Thursday, January 31, 2013

Love Worth Fighting For

This was supposed to be a quick share but then I started talking about why I wanted to share it.  :oP

As mentioned in my Pinterest post, I've been clearing email drafts of random links from everywhere.  One of them was this song, Love Is Not a Fight, by Warren Barfield.

I heard of this song from the movie Fireproof.  A cheesy movie with a really great message.  It's about a couple, Caleb and Catherine, who are on the rocks and fighting all the time.  They are about to give up and get a divorce when Caleb's dad challenges him to a 40-day "Love Dare," (a real-life Christian devotional program designed to strengthen marriages).  He does it reluctantly, but silently without telling Catherine what he is doing.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so you can read the wikipedia entry if you want to know what happens without watching the movie.

Despite it being kinda cheesy and the actors not being that great (sorry, Kirk Cameron), it was a pretty powerful movie, and I am usually not moved by such things as movies!  Though I'm sure anyone can identify with the struggles, I felt like it impacted me all the more because I was married.  (And Tim and I don't even really fight!)

Anyway... one of the theme songs in the movie is called "Love is Not a Fight."  The lyrics are below and I encourage you to read it through.  So many people are getting divorces these days... sometimes it seems like marriages aren't worth it anymore.  We've become a very "me"-centric society and the minute something or someone doesn't make me happy, we move onto something that does.  But I want to think differently -- that marriage is a commitment made and not to be broken.

Love Worth Fighting For
By Warren Barfield
Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It's a house we enter in
Then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for 
Have you seen Fireproof before?  What do you think about this song?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I dids it. I held off for SO. LONG. But I did it.

I joined Pinterest. :)

I knew that I would love it. And I knew I would probably spend too much time on it, which is why I've been holding off on joining! But I had dinner with a friend a few weeks back who was totally selling it for me. (As if I needed too much help thinking it was fabulous.) :) I've really enjoyed it because... I have hundreds of bookmarks for crafts and recipes, AND... a million random email drafts with random links to "cool stuff"! So I've been transferring all these random links and deleting all these drafts. It's been great. :)

I have also had to enact some NO PINTEREST DAYS, to help prevent too much time lost. :oP

Here are some of my favorite pins for Valentine's Day!  (It's not too early to start planning, right?)  Some of these I pinned from things I've found online and others I've re-pinned.

Source: via Alvina on Pinterest

Come be my friend!
Follow Me on Pinterest

So are you on Pinterest?  Is it a worst time sucker than Facebook?  What are some of your favorite things to pin?  Recipes?  Random funny things?  Clothes?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

I made these a few weeks back and wanted to make more today BUT WE'RE LOW ON FLOUR.  How is that possible!

Anyway... these were definitely different from the Chocolate Chip Muffins!  Whilst the Chocolate Chip Muffins were more dry and scone-like, these Blueberry Muffins were super moist!  I thought these were more muffin-like, but Tim said he liked the Chocolate Chip Muffin-texture better.  I think this Blueberry Muffins recipe was less "healthy" because of the buttah and sour cream... but that was probably why it was so moist!  :)

Some organic blueberries!

All the dry ingredients together

The egg, sugar, butter, sour cream concoction!  It was super thick and smooth.

Pop 'em in the oven at 350 degrees.  I topped them off and they turned out fine.

All done!

Instagram-ed  :)

Blueberry Muffins
By Brown Eyed Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tablespoon baking powder
 ½ teaspoon salt
 1 egg
 1 cup granulated sugar
 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
 1¼ cups sour cream
 1½ cups frozen or fresh blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F*. Line standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Whisk the egg in a separate medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until thick, about 30 seconds. Add the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add the sour cream in 2 additions, whisking just to combine.

3. Add the berries to the dry ingredients and gently toss just to combine. Add the sour cream mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the batter comes together and the berries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds. Small spots of flour may remain and the batter will be very thick. Do not overmix.

