Sunday, February 27, 2011

Satay Lettuce Wraps

This recipe is so easy and made me feel like quite the chef tonight! Can't take credit for the recipe thought, my favorite Rachael Ray makes this so fun and a great dinner while we settled in to watch the Oscars tonight. Enjoy!

Go ahead and prep all your veggies by chopping up 1/4 lb mushrooms (oyster, baby white, or shiitake). 1 bunch of chopped scallions, garlic, fresh ginger chopped in matchsticks (this was a new one for me but it smells delicious!) and any other veggies you like we used red bell peppers
Oh yeah, and we had edamame as an appetizer during the red carpet.

Cook ground chicken, or sliced chicken cutlets in a pan with EVOO.

Once it's cooked go ahead and add your mushrooms, 


Ginger, garlic, and any other veggies you like. Let it cook for about 4 minutes so everything can marry together.

Create a "well" in the middle of the pan

Then add 1/2 cup of apple juice or chicken stock, 1/4 cup of tamari sauce (you can also use regular soy sauce), and 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter. Stir the center sauce together so the peanut butter melts together.

Stir it all up and add a few crushed peanuts on top.

Serve alongside iceburg lettuce  (core removed, quartered). Well, we didn't really have the right kind of lettuce to hold the meat, so we got creative and just made a salad of sorts. Nonetheless it was delicious and the distinct flavors made me feel quite domesticated.
Oh yea, and here's our make-shift dining room table. Oh well, no place I'd rather be than cozied up next to my husband on a Sunday night. 

Friday, February 25, 2011


"Eucharisto - the table of thanksgiving. Charis. Grace. Eucharisto, Thanksgiving. Chara, Joy. A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black. A threefold chord that might hold a life? Offer a way up into the fullest life? Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharaisto.  A Greek word.....that might make meaning of everything?"
This book is slowly beginning to change my life!
Helping me notice moments like this....

Sunsets like this...

Opportunities I have to serve the ones around me with rice crispies...

and iced coffee for late nigh studying

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get Real

Don't you think its funny the way that God speaks to you when you least expect it? I have been really enjoying my time here, trying to soak up every minute. But at the same time my go-getter-self has not stopped wishing for more. For more to do during the day, for ways to working, for ways to get experience in a school, for more friends, more volunteer work, just for more. And now, that more that I have been praying for is about to hit me right in the face and I don't know what to do with it!

I am in week 5 of my 8 week courses and the work is really starting to build up. While I still love what I'm learning, work is work and I have a lot of it! On top of that, I have finally made connections here. I have two meetings next week on the same day; one personal and one professional and I have the unusual feeling of insecurity.

While I have been praying for faithful friends I am scared about getting vulnerable with perfect strangers. And while I am dying to move forward with my career I am nervous that this meeting will lead me no where. Why now do I have so many fears when I God is doing nothing but opening doors?

I am reminded of this beautiful quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Not only because it is so applicable and well spoken, but because it reminds me of my dear friend Sadie. Her love of history has helped me appreciate the wisdom of figures like this and I know exactly what she would say to me right now. She would say that I am crazy to turn down opportunities like this because I'm afraid. She would tell me to go forward knowing that I'm not alone and even if I make a fool of myself that God will bless my vulnerability and obedience. And she would say that she would be cheering me on and praying for me from the sidelines. How beautiful!

Sadie was an out-of-this-world-more-than-a-girl-could-ask-for Maid of Honor

Martin Luther King Jr. said "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."

So here I go, I'll take a step. I'll take a deep breath and remember my mother's words once again. "BE STRONG AND WEAR GREAT JEWELRY."
Also is great with a list so here is my list of comforting truths   
 Verse 04 Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Not from memory yet)

Verse 03 Matthew 14:27 "Do not be afraid, he said, I am with you."

Verse 02 Proverbs 24:3-4 "With wisdom a house is built, through understanding it is established. With knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."

Verse 01 1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 

Acts 17:26-28 "And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him, Yet he is actually not far from each one ofus, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'" He has a plan and a hope for us

Romans 12:12-13 "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality."

Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord my rock and my redeemer."

Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for teh Lord God is my strength and my song and he has become my salvation."

Cherry Tomatoe Pasta

This recipe was such a fun Valentine's Day meal. Red tomatoes, red wine...delish!
My wonderful high school Spanish teacher and leadership director extraordinaire share this with me and with her faithful coaching through text messages I pulled it off.

