Sunday, August 26, 2012

That Really Is My Middle Name


“My middle name is Faith not Fear. My middle name is Faith not Fear. My middle name is Faith not Fear.” That’s what I keep telling myself to try to feel better. So far, I can’t say it’s working. School is here again and I am taking molecular biology and the lab for that, protein analysis, and ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2 and the lab for that.

I cannot tell you in words how completely freaked out I am about the O chem. I have talked to lots of people who have taken it and they all say to be prepared to study more than I ever have in my life and still take 2-8 hours on each test and then be happy if I get a C. These are intelligent people who do well in other classes, but this is one of the toughest courses in college. The hardest I will have to take for sure.

O chem. 1 nearly killed me. I slept about 4 or 5 hours a night so I could keep up with all the studying, in addition to mommy duty with the cooking, cleaning, helping with homework stuff. I do not do well on such little sleep. I get very emotional and even more forgetful than my regular self. At least in O chem. 1, half of the grade was determined by homework and quizzes and I did well on those. In O chem. 2, my grade will solely be determined by my test scores. Completely. And there is only a possibility of a very tiny curve, if any at all, in this class. I'm not posting this to get comments that I can do it. I appreciate the confidence of my family and friends, but I know they are being nice and have no idea how very difficult this really is for me.

I’ve had a blessing and I’m trying to have faith that even if I can’t earn a C, it will be okay. I can re-take it the next semester and try again. Of course, that is not preferable. I would have to pay again to take it and it would set my internship back one semester. I continue to pray with the same words that I’ve been using, and it’s been working so far. “Father, if this is what thou wants me to do, I need thy help because I cannot do it alone.” I have seen His hand in my life and felt strength that can only come from him. I have been able to do more than I thought possible for me. So I feel so ungrateful and unfaithful when I fear this class and other things in my future. I am doing my best to squash it.

The best I can do now is just to go forward. I saw something today at my daughter’s junior high.


There have been times that I have thought that I should just quit school and get a job. Not only would I not have to suffer through classes that I cannot understand, but it would be better financially. But I know I would always wonder if I could have finished. And so far I have decided to try it first and only make a decision to quit if I fail, not before.

So I’m taking a big breath, getting ready for a semester of no sleep, flashcards constantly in my hands 6 days a week (so grateful for Sundays!), horribly long exams that leave me in tears, almost no time for blogging again, and lots of quick dinners instead of my usual recipes. (You can take that to mean occasional cereal or sandwiches for dinner like last semester. I’m such a healthy momma.) It’s only 4 months, right?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Korean Pork Tacos with Cucumber Slaw


Samantha recently posted this on Cool Foodie Mama and I already made it tonight. I was so glad to find something easy that everyone liked. I left out the hot sauce because of my kids' preference. I cut the cucumbers matchbox-style and diced the onions. Besides that, I followed the recipe. I put lots of slaw on mine since I love veggies. I like the crunch and freshness of the slaw together with the tender meat. Elisa thanked me lots because I rarely cook pork and she loves it.
Korean Pork Tacos with Cucumber Slaw
4-5 pounds picnic pork, pork butt, pork shoulder (it's just about the same)
10 oz. low sodium soy sauce
1 c. brown sugar
6 garlic cloves
4 T. fresh grated ginger
6 T. rice vinegar
6 T. dark sesame oil
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. sriracha hot sauce
1 c. water

Slaw:
1 regular cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1/3 red onion also sliced thin
1/4 t. salt
4 T. rice vinegar
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Dump all ingredients for the pork in the crockpot and set on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. After the 6 or 8 hours, pull the pork out and shred. Pour the sauce into a saucepan on the stove at medium-high heat and reduce by half. Toss the pork back into the reduced sauce and keep warm.
 
For the slaw, toss the ingredients together into a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to soften the veggies.

To serve, scoop up some pork into a soft, warm flour tortilla, top with plenty of cucumber slaw.
                          
 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pineapple, Corn and Bell Pepper Relish

Since I already love the Red Pepper Relish on the chicken sandwiches, I copied this other relish recipe as soon as I saw it on Eat Yourself Skinny. I was especially drawn to the recipe because I love pineapple and it was definitely the star of the dish to me! I loved each component of the relish, but the pineapple made me want more and more.

The only thing I changed was to grill the corn and pineapple. I just thought I'd like it better. I made it with a grilled teriyaki chicken instead of the chicken recipe Kelly made with the relish because we like a saucier chicken. How many favorite dishes can one person have? I dunno, but this is on my list! Are you drooling yet???

Pineapple, Corn and Bell Pepper Relish 

2 c. cubed fresh pineapple (about 1/2 pineapple)
1/2 c. fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1/3 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
3 T. finely chopped red onion
1 T. cider vinegar
1 t. sugar
1/4 t. salt

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Serve over chicken.

Winner of the "Day"

Just a quick post to let you all know that

Tamara

won the Nik Day CD. I really hope she likes his music and enjoys the prize since she told me that the speakers on her computer don't work so she hasn't been able to listen to the songs or videos I posted.
Congrats, Tamara. I'll email you right now with info.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Can't See Jesus

I just got back from a morning at the temple and wanted to write my feelings down. I wasn’t sure if I should share them or not, but I found this online at LDS.org, so my feelings seem okay to share.

"What can I say to others about my experience in the temple?
You can talk about what the interior of the temple looks like, and you can freely share the feelings you have in the temple. However, temple covenants and ordinances, including the words used, are too sacred to bediscussed in detail outside the temple. By avoiding discussion of these sacred things outside the temple, we protect them from mocking, ridicule, or disrespect. Do not be casual when talking about your experiences in the temple."