4. Using a large spoon or a cookie scoop sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, divide the batter amount the muffin cups. Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Immediately remove muffins to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Can you SEE how moist they are? :D
They took a little more "work" than the other muffins I've made -- mainly because of the butter and sour cream part.  But they were super delicious!  You can taste the buttah.  haha.  I made these as a trial batch intended for my BFF new parents, but I haven't actually gotten around to making a second batch for them.  Maybe sometime this week!

What's your favorite blueberry muffin recipe?  Do you like 'em more dry and scone-like or more moist?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

*Blanket the World in Love*

I thought I'd share this since the event is... TOMORROW and I said I would do it! I kinda wish I had more time to think about it (though I actually had an idea -- that involve the words, treating - coworkers - lattes, before I even heard about this!), but here goes in case you want to participate. Then we can participate together! :D

Ellie Fun Day (they "design baby blankets that change the lives of marginalized women in India"!) issued this "challenge" for tomorrow, January 18.

The pitch?
"This is the day where LOVE prevails and people are surprised by the simplest act. Can you imagine someone cheering you up in a totally unexpected way? Can you imagine that YOUR simple act of love bringing a smile to someone's face?"

Details here and suggestions by Ellie Fun Day:

"Blanket with a Gift”
  • donate a blanket to Project Linus
  • pay for someone’s latte behind you
  • gift someone in need a bag of groceries
  • buy a dozen balloons and hand them out to kids in the park
“Blanket with Words”
  • compliment a stranger sincerely
  • write a letter of appreciation to someone that had a meaningful impact in your life
  • send an encouraging email to someone you haven’t talked to in a year
  • tell someone at work/school something they do well
  • write words of encouragement with chalk on your neighbors’ driveways/sidewalk
"Blanket with Fun”
  • invite a friend to have an indoor picnic
  • take a hike, even a short-walk at lunch with a friend
  • Go to a matinee with a friend

I've got a busy night tonight with more new-parents meals (lasagna!), but hopefully, in addition to treating coworkers to lattes, I'll be able to find ways (cards?  postcards?  emails?  secret notes?) to "blanket with words"! Which is one of my favorites. :) I'll let you know how it goes.

Got any nifty, creative ideas to *blanket the world in love*? What are some ways you've been blessed by others before?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Breakfast Casserole

So last week, we also dropped off a Breakfast Casserole for our new-parents friends!
It's super easy to make and it's good for other occasions that involve a lot of people eating.  :)  It's a great Thanksgiving/Christmas morning thing.  It's a great out-of-town guest thing.  It's a one-pan wonder!


Breakfast Casserole
Recipe courtesy of new-mom herself, Katrina!
8 slices of bread, cut off crust, tear into pieces
1 pound bulk sausage
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray a 9x11 casserole dish
- Cook the sausage in frying pan, drain off ALL grease.  It helps to spread the sausage onto a paper towel while you prep the other ingrediants.
- Lay the pieces of bread out  on the bottom of the dish
- Then spread sausage on top of bread - top this with cheese
- Beat the eggs and milk together -- then pour evenly over top
- Cook at 350 degrees for 35 min or until a knife inserted in middle comes out clean
*It is best if you fix this the night before and put it in the fridge and cook it in the morning
You can also mix in other ingredients and goodies like mushrooms, bell peppers, bacon, etc.  This is also good for brunches and well, really any time of the day.  :)
What are your favorite breakfast dishes to cook for large groups of people?  Or breakfast dishes for new parents?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Japanese Brown Curry from a Box!

Continuing on the impromptu cooking for new parents series, on Wednesday, we dropped off more food for my BFF and her husband.

I made Japanese brown curry and rice, egg, sausage, and cheese casserole, more chocolate chip muffins, and some pastries from Bread of Life! (Packaged in environmentally unfriendly but so convinient plastic boxes). :) And I couldn't resist buying the mini cha-siu baos (BBQ buns).  They were so cute!