The best thing about this recipe is you could really do a lot with it and add whatever flavors you like to kick it up a notch! And it takes a total of 15 minutes, you can't beat that!

Start by boiling water with a little salt for the pasta. In separate pan add 2 pints of cherry tomatoes and a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)  and 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. (this was enough for 2-3 people but you may need more tomatoes for a larger crowd)
 COVER for about 8min and then cook uncovered for about 4min. The tomatoes are going to heat up and the skin will get soft and start to peel away. You are making a sauce here to the soft skin makes for a great naturally mushy sauce when its all said and done.
This is the only other top we could find in the room. Resourceful eh?

When the water boils go ahead and add your pasta (we use whole wheat)

After cooking the tomatoes uncovered, add a 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese and a handful of fresh basil

 This is where you could get creative by adding any other herbs, spices or meat (chicken, shrimp). I even thought about adding some other veggies like celery but to be honest it's just so good there's no need.
Add it to the past and vuala! (sp?)

Thank you Mrs. Shockley for this delicious recipe! It was a Valentine's Day hit!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scripture Memory Challenge: Verse 04

Alright my scripture memory challengers we are off to versre #4!

I have to be honest with you, this last one fell a bit by the wayside. While I have it memorized I didn't quite spend the time I hoped meditating on it and allowing it to really make a place in my heart. But that is what is so cool about Scripture. It is always there and always will be. One more verse added to my collection and I'm sure that there will be a time when God brings it to mind just when I need it. How cool is that!?

The verse I chose for this week is convicting for me. Makes me look myself in the eye and examine my sinful nature in a real way. This was the verse that our pastor here opened with on the first Sunday we attended. So here goes...

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 NIV

Just for fun, here are a few other translations...
The Message: "So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit."

New Living Translation: "So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up."

Contemporary English Version: Don't get tired of helping others."You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don't give up." 

How are you doing on your verses? I'd love to here from you! If you are just joining in on the challenge, come on board! It's never too late to let Scripture infuse your heart. I would encourage you to make this challenge your own. Perhaps you only study one verse for each month instead of two, or one the whole year. Scripture memory is an extremely powerful free gift from God. Stay committed and as my mom would say, "Be Strong and Wear Great Jewelry!"

Monday, February 14, 2011


Here are a few pictures from our first Valentine's Day as a married couple. Today we are going to a 1 year old's birthday party, yesterday C was preparing for a big test he had to take today, which meant the best day to celebrate the "Hallmark Holiday" was Saturday.

The day started by going to the Humane Society to look at dogs. We found a great one, and I it was so fun for me to watch C get so attached to an animal. A side of him that I have not really seen before. Unfortunately as we went to the ask the volunteers for an application another family was already filling theirs out for the same dog. :( Oh well, maybe next time.

After a great workout we got gussied up and headed to a great sushi restaruant we've been wanting to try. Just as quickly as we walked in we walked right out. There was an 1.5 hr wait!! We drove around a while and settled in at a great Italian place called Carinos. I of course, would have loved to get a few shots of us in our attire but C isn't a fan of the pics in the first place and it's hard to find someone to take a full body shot. So here's what we got.
Not prepared for a picture

 I on the other hand, have no problem showing my affection

 Making chocolate covered Strawberries. C decided to coat one in peanut butter and chocolate it was delicious!
 Tulips and roses. A little romance and a little pop of spring!
This was such a thoughtful gift. I have a collection of these Willow Tree figures. This one is called "Love of Learning", he said it was to encourage my dreams of teaching. Wish I could explain to you how much this meant to me. Husbands really have a way of knowing just what you need.
 It was a beautiful day so I did some photography practice

Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, February 13, 2011

There's No Place like Here

Hello dear ones!

It has been quite a while since I've spent time writing but it feels so good to be "back in the saddle" and connecting to you through this beautiful digital world. I really want to tell you all about my friend Stephanie. She is an artist, teacher, fiance to an almost Navy officer, and friend. She has just launched her website and her artwork is amazing and inspiring!

But what my friend Stephanie has taught me is something that I know I will struggle with for a long time, something that God has been trying to get through my thick head for ages.  
CONTENTMENT; adj. satisfied with what is or has been, not wanting anything else.
The ability to be content where you are. There are so many things that I want to do and so many things I feel like I should be doing right now or working toward. But instead I am called to sit here with my husband, bounce back and forth from the library to the grocery store.

