Friday, October 30, 2009

Green & White Pizza

I wanted to share with you a special treat that my husband and I enjoy with our dear friends on a regular basis. I got this recipe from Amanda (thank you, dear!) and haven't even tweaked it! We each have our own favorite crust recipe though, so mine tastes a tiny bit different.

This pizza is a bit more expensive than what I typically spend, but it is SO worth it!

Green and White Pizza
  • Your favorite crust recipe, preferably one with olive oil

  • corn meal to dust the pan

  • one packet Korr's basil pesto mix

  • a good handful of shredded spinach

  • feta cheese

  • mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 to 1 can of chicken (depending on how much you want)

Dust the pan with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking. Stretch the crust to the pan. It should be fairly thick. Know that it will rise a good bit -- these toppings don't weigh it down the same way that lots of cheese and meat does. Cook up the sauce according to packaged directions, then coat the crust. Cover the pesto with the shredded spinach. I like to use LOTS! It's my favorite veggie.

Once you have your "green" layers, you have to add your white: just a few crumbles of feta around the pizza and a sprinkle of mozzarella. I don't use much since they're both such flavorful cheeses. Then, I crumble the canned chicken over the top and stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes at 375. You can adjust that to however your family likes it -- other than the crust, everything is already cooked or doesn't need to be.

This twist on pizza is SOOO good! I'd cook it more often if feta wasn't so expensive. But I'm not aware of an equally fabulous alternative, so I wait until it goes on sale. Aldi often has it for right about $2 for 4oz, not bad at all in the world of cheese.


Do your families have a favorite pizza recipe? I'd love to hear about it! We're always trying something new. Some weeks it feels like pizza is a food group in our home!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Introducing Sundowner Lane

I'm excited to show you, for the first time, our new home!

We live in the lower level of this split level house. We bought it for this view here:

I swear this is the ONLY hill in Springfield. Maybe all of Central Illinois. It's so pretty! This picture doesn't do it justice. We went biking on Thursday evening and it was absolutely stunning. There's a creek (currently flooded) just at the bottom of the hill. Riding into it stirred my heart. I'm so happy to be out in the country. We can see the stars for the first time since moving to Springfield. We can also see amazing sun sets -- hence the name of the street. Everything about this place was carefully provided for us by the One Who Cares.
Things are still chaotic. We spent the first half of the week scrubbing the 6th Street apartment then the second half of the week scrubbing this one. I refused to unpack boxes until the windows were clean -- there was a 1/2 in of dirt in the sliding tracks that made them so they couldn't open. This is the first and only room so far in my house that is pulled together:

That extra shelf unit was because we've got a ton fewer cabinets that at 6th Street. It was a $12 Goodwill find. It'll also be a nice place to knead my bread and stuff, because the other countertops are a little clasuterphobic. It's got all my frequently used appliances on it in easy reach to grab and plug in: crock pot, toaster, rice cooker, blender. The rack will hold bread and fruit, napkins, and other easy-grab things. The trash can is hiding behind the shelf.
All the paintings are still stacked in our bedroom closