Saturday, October 30, 2010

assuming the best

I've been meaning to share this story, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. There's a man named Clarence (I hope he doesn't mind that I share his name) that lives in our neighborhood who comes to our house pretty often to see if he can trim bushes, mow, rake, etc. A couple weeks ago when Jay was visiting Clarence came by and mowed and weed eated. He charges $25. He came back about 15 minutes after leaving. He was holding the 5 dollar bill and told us that he'd dropped the 20 on his way to put up his lawn mower at a friend's house. Ryan, Jay, and I didn't have any more cash and were totally skeptical and assuming the worst. What an easy way to earn $45 insted of $25, right? I hear Clarence say, "I owe a friend $20 and told him I'd pay him today, could I borrow the money and pay you back tomorrow?" Instead Ryan and Jay said that they'd retrace his footsteps with him in hopes of finding the  money. The three of them walked back the way Clarence had come and had no luck finding the money. Clarence thanked Ryan and Jay for trying to help him and said that he had to go get his mower so he could try to mow another yard before it got dark so he could pay his friend back. They said bye and Jay and Ryan headed back to the house. They were kinda frustrated and felt like maybe Clarence wasn't being honest about the whole thing. They were confessing to each other that it's so much easier to distrust than trust when you don't really know someone. Some leaves blew and there was the $20. They grabbed it, ran to find Clarence, and couldn't find him. They saw some people out in their front yard and asked, "Have you seen an older guy..maybe with a lawnmower..?" "Oh yeah, Clarence? He's over there." They pointed Jay and Ryan towards Clarence...they found him and were able to give him his $20 back. I'm thankful for humbling moments like that that help me remember the importance of assuming the best in people.

"h" for hazelnut

This morning Sarah and I went to a new store called Vintage Jane on Main St. in Kernersville. We both loved it! I went looking for Christmas presents and left with 3 magnets, a frame, and a vintage-ish cork board/frame/dry erase thing to hang somewhere for fun little notes or "to do" lists (all for me..oops). I'll try again soon and have better self-control next time.
Before we headed to Vintage Jane I stopped at Cafe Roche to get some coffee. I ordered a decaf mocha for Sarah and a skim latte with almond for me (and I was very excited about it!) I saw the barista pour the milk into one and real nicely I asked, "oh, was that skim milk in mine?" He smiled and said, "I know I don't really know you yet, but what's your profession?"  "oh, I'm a teacher" I said.  "Oh" he replied "well I won't tell you how to teach and you don't need to tell me how to make your coffee." Well, ok then. :) I think I pretty flawlessly rolled with his joke and proceded to keep my mouth shut and let the man do his job. He set down the coffee in front of me while I paid. Then he took a sharpie and wrote an "H" on my cup and circled it. I took a look at it and said, "H for...?" "Hazelnut!" he said "Uh you mean almond?" "Damn it! you did say almond didn't you?" "Haha, hazelnut's my second favorite..don't worry about it.. "  :) I guess we're even.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

pumpkin crunch

This Fall treat is a great snack to have on hand, a great treat if you're having company over, and a sure way to make your home smell like the holidays fast!

The recipe calls for maple syrup...I used Agave Nectar instead...worked great!

1 cup pumpkin seeks (raw, without shell. I bought mine from Whole Foods in the bulk section)
1 ½ teaspoons canola oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave)
1 ¼ cups dried cranberries (or dried cherries if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 300. Coat baking sheet with canola oil and spread pumpkin seeds evenly over sheet. Roast for twenty minutes or until almost dry. Place pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl and mix in maple syrup until coated. Combine spices in a large bowl and add pumpkin seeds. Place back on baking sheet and return to oven. Roast for fifteen minutes or until dry. Set seeds aside until completely cool – about thirty minutes. When cool, combine seeds with dried cranberries.

it looks so pretty too!

enjoy :)

fresh homeade salsa!

3 roma tomatoes
1 can tomatoes (I use diced canned tomatoes with chiles for a little added "kick")
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/2 white onion
1/4 bunch cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
dash of tobasco

Directions: Place all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and process to desired consistency. Refrigerate and enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Angel Hair with Shrimp & Zucchini

I participated in a recipe exchange today and this is what I shared. Easy and delicious!

1 lb. medium-large frozen shrimp
1/2 box whole wheat angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)
olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 zucchini
1 roma tomato

Directions:1. Thaw shrimp and take the tails off (just set bag of shrimp in the sink for a few hours before you'll be using it)
2.Chop zucchini into long thin pieces
3. Dice tomato
4. mince garlic
5. chop fresh basil
6. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (over medium-high heat) in large saute pan
7. add zucchini.
8.  when zucchini is starting to get tender add shrimp. saute for 2-3 minutes.
9. add tomato and minced garlic. Saute another minute or so (garlic burns quickly!)
10. cook pasta al dente (bring water to boil, add pasta, cook uncovered for about 9 minutes.)
11. Drain and add shrimp, zuchinni, tomato, etc.. mixture to pasta.
12. add more olive oil to taste (until pasta is not sticking together. probably about 1/4 to a 1/2 cup more) and a tbsp. of butter (if you want!)

