and vanilla and beat til well mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the eggs, 1 at a time.
2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add half off the flour mix to the butter on low. Once it’s incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, pecans, orange zest, and chocolate chips.
3. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or til golden. Cool on a wire rack.
If I’d posted last week, I would have just had a verse to share with you, but since I wasn’t able to post until this week, I also read a great idea that fit really nicely with the verse that had already spoken to me. The verse that stood out during one of my recent devotions was Deuteronomy 5:29 which says, “O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” If God puts an exclamation point in the Bible, I would understand it to mean that we should pay attention. Although this verse was written in reference to the Israelites, I believe that God wants the same things for us as Christians. God isn’t someone who enjoys punishing us when we go astray; he wants us to love Him and follow His commandments, and He earnestly wants to bless us. In addition to my Bible reading each day, I’m also reading a daily reflection from Corrie ten Boom’s book Each New Day. The June 1 reflection had a great thought that I really wanted to share. She writes that she received this from a missionary. “Sometimes adversity tempts me to discouragement in the face of seeming failure. But I take courage and press on anew, as I remember that God does not hold me responsible for success but for faithfulness.” Miss ten Boom added the next line, ” Jesus said, ‘Well done, you faithful servant,’ not ‘Well done, you successful servant.’ ” To me that is such an encouragement. Even though I may not feel successful or see the fruit of my labors, if I am faithful in doing God’s will for my life, He will take care of the outcome, and it will not be wasted time or effort.