Monday, August 23, 2010

Last days of summer...

I can't believe it's already the end of August.  Right now it is rainy, dark, and cool outside--I love it!  But it's another reminder that summer is coming to an end.  Well, maybe not completely... because Andy and I have our "summer" vacation yet to go on!  We leave for a week in Scottsdale on September 5th.  We are SO looking forward to 5 days of lying by the pool, reading, spending time together, and relaaaxing.  We're also excited about being able to drive around Tempe and spend some time in the town we're moving to in less than a year!  When we decided on when to go on vacation, we were thinking we'd go to some tropical island, but everything seemed too expensive and hurricane season usually starts around September.  So anyway, we both separately thought that Scottsdale would be a nice place to go since it would give us another chance to visit Tempe.  We're staying at a beautiful and luxurious resort.  Yay, I can't wait! 

But in the meantime, the end of August is pretty busy around here.  Next Sunday is a big day at church.  Our church, CFCF, is planting a new local church in a few towns over, Waltham, MA.  The River Church will be pastored by our lead pastor at CFCF!  It's a long story, but Sean's last Sunday, as well as the rest of the Waltham team, next week.  So it's a big celebration service and picnic.  Sean Richmond has been the lead pastor at CFCF for the past 11ish years, so this is a bittersweet day!  Of course, they'll just be "across the river", but it's a big deal.  I'm excited about all that God has in store for The River and also for all of us at CFCF, though!  Unfortunately, it's my weekend to work, so if you're reading this, please pray that someone will switch days with me so I can get sunday off.  I've been going to CFCF for 7 years.  This will be a day I want to be a part of.  Also, the annual college leaders' retreat is at the end of the month.  This is a time of the college faithgroup leaders to come together again after the summer break to pray, worship, and get envisioned for the new school year.  Andy and I are section leaders in the college ministry, so we attend the retreat.  It's going to be interesting since we have new college pastors (our good friends, Dave and June Doran!) now that Travis and Joy are preparing to move to Tempe, too.  The retreat is always a fun time of getting pumped up to see what God has in store for the new year.  (funny, around here, the new year starts in September, not January!)

Ok, so now I'll post some food I've made in the past few days.  One is a delicious new dish that I think I'll make A LOT.  It's so easy and really delicious.  I got the recipe from my aunt Cindy, who got it from her friend (I think?), Shelly Kohler.

Basmati Rice and Chicken Salad 
1 c. basmati rice (I used Jasmine)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1/2 c. thinly sliced green onion (4-6 onions)
1/4 c. chopped sundried tomatoes
1 tsp. grated fresh lemon peel
1 16-oz can of garbanzo beans
1 8-oz jar of artichoke hearts (I think I used a 16 oz can!)
1/4 c. chicken broth
3 Tbl. lemon juice
3 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (um, totally missed this ingredient!)
1/4 tsp each of salt, pepper, and oregano

Basically, cook the rice with the garlic, let cool.  Mix in the chicken and other ingredients, then pour the dressing on.  Mix well.  You can serve this luke warm (like right away after you make it) or cold (from the fridge).  I mean, I'm sure you could heat it up, too, but I think it tastes better slightly cold.  Oh, and I also sliced up little balls of mozzarella. 

Sooo good!
Up close and personal.       

I also used up some lemons I've had lying around by baking these cookies from my favorite blog, Annie's Eats
Delicious lemon poppy seed cookies!
So easy to make!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"This is your best meal ever!"

Today is my parents' 29th wedding anniversary!  Wow.  Congratulations, Mom and Dad!  I am so inspired to be committed to Andy for life just like they are to one another.  Thank you for setting such a wonderful and loving example to us kids about how strong the bond of committed love is supposed to be.  Next sunday is my dad's parents' wedding anniversary.  I'm not sure their number... I think 55 years?  Another inspiring couple in my family.  We have a lot to live up to!  

So, one way I have committed myself to Andy is to cook him lots of delicious food.   And, last night I think I found the most direct way to his heart...through chicken chimichangas.  I saw a recipe in a little cookbook I bought at the grocery store earlier this summer and was inspired to make my own.  He said numerous times that this was the best thing I have ever made.  They were so easy!  I just made my "everything but the kitchen sink Mexican chicken" in the crock pot, filled little burritos with the chicken, mixed with sour cream and shredded cheese, then pan fried the burritos in vegetable oil.  I'm not sure if this is technically what a chimichanga is, but I'm going with it.  The crock pot chicken is basically 2-3 chicken breasts, a jar of salsa, a bag of frozen corn (or a can of corn), a chopped pepper, a chopped onion, maybe some canned beans, maybe some Ro-tel, maybe some cumin, maybe a packet of taco seasoning, salt and pepper... whatever you have on hand that is remotely Mexican... and set the crock pot for 8 hours.  When it's done, the chicken is so amazingly shreddable, I can't even stand it.

Here's a picture of the chicken after I took the fork and shredded it around in the pot:

Mmm... so good!  You can use this chicken for enchiladas, burritos, or just serve it over rice.  It's super easy and delicious. 

Here are the chimichangas...

See that cheesy goodness?  Andy loved it.  I made mine with a whole wheat tortilla.  Try it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Indonesia and 1 Year Anniversary

Hello, everyone! 
I haven't posted in a few weeks because Andy has been out of town and there hasn't been much to say!  But, he returned to the states after 15 days in Indonesia, and it has been great to have him back.  He and his team shared the Gospel with many Muslims who were searching for truth and saw many people healed of physical ailments.  There were several people who, after hearing the story of the redeeming love of Jesus, prayed to receive him in their hearts.  Overall, many many people in the largest Muslim nation in the world were touched by God.  Andy had a really good time--he enjoyed spending time with our friends on the team and loving on the people of Indo.  Here are a few pictures of his trip:  

some sweet children that followed Andy's group around all day!
The CFTS day school team together as they visited a mosque.
Surabayan children
A man whose back was healed after they prayed for God to heal him!

Needless to say, we were happy to be reunited on August 3rd.  5 days later, on August 8th, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary.  Wow!  How did the time fly?  We both feel like this year came and went so quickly, but it was jam-packed with so much goodness.  Some memorable moments:  apple picking for my birthday, Thanksgiving in CT with my family, Christmas in NJ with Andy's family, my missions trip to Haiti, Caroline visiting in February (and seeing her back pain healed by God!), Nick living with us for a month (fun!), taking a cooking class together in Cambridge, accepting an offer to help plant a church in Arizona in 2011...  and so much more!  We celebrated our anniversary a day early by spending the day in Kennebunkport, ME and going to dinner at The Melting Pot.  We had a great day!  Here are some pictures from Maine.  (Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos of us together!  Ironic.)
Pretty flowers as we walked along Ocean Avenue.
Andy thanking God for being married to me ;)
Sitting along the pier at Goocher's Beach

To end, I just wanted to post a yummy side dish I made a few weeks ago.  Roasted corn, zucchini, and squash with garlic and olive oil.  It is a great way to use all those delicious summer veggies!
I added parmesan cheese, tomatoes, avacadoes and balsalmic vinegar.  It can be served hot or cold!