Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Saturday Morning...

It wasn't meant to be an adventure. My roommates were gone on Saturday-morning missions of their own. The day was still a blank palate. Entranced by the clear lit air, the summer-blue sky, and the massive blossoms on the tree in our backyard, I decided to experiment with my newly-purchased-but-not-yet-broken-in camera.

I grabbed a sweater and the camera, unbolted the back door and stepped onto the back porch shutting the back door firmly behind me.

The sunny day was deceiving. The air was definitely not as warm as I had expected and after just a couple of minutes, standing on the back porch in a light sweater didn't seem like such a brilliant idea. I turned around and grabbed the door handle....which didn't budge.

No. Way. I jiggled the handle, thoroughly irritated. Being responsible, safety-conscious females, my roommates and I ritualistically bolt the front door, whether or not we're at home. And I had just managed to lock myself out of the only other entrance.

I mentally ran through a mental checklist.

Car keys so I could at least leave in my car? Nope. They were safely locked inside.

Spare house key? Of course not.

Possible alternative entrance? Nope. The house was uncannily secure.


Fortunately, I had my phone.

Wallowing in shame, I called my roommate, who miraculously happened to only be a half-mile away. I trudged the half-mile there, secured her house key, trudged the half-mile back, and let myself back into the house.

The End.

Lesson #1: Hide a spare key.
Lesson #2: Having unbreachable security is a good plan. Until you need to breach the security.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Linkage

Here are some links to browse this weekend.

This was a startling reminder of the impact of courtesy.

In a world prone to fear, cynicism, and doubt, this article is a graceful reminder to acknowledge the good.

Chatting at the Sky led me to this beautiful blog.

What have you read this week?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday Linkage

Yes, I'm aware that it's not Friday, but Saturday. All too completely, blissfully, thankfully aware that this morning, instead of frantically dashing out the door and returning home after dark, I was able to just sit and sip my coffee and stare out at the beautiful sunny morning that contained the first tiny hints of spring.

Some weeks are for blogging. This past week was not one of those. It was wonderful and rich and filled to overflowing with real connections, with fellowship, and with work. But it was also one of those weeks in which absolutely nothing blog-related had time to occur.

And with that, here are some links to browse over the weekend....enjoy!

I just discovered Cardus, a site that will, I think, produce a rich harvest of reading. This essay on journals, though, seemed especially good. This brief commentary on living for each day was also encouraging.

Seth Godin always has pithy, thought-provoking posts. This one was particular pithy. And witty.

Jessica from Shiny Mess shared The Broke and the Bookish with me a while ago. The recent post on making time to read made me think about ways to fit more reading into my schedule.

What did you read online this week? Share some links in the comments!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Linkage

It's Friday! Need I say more?

This article on Facebook and the art of defriending was hilarious, especially if you have Aeneas and Julius Caesar lurking in your academic past.

As someone who tends to be pretty good at seizing new projects and simply terrible at letting them go when their time has come, I found this post by Chatting at the Sky poignantly relevant. My favorite line from the post was this:

"Sometimes the art is found in the bravery it takes to begin, and other times the art is about knowing you're finished."

On Boundless, I read a powerful article about the way Christians should view spaces. This seemed particularly relevant since I am in the middle of Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point. Gladwell spends significant time examining environment and the effects one's environment has on one. This may be fodder for a later post, but for now, what do you think about the article? Do you agree?

From Bona Vita comes a recipe just in time for Valentine's Day. This weekend will definitely involve baking.

What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Chili Night...

One recent cold Saturday night found a group of people at my house for dinner. All of us were nearly strangers to each other and to the city. We came together over warm chili and soft bread and tangy lemon cupcakes to relax, to share, and to connect.
We laughed a lot about our persistent and often awkward attempts to feel at home in this sprawling strange city. We compared notes about work and friends and our homes far away. And after a few hours, we parted ways feeling much less like strangers and much more like co-wanderers and friends.

Gather some family, or some friends, or some friends-to-be together over a warm pot of chili this February.  When I used this familiar recipe, I halved the large quantity and still had plenty for six people as well as leftovers that lasted well into the week.

2 lbs. hamburger (extra lean)
1/2 large minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz tomato paste
2 16 oz can red beans (I used kidney because that's all I had on hand, but red are definitely preferable)
1 16 oz can white Northern beans
3 tbl chili powder
3 or 4 large fresh basil leaves (1 tsp crushed dry basil)
1 tsp ground pepper
½ cup Merlot or equivalent red wine (white is an acceptable substitute. Again, all I had on hand...)
In a large stock pot, brown hamburger, minced onion, and minced garlic cloves. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. Simmer for at least 45 minutes and up to 3 hours.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Fajitas

This recipe, I'll admit, almost feels like cheating because it's so quick and simple. But that's the heart of this blog, I suppose...carving out a satisfying, beautiful meal in a short space of time.

Saturday night, a friend came over rather spontaneously. With this recipe, I was able to quickly and easily prepare a wonderful meal for us to enjoy without too much forethought or preparation.

Chicken Fajitas

1 rotisserie chicken (or any leftover chicken you may already have on hand)
2 bell peppers
1 onion
Olive oil
Flour tortillas

First I purchased a rotisserie chicken from the store. The rotisserie chickens that every grocery store sells really are miracles. You can barely buy an uncooked chicken for the price of a cooked one.

I poured a little olive oil in a pan (1-2 tbls. should be sufficient.) Then I sliced up the peppers and onions thinly and added them to the pan. Next, I added small pieces of chicken. I sauteed the combination on low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the onions were transparent and malleable.

Meanwhile, in a shallow frying pan, I poured about 1tbl. of olive oil. I tossed a flour tortilla into the pan and turned the heat on low. Sweep the tortilla around a bit to be sure that the entire bottom is lightly covered in olive oil.

When the tortilla begins to warm and soften, flip it over, covering the other side in oil. Continue to flip the tortilla at intervals until it is soft and most of the oil has been absorbed. Avoid allowing the tortilla to become crispy.

Once the vegetables and chicken are done, place the tortilla on a plate and add the vegetables. Wrap, adding cheese if desired. Voila!