Tag Archives: rice

Journey Journal: Days 162-168

This was one of the all-time busiest weeks of the summer between prepping for two conferences for work, working through the database upgrade project, and arranging flowers for a wedding this weekend. But it was a good week!

Days 162-164: Tuesday to Thursday, June 11-13, 2013

Breakfast was mostly GF Chex cereal and almond milk or soy milk. Lunches consisted of either soup or salad or leftover pork and rice mostly. We still stuck to the GF DF diet. Tuesday, we prepped the notebooks, nametags, and materials for the Pastors’ Conference coming up on Friday and got that all boxed up. Wednesday night, I made stopped by Hobby Lobby and made sure I had all the supplies I needed for this weekend’s wedding flowers. Thursday we prepped the FX-VB conference materials for Saturday’s conference; that afternoon, I picked up the flowers from Carlstedt’s wholesale florist–I even got some discounted calla lilies and purple stock that will be excellent additions to this colorful wedding! And I grabbed a bunch of seeded eucalyptus for good measure.

Bryan’s been experimenting with pork tenderloin and chicken using apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, fresh garlic, sage, salt and pepper as a marinade. He made it with some sautéed Brussels sprouts and served it over rice one night–fantastic!

photo-15

Day 165: Friday, June 14, 2013

Today was the Pastors’ Conference in Virginia Beach and it was a success from everything we heard–about 30 attendees! After a full day of work, I headed home for a quick dinner of spicy shrimp and grits and then started on the flower arranging! (Pictures to come in a separate post…stay tuned…). I used white and green hydrangeas, pink and green hypericum berries, green pom-pom mums, Bells of Ireland, pink and peach Snapdragons, coral and yellow and white mini roses, purple stock and irises, green lisianthus, seeded eucalyptus, orange-yellow calla lilies, bright pink peonies, orange ranunculus, and lotus pods! Quite the combo! My house smelled like a florist shop! (and felt like a cooler! Brrr…)

Started the flowers while Bryan cooked doing the reception flowers first (simple white hydrangea stems in blue mason jars). Then started on the bouquets after dinner… My sister stopped by for a couple of hours to help with the bouquets–it was really nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and she was especially helpful with the mother-of-the-groom’s nosegay. Bryan made us a snack of teriyaki chicken strips (protein to keep us going through the night). Love that guy! He checked in on me about every hour until around midnight, when he went to bed so he would be able to drive me to the wedding….gonna be a late night!

Day 166: Saturday, June 15, 2013

Finished all the bouquets, nosegays, and the altar arrangement around 1:25AM! Just waiting to put ribbon on the bouquets till the last minute. I was really nervous about the altar arrangement, but I ended up really liking it!! Finished the 18 boutonnieres around 3AM and headed to bed for a few short hours.

Back up around 6AM and jumped straight into the 14 corsages. They went quickly and smoothly (much faster than the bouts for some reason). Finished that around 7:45AM and wrapped the bouquets with strips of burlap and lace ribbon, pinning with peachy pearl pins for a rustic touch of elegance. Finished around 8:30 and ran upstairs to get ready for the wedding. Packed up the car and drove almost an hour and a half to the wedding in Walhalla, South Carolina.

Stopped by Chik-fil-a for a breakfast of oatmeal and fruit with coffee (cheated and put half and half in my coffee for the first time this month–didn’t really help the coffee taste any better though, unfortunately; that’s probably the last time I’ll get CFA coffee–sorry. :/ ) I’m not sure if the oatmeal was 100% GF DF, but it has to be pretty close.

The wedding was at a beautiful chapel at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Dropped off the flowers and got the ultimate compliment from the bride: “These are more beautiful than anything we ‘pinned'” (love the Pinterest reference).  YAY!

Dropped off the reception flowers and headed back to the church for the wedding. Stopped by a Chinese restaurant for some lunch in Seneca. It was pretty good, even though I think there was some wheat in the wontons–oops. Still, overall we did pretty well for being out of town and not having many options.

The wedding and reception were both beautiful and very sweet! So happy for our dear friend Sarah and our new friend Jordan! They are a wonderful, godly couple! After the wedding, we drove home and I pretty much crashed. It was a long but wonderful day!

Day 167: Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wow–tired! Started with a bowl of Chex and a banana…and coffee!!! Church was fantastic! And the kids were really responsive as we talked through Seeking God as a response to learning the ABC’s of who God is and what He’s like. Rested in the afternoon and had another wonderful sermon in the evening, followed by having about 5 young adults over for dinner after church. It was a special time of getting to know some brothers and sisters in Christ who are becoming new friends. I just love the body of Christ!