Some days it seems so meaningless and without any purpose. But then I look in the mirror and see the pride and selfishness that so often consumes my heart. Who am I to say where I should be or what I should be doing? Who am I to think I should be anywhere than right here, where God has planted me.

This is the essence (and title) of Stephanie's website and everytime I click on the bookmarked tab I am reminded that yes, there is no place like right here. NO other place than where God has sent me and if I just allow him to fill my heart He will surprise me in so many ways!

Example A: This morning at church I was introduced to a woman name Julie. She is the college counselor at a high school around here. She welcomed me to spend a day with her learning about her place in the education world. What a beautiful example of God's love, reaching out to a perfect stranger.  Pray with me that Julie will have more opportunities for me to learn and prepare myself for God's next step.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Coming Home

Here I sit at the gate getting ready to leave this beautiful home. The place that will forever be my home, no matter how old I am, where I am actually living or who I am living with. Annapolis is my home and the sweet people who fill the walls make it what it is to me. I have so enjoyed the chance to come home for a short time and give my parents a chance to experience a whole other world together. My sisters and I were able to grow so close this week and share in each others challenges and victories together, as one team!

I got to visit Dorian's school and see a small part of her world. Rejoyced with Natalie as she was selected to travel to England this summer to play lacrosse. And even got to visit with my brother Zak, over Skype that is. We cooked and danced and treated our faces to the most fun face mask treatment.

Then mom and dad came home and the celebrations continued. On Friday my mom celebrated the 30th anniversary of her cancer surgery. 30 years ago she was a vibrant senior in high school and her world, for the moment, was crashing down. But PRAISE THE LORD, she survived the surgery and is a living breath, WALKING miracle. A prosthetic knee that was supposed to last 3-4 years has survived 30 years of life! 

I'm not sure why it is so hard to leave this morning. Mom and I both said goodbye with smiles through our teary eyes. She tells me that our sadness is good because it means we have a close family, "Attachment Theory". I told her that while this may be true, the psychological explanation does not make it any easier. But at the end of the day, when it's time to dry the tears put on my big girl panties and start the next chapter of life I am not alone.

VERSE 03: "Do not be afraid" He said "Take courage for I am here" Matthew 11:

(this picture was taken a while ago, and is missing Zak)
I am surrounded by a loving God and a supportive family. No matter how hard it is to say goodbye every time I can take courage in knowing that I am not just leaving on my own. My God is coming with me and will be the connection that binds us wherever I am living.

Thank you God for the gift of family. Thank you mom and dad for letting your love for each other create a beautiful home.
(also an old photo, but a cute one nonetheless)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rachel Ray's Stuffed Pizza Rustica

I have had the wonderful priviledge to come home to Annapolis this week to watch my sisters Natalie and Dorian while my parents are in Dubai. The fun adventures we have had, just girls, has been so much fun and a much needed blast of estrogen I've been needing :)

On Saturday we had a fun mall shopping adventure and came home to play lots and lots of "Just Dance" and made this delicious stuffed pizza. I was so excited that the girls loved it so much and even heard Dorian say, "Noelle you have to give mom this recipe so she can make it for us" SCORE!

The best part is you can totally make it your own and add whichever meats, cheeses, and veggies you like. Since it was an experiment this time we kept it simple with meats and cheese, but I'm anxious to try it again with a  few more twists. Here's the link to Rachel's original recipe.

First roll out pizza dough on a cookie sheet or pizza stone. It is supposed to be round but we went with the square pizza. Also we used the pillsbury dough that comes in a tube

 Cut the dough in half, one for the top one for the bottom. If you are making a large pizza you may need to use 2 cans of dough.
Combine pesto sauce and tomatoe sauce  in a bowl as the paste. Rachel suggests making an olive toppanade
Spread the pesto/tomato sauce on the bottom layer of dough

Now begin to layer meat and cheese (and even veggies). 

We used prosciutto


smoked turkey...

mozzarella, and pepperoni.

Place the rest of the dough on top, pinching the sides together and spread a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on the top for added flavor

Bake at 450 degrees for about 15min. or until golden brown

We were having so much fun we made a spinach pizza and pepperoni for Dori of course ;)