I ran around Oakland Chinatown looking for curry blocks (I went to at least four stores) and it seemed the only kind I could find was Golden Curry, in the small size. So I had to pick up two (which were kinda expensive!) for enough food for 4 people (plus leftovers).
I usually use and like Vermont Curry. Tim is weirded by the advertised with a touch of apple and honey, but after trying Golden Curry, we both agreed Vermont Curry has a better flavor. :) You can usually find one or the other (or both!) at your local Asian supermarket.
Japanese brown curry from a box is pretty easy! You just follow the directions on the box, and even then you just have to mostly get the measurements for water correct (and the rest is really kind of flexible in my opinion). :oP

Japanese Brown Curry from a Box!
Makes a giant pot.
  • 1 Box Sauce Mix (preferably Vermont Curry) ~ 8.8oz size (large box)
  • 1.5 cup of cubed chicken (or beef or pork, but I've only tried chicken before)
  • 1/2 a large onion or 1-2 medium onions
  • 3-4 medium potatoes
  • 1-2 medium carrots
  • Cooked rice
  1. Cut meat, onions, carrot and potatoes into bite-size pieces. Sauté in saucepan until lightly browned. Add 5-3/4 cups water (if using large box) and bring to boil. Cook over low to medium heat about 20 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Remove from heat. Break curry sauce mix into pieces and add to saucepan.
  3. Cook over low heat about 20 minutes, or until curry thickens. Serve over cooked rice.
Note: The large box says it's 12 servings. (But I think it feeds more like.... 4 really hungry people, possibly to 6. Maybe the Japanese are conservative eaters. haha.) When using a half packet, please add half the amount of the ingredients mentioned and 3-1/2 cups of of water.

This was a staple for feeding friends in college.  All.  The. Time.  :)

Have you made Japanese Brown Curry from a box before?  What's your favorite brand/flavor?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Here are the chocolate chip muffins I mentioned yesterday. For some reason, I stated on Facebook that they were the first muffins I've baked from scratch. Then I found out I had made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins before!  :oP
Do you like the new oven mitt Tim got me for Christmas?  :)
Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from 
(I made some adjustments based on the comments/feedback people posted on the original recipe.)
Makes 12 muffins.
2 cups all-purpose flour

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meals for new parents

My BFF just had her first kid!  So I've been learning about cooking meals for new parents.  Though I'm beginning to think it's really just my excuse to go over there to hold little Sammy (short for Samuel).  :)

Hello Sammy!!!

 Last Saturday we brought over enchiladas to share with them, then a Mexican rice casserole for later, chocolate chip muffins, and cinnamon buns!  From the last time some friends had a baby in Boston, I learned (from reading blogs) that new parents often receive many freezable meals like lasagna and casseroles, but don't have things to eat for breakfast!  Since then I've tried to include muffins in addition to bringing over a meal.  In this case I happen to know the dad loves cinnamon rolls, so I grabbed a tube of that at the grocery store.  The muffins I made from scratch and will feature tomorrow!

We went Pillsbury on this one!

Chocolate Chip Muffin!

We got a Costco rotisserie chicken that day and put it to good use in the enchiladas and Mexican rice casserole.  The Mexican rice casserole is one of my favorites to make because it's so easy.  I liken it to Mexican fried rice, without any cooking.  (Just mixing and baking!) 

The recipe is from Sugarcrafter's "Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake"!  (Sorry no pictures.)  She includes a bunch of cheeses I usually don't have, so I usually adapt it to what I have on hand.

So here's my version, adapted from Sugarcrafter:

  • 1 1/2 cup chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 4  cooked white rice
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (or dice up a fresh one)
  • 1 tsp ground cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you want it)
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (sometimes I forget this one if we don't have any)
  • Extra cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro, for topping

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add all the ingredients together, except for the last line (extra cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro), in a large bowl.  Transfer into a greased 9x13 pan.  Put extra cheddar cheese on top and then pop it into the oven!  Bake for ~20 minutes or until it's warmed through.

    It makes for fabulous leftovers since it's a pile of stuff all mixed together already anyway.  :)  One issue we found was that if you make it for new parents or put it unbaked in the fridge (overnight) before baking, it may dry out a bit (rice soaks up the sour cream/liquids?)  So you may want to have some extra sour cream handy and/or hot sauce!  Sometimes I throw in some Tapitio Hot Sauce in while I'm mixing it or if it's with others and someone might not eat spicy, I just add it to my plate. 