For those readers who do not know, there are different rooms in the temple for different purposes. Before the temple is dedicated, anyone of any faith can walk through a finished temple during the open house and see the beautiful building and learn about the purpose of the temple. One of the rooms in the temple is called the Celestial Room.

“The celestial room symbolizes the exalted and peaceful state that all may achieve through living the gospel of Jesus Christ. This room represents the contentment, inner harmony, and peace available to eternal families in the presence of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” (from LDS.org)

There is a painting of Christ on the wall in the main room. It is a painting that I grew up seeing and, although it is of Christ, who I love, the painting didn’t mean much to me until a visit to this temple years ago when I needed comfort and peace. These outstretched arms seemed almost 3D to me, reaching to me, to hug me and succor me. Since then, I always look up at this painting when I am there; reminding of my Savior’s love, and of a constancy when so much else in my world seems to be unstable and temporary.


This morning as I entered the celestial room, I saw that it was pretty crowded and there weren’t many open seats. The celestial room at this temple includes a main room with 2 kind of alcoves off to each side (left and right). I sat in a seat in one of the alcoves and then looked up at the wall of the main room. From the angle I was at, I couldn’t see this painting. As silly as it seems (and is), tears came to my eyes as I thought, “I can’t see Jesus”.

I immediately thought about how horrible I would feel if when it was my time to leave this world and pass into the next, I was judged and my actions only qualified me to live eternally in the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdom. I would not get to live with my Father in Heaven and with Jesus Christ. My heart would ache because “I can’t see Jesus” all the time. It just gave me a small glimpse into what a blessing it will be for those who do qualify for the Celestial Kingdom to live with them.

I know that no matter how long I live, I will not approach perfection in this life, and I’m grateful we don’t have to be perfect, but on the right path, following the commandments and keeping our covenants, letting our Father mold our hearts and characters, in order to live with Him again.  What a beautiful future to look forward to if we endure here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Your New Favorite CD

I just got back from an awesome concert from one of my favorite local singer/songwriters-- Nik Day. My kids think I'm a bit obsessed with his music because I have played it lots over the past year and a half since I first heard him play at BYU. And you might think so too since I've blogged about him herehere and here. (Go check out those links to see some of his fun videos.) What can I say? I really like his music.
For some reason, I never noticed that he looks a lot like Shawn from Psych. What do you think? 




So why am I posting about him again? Well, my few loyal readers, I have one of his CDs for one of you! And along with the CD, I'm giving you a cap from Central Utah Gardens, where the concert was. So if you'd like to enter to win this SUPER prize, just leave some sort of comment below. I'll pick a winner Wednesday, August 22 at noon, so enter before then. (I can only send the prize to an address in the continental US.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Basil Grilled Chicken Sandwiches With Red Pepper Relish

I posted this recipe waaaay back in 2008. I didn't have a photo of it then and since I remembered to take a photo this time and probably no one looks back that far in the archives, I figure it's fine to repost the recipe. I love how tender the yogurt makes the chicken and the lemon-basil flavor from the marinade. The red pepper relish makes this sandwich special. I use rolls instead of the focaccia and romaine instead of arugula. Sometimes I use spinach. Pretty healthy dish.

Basil Grilled Chicken Sandwiches With Red Pepper Relish

1 c. plain yogurt (low-fat or non-fat)
1 lemon, juice and zest of
1 garlic clove, minced
10 basil leaves, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onions
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 c. fresh red peppers, chopped
1 T. balsamic vinegar
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 c. arugula leaves
4 small loaf focaccia bread, sliced in half

Mix the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, garlic and basil together in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken and coat it evenly with the yogurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the red pepper relish. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper, onion and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, cool and stir in the basil. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the chicken preheat the grill to high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken on both sides until it is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Let the chicken cool slightly and slice it on the bias.

For the sandwiches spread 4 halves of the focaccia with some of the red pepper relish, then top with sliced chicken and arugula. Finish the sandwiches with a dollop of relish and the other half of the focaccia.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

What is better than a cinnamon roll cake? Try a cinnamon roll cake with berries! I found this recipe at Eat Cake for Dinner and couldn't wait to try it. The only thing I would do differently is double the amount of topping and swirl half the topping in and then top the cake with the other half to get more cinnamon in there. I was in a hurry and had to take the cake out after 33 minutes, even though it probaly could have used a few more minutes of baking, but it was moist and had a great flavor. I love all berries so I might try it with a different berry next time.
Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Cake

Blueberry Sauce
1 pt. blueberries
1/4 c. water
1 T. sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 t. vanilla extract

Cake
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. orange zest, opt.
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon

Glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
2 - 3 T. milk (more if needed)
1 t. vanilla extract

To make the blueberry sauce: Add the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened, mashing the blueberries as you go.  Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. In a separate dish combine the milk, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined. Pour into a greased pan. Dollop blueberry sauce over cake batter and swirl using a butter knife. (OR pour half batter into pan and then pour blueberry sauce over whole cake. Top with remaining batter and topping.)

For the topping: Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until it looks like wet sand. Sprinkle evenly over the cake. Bake for 30-33 minutes. Let cake cool for 20-30 minutes.

To make the glaze: Whisk together all ingredients until smooth, adding only enough milk until it reaches desired consistency. Pour over slightly cooled cake. Let cake sit for 1 1/2 - 2 hours before cutting and serving. Don't rush this part or you might end up with a completely sunken cake.

Pepperoni, Mozzarella & Broccoli Pasta Salad

I have been making this for a very long time and can't believe I haven't blogged it before. My family got this recipe when my sister...