Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bible Study & Baking

I think what you do with your alone time says a lot about you. People fascinate me, but not the surfacy stuff you get on first meeting someone. I'm curious to know who people really are, deep down, when no one else is around. How you spend your alone time is part of that. Do you read?watch t.v.? sleep? go for a run? 

I can tell you what I do. I had the day off today. No agenda. No housework. I slept late. I drank coffee and studied the Bible. I met a friend for lunch. I went to the gym. I baked some bread for dinner. I spent time eating and talking with my husband. To me, that's just about a perfect day. 

When no one else is around, I'm probably reading or baking. Derek and I are studying Galatians together this summer. I'm loving it. (I will share more later.) For now, I want to encourage anyone reading this. Be in God's Word. It's one of the best ways to spend alone time. 

I also love to bake. (Different Greek word for love.) So, with that in mind, I've decided this would be a good place to post recipes I want to share. We had friends over for dinner last night, and I tried a new chicken recipe and an old cobbler recipe. I've attached pictures and recipes for anyone interested. It's just about the best cobbler recipe I've ever tasted. And, it's super easy. And if you don't know what rosemary smells like...

Roasted Chicken Breast with Lemon, Garlic, Rosemary and Potatoes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of extra fat
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but not melted
Zest of 1/2 large lemon, lemon reserved
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 Russet potatoes, washed thoroughly and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
ground pepper

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup
-Pat chicken breasts dry, season liberally with salt and pepper and place in pan
-In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, garlic, and rosemary and stir to combine
-Spread butter mixture evenly over chicken breasts with back of spoon
-Sliced reserved lemon and place slices around the chicken
-In a medium bowl, place cubed potatoes and toss with 1 tsp olive oil, parsley, salt and pepper
-Scatter potatoes around chicken breast
-Place in oven and bak 30-40 minutes or until thickest portion of chicken has reached 175*
-Remove from oven, take chicken out of pan and place on a serving platter; tent w/ foil
-Take a pinch of salt and sprinkle potatoes, toss, and place back in oven 5-10 min.
-Remove potatoes and serve with chicken

Hill Country Peach Cobbler
-from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk (low-fat works)
3 cups sliced fresh peaches, peels left on
1/2 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Melt butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat until it bubbles and turns a nutty brown color. (Be careful not to burn)
-Pour butter into an 8-inch square baking dish.
-In a medium bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and milk.
-Pour the milk mixture on top of the melted butter. Do not stir.
-Without mixing, arrange the peaches evenly on top of the batter. 
-Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the cobbler.
-Bake the cobbler for 40-45 minutes, until the top turns golden brown.
-Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Anyone who knows me well knows that this cookbook is my absolute favorite. It's not much to look at anymore. It has no cover, and the pages are worn and wrinkled from all the batters that have been dribbled on them.  The recipes are outstanding. Anyone with half a sweet-tooth should own this book.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Embracing Austin

Some of you out there in blog world may have to brace yourself for what I'm about to say. There are some who can't imagine life outside of Austin or think you'll have arrived if only you could get to Austin (and I love you dearly). However, that's not my story. Now, all you Austinophiliacs, don't tune me out just yet. I never really knew what all the fuss was about. And there were other things, too.

I heard a pastor say recently, "Almost all of us have spiritually what is called a desert. Almost all of us have had that month, that year...where God feels far from us. If it happened to the men in the Bible, it's going to happen to you."

So, this has been a hard year. We've even questioned whether this was the right decision. But, a good friend said, "Maybe the fact that it's been hard is confirmation that this is where God wants you." (thanks Will) I think he's right. 

So, now it's almost a year since our move. The hard days are fewer. My relationship with God is deeper. And I can say with the psalmist, "Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

There have been some pretty ugly pity parties, but I'm at least learning to make the most of things. My mom calls it "that program that I'm on". I call it embracing Austin. Basically, we do Austiny things and snap pictures with our new camera. Don't laugh; it's helping. Yes, I realize it makes me look like a tourist. I don't care. It's a funny thing that happens when God makes himself greater in your life. The world becomes less, and you care less what others think.  So enjoy our life in Austin, just as I'm learning to...

walking Charlie in the Hamilton Greenbelt...

Gospel sunday brunch at Stubb's BBQ with the Tippins

celebrating new life with new friends (me, Sarah & Nolan, Kristin & Grant, and Kaely)

the sign says it all. 

pancakes at Kirby Lane

dinner at the Hula Hut with Amy

more to come...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weddings & Anniversaries

Derek and I have been to at least 14 weddings together (counting our own). We feel like this is a lot! Somehow each one is still special and different. This weekend we attended the wedding of one of my
 cousins, Trey Coleman, to Whitney Johnson. It was a beautiful wedding and great fun to catch up with and spend time with family. 
Congratulations Trey & Whitney!

    The Girls!

Derek and I also celebrated our two year anniversary this week. June 3. Wow those two years went by fast! I have to say, marriage has been one of the absolutely best things that has ever happened to me. I love my husband. I have no doubt, he is a gift from God!