Day 168: Monday, June 17, 2013

Another kinda crazy day–complete with getting caught in a downpour as I ran a work errand. 🙂 Chex and coconut milk for breakfast, banana and almonds for a snack, Thai rice noodle soup for lunch, and then home for an amazing dinner with new friends Dustin and Megan from church. Dustin is one of the deacons assigned to our elder community, so it was good to get to know them better! And they are GF DF too, so we had fun experimenting with them. Bryan made chicken thighs with his apple cider vinegar and lemon juice marinade, and at the very end, he drizzled the chicken with honey to help it brown up and caramelize! Really nice addition! He roasted some broccoli and cauliflower with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of orange juice; and I made a mixed greens salad with strawberries, walnuts, and honey mustard (with some honey goat cheese on the side). For dessert, I did my peaches and cherries sauté with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, and topped it with honey-toasted oats and almond slices! We drizzled some vanilla coconut milk and espresso balsamic vinegar over the top at the end too! Thankfully, they enjoyed our experiments…and we had a really nice time fellowshipping. Finished the day with a french press of coffee, an episode of The Chew, a little blogging, and a good book. And tonight, the word on my mind as I head towards bed is “thankful.”

Recipe: Carnitas with Black Beans and Cilantro Lime Rice

Thank you to my friend Gina for providing these delicious recipes! Gina and I met at church and quickly became friends when we realized we were both on a journey towards healthy living. She’s also the friend I call when I have any kind of gardening question! We spent Sunday afternoon at their house after church a few months ago, and this is the meal she served. It was so yummy that I asked her to share it for the blog.

It’s a cold, rainy day here, and Bryan sleeps during the day since he’s on 3rd shift, so it’s quiet too. I wanted some comfort food, so I made the black beans for dinner. They’re simmering on the stove as I write this. They smell so good!

I only used 1 c. of dried beans (which is about 1/4 lb.). I did the fast soak method (see below) and they turned into 2.5 c. So, I basically used 1/4 of the recipe below. Also, I reduced the oil to about 1-2 Tbsp. Gina and her husband Chad created this recipe by experimenting until they matched the flavors of a dish she remembered from years ago.

Carnitas:  http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2008/07/carnitas-houston-style.html

Rice:  http://www.cooking-mexican-recipes.com/cilantro-lime-rice.html
Gina says, “For the rice, I do not use the lime zest.  It was just a little too much…lime.”

Gina’s Black Beans:

  1. “Start with 1 lb. dry black beans. Wash them, cover with 5 cups of water and then soak overnight OR bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, cover and let stand (without heat) for 1 hour. I did the “fast” method because I never think about it the night before.
  2. “Drain and rinse the beans and put them back into the pot. Add fresh water to 2 inches above the beans. Salt the water and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour.
  3. “In a saute pan, heat 1 cup olive oil. Add 2 finely chopped onions, 12 finely chopped cloves garlic (yes, I said twelve), salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (not regular paprika, SMOKED), and some cumin. Saute for a few minutes and then cook it for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. “Drain 1-2 cups of beans (I started with 1 and it wasn’t enough, so I added more…) and add to the onion mixture. Mash the entire mixture thoroughly, so it’s like a paste. (I use a fork.)  Stir in 2-3 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. dry oregano.
  5. “Add the onion mixture to the bean pot. Cover and simmer for an hour or more if it seems like they aren’t done.
  6. “Add 4 tsp. dry oregano and cook uncovered until the sauce thickens.”

¡Buen provecho y disfrutar del viaje! ~Melissa


Mediterranean Dinner Group

This is a meal from a dinner group we did a while back. I found it in my notes and thought I’d share. Maybe I’ll even try recreating it this weekend. All ingredients are estimates, of course, because cooking is an art (baking is the science). 

We started with an Antipasto Tray: cubes of mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheeses, garlic stuffed green olives, black olives, and kalamata olives, salami slices, baby carrots, and ranch and bleu cheese dressings.

Meanwhile, Heather brought a salad that was mixed greens, tomatoes, cheese, and croutons.

And Erin brought French bread with this amazing Parmesan dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce (sorry, I don’t have amounts, just ingredients):
Mix dry ingredients first:
Minced garlic cloves
Salt & pepper
Parmesan Cheese
Italian seasoning
Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I think equal parts).
Then give each couple a bowl of the oil mixture. Spoon in as much or as little of the dry cheese mixture as desired, and dip slices of French bread into it.

Mediterranean Pork Tenderloin:
Marinated 3# pork tenderloin in the following combination:
1 small bottle of white wine (Chardonnay, about 1 c.)
1/2 jar of pitted Kalamata olives (with juice)
1/4 c. worchestershire
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. each of salt, pepper, thyme
1/4 tsp. celery seed
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced

The longer you can marinate, the better. I let it set for about 6 hours.

Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, until no pink remains but still moist.

Serve with Mediterranean mushrooms over rice.

Mediterranean Mushrooms:
Saute 8 oz. mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. butter. 
Add garlic salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and paprika to taste.

We concluded the evening with apple pie and coffee, accompanied with a healthy dose of laughter in finding out that we are all very much alike. Go Northern girls marrying Southern guys! 🙂