    If you're cooking for new parents or other people, make sure to check whether they can eat spicy, have certain ingredients they don't like, or if they're allergic to any food items!

    Have you cooked for new parents?  What are some favorite new parents you've made or have received?  Or have recipes that freeze well?  Please share!

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Tastier in an Orange Cup!

    My friend Rebecca shared this article from the Kitchn with me, and I'll have to say... it must be true!  :oP

    Hot Chocolate Tastes Better in an Orange Cup!

    The article, which looks like originally came from Science Daily, says,
    "Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University tested this theory by having 57 participants taste the same type of hot chocolate out of four different cups: white, creme, red and orange. All of the participants claimed the hot chocolate in the orange and creme cups tasted better than the others, with some even going so far as to say the chocolate in the creme cups was sweeter and more aromatic."
    So as The Orange Coffee Cup blog, I say, drink yo stuff in an orange cup!

    This is my orange cup!  :)

    He's a bit pensive...
    Perhaps next Christmas I shall get everyone an orange mug!  :oP  (Not sure about this business with the cream mug makin' things taste good too, haha.)
    Do you own an orange mug?  Do you think things taste better out of an orange mug?  If you try it, let me know!

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    Zoya nail polish

    So.  I've never really been into nail polish.  For the past... maybe TEN years... I've had my one go-to color.  A Wet-N-Wild peachy cream color.  I got it for 99 cents are Long's Drugs.  And I used it for forever.  Including for my wedding.

    But then it got old and the consistency was weird.  And then it smelled extra nail-polishy and I was pretty sure that wasn't good for my brain cells.

    I also learned about three-free (and now five-free) nail polish (here's an article!)  The article says, "3-free formulas that omit harmful dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde," and "5-free polishes, [...] are made without formaldehyde resin and camphor."

    In comes Zoya.  (Which I believe is five-free!)  I'm not entirely sure how I missed the OPI boat (especially since it's a lot easier to find/buy in stores), but I got on the Zoya boat and I've only deviated from it once.  (For a color that didn't work out!)  The first bottle or two may have been some sort of Zoya deal/offer going on and getting things delivered to my house always makes it easier.  :)

    My polish collection is surely peanuts compared to most polish lovers, but this is like... a bajillion more bottles than I owned (or cared for) before!  At current count, I have 11 bottles of Zoya, with three more arriving sometime soon.  :)

    My Zoya Collection! (With 3 more on the way!)
    The three more is why I started this post!  Zoya is "giving away" three bottles!  Though there is $10 shipping, so I see it more as... three bottles for $10!  With them normally at $8 a pop, this is a smashing good deal.  And if you spend [an additional] $25, you get free shipping!  Their nail polish remover  is REALLY good.  Yes, I know it only costs $1 to buy some from Target, but Zoya's removes stuff really easily and really quick.  It's magic.

    You can read more about the deal here.

    Use this link to sign up (if you don't already have an account).  Put three bottles of polish in your cart and use code ZOYA2013. It says the code starts on Jan 7 but it works now! and should run until January 13, 2013.
    I'm just sharing cause I love Zoya.

    What colors will you or did you get?  This time I went with Marina (a blue violet), Purity (white for potentially doing patterns or something), and Bevin (seafoam/light sage green for spring time)!

    Thursday, January 3, 2013


    So... I can pretend I didn't just take a 3.5 month hiatus and like, move to California?  :)

    Inspired by Pioneer Women and her "Resolutions" list.  I may have borrowed a word here or there.

    Here is mine:

    Read my Bible everyday

    Encourage others

    Show love as often as I can

    Organize and clean more often

    Lug my mug - to coffee shops

    Use the gym downstairs!

    Take trips and go on adventures!

    Invite more people over for dinner

    Optimize opportunities in life, church, and work
    Nourish (eat) better
    Perhaps I'll catch up soon and retell our adventures of moving East to West!

    Do you make resolutions?  If so, what are they for 2013?
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