*Add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
 *sprinkle fresh basil over the top of the pasta.


hiking in NC

This past weekend, our friend Jay (one of Ryan's roommates during all 4 years of med school) came to visit! Ryan had the whole weekend off. The weather was perfect. Time with Jay was great. It was a much-needed relaxing and fun weekend. Jay asked us, "What's your favorite thing about living out here?" Coming from flat, mountain-less Texas, that was a pretty easy question to answer...

gorgeous Fall trees on our way to hike in Boone

Hiking Boone Fork Trail

JD, my man, and me :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

what's all the fuss about

a lot of people I know LOVE fall. people rave about it!
 i enjoy a good piece of pumpkin bread or a pumpkin latte once in a while. 
but i guess if i'm honest, i've never really considered myself a LOVER OF FALL. now living in north carolina, i am starting to see what all the fuss is about.
the leaves are changing. it's cooling off (scarves, boots, jackets!).
 pumpkin cake has never tasted better. it's absolutely gorgeous here! 
to some of you, that is nothing new and may not seem noteworthy. 
being a houstonian all my life, having 4 seasons is a new and exciting thing for me. i am becoming a true and genuine lover of fall :)  roasted pumpkin seeds. 
lots of hot chocolate on the porch. pumpkins in the house. pumpkin on the porch. fall flowers. fall cookies. my favorite fall thing of all, though, are the leaves....

beautiful, huh??
what do you love about fall?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Paul & Kristen's Homemade Hot Chocolate

When we went to visit our friends, Paul & Kristen, in Denver last year we were completely spoiled by their homemade hot chocolate. For part of our wedding present, they finally shared the recipe with us. Hope they don't mind that I'm unleashing their drinkable secret....

1 8 qt. box powdered milk
1 lb. box Nestle's Quick
1 (8 oz.) jar coffee creamer (I use french vanilla)
1/2 box powdered sugar

What to do:
Mix together!
Use 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water
Top with whip cream or marshmallows

We have already enjoyed several cool nights on our porch, delcious cocoa in hand! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

fall cookies

A few Fridays ago I brought a treat to school for some of my coworkers. 
just a little "we made it to the weekend!" pick me up :) 
I brought s'more cups, a delicious recipe from my friend Sarah that I will share with you soon. 
Today in a meeting, a s'more-cup-loving work friend said, "
Kate, I've been thinking about those s'more cups!! Will you pleaseee bring another treat soon?" 
How could I resist? I came home, looked in the pantry to see what I already had, and was able to make these! They are sort of a hodge podge type of cookie, so if you're 
not into nuts and oats and a party in your mouth, 
you may want to leave out a couple ingredients :)

1 c. melted butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. uncooked oatmeal
6 oz. chocolate chips
*1/2 c. chopped pecans
*cinnamon to taste (I used about 3/4 Tbsp)
*ingredients that I added to the recipe
*3 heaping Tbsp. homemade hot chocolate 
(I'll share that recipe soon!) (substitute with a packet of hot chocolate)

Mix all ingredients together and place by spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. 
Cookies will still be soft when done.

teaching requires a lot of patience :)

                                                                                            5th grade student
                                                                                          during guided reading

what's going on

Ryan and I got married in March and moved to NC in June. He started pediatric residency in July and I started teaching in Kernersville (fondly known around here as "K-Vegas") in August. I am called a PRT, a Primary Reading Teacher. This is my dream job that I never knew existed. I've been wandering a little bit (we'll call it "exploring my options"...since May, 2007 I think I've had 9 jobs... so call it what you want) for the last few years. I worked for an inner city ministry, the insurance industry, substitute taught, helped with some non-profit development projects for a few weeks, did some temp work, assisted a lawyer, worked at a women's shelter, was an assistant 2nd grade teacher, contemplated going to grad school about a 100 times, and now I'm a PRT in Kernersville, NC of all things and I LOVE it! I teach reading to small groups (4-6 students) of 2nd & 5th graders. I work with 2nd grade for a little over an hour and then am with 5th grade the rest of the day. Oh, did I mention that I work part-time? That may factor into the "dream job I never knew existed" thing. My hours are 7:45-12:45. I'm much more productive in the mornings...this job really is custom made for me! I don't know why I ever doubt God's faithfulness, but I still find myself surprised sometimes by it. Ryan and I have been so aware of God's faithfulness and love for us lately. His provision is incredible--our church, small group, some great friends in a new town, my job, our house, Wakeforest residency program, the list goes on and on. HE IS GOOD!
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."   Psalm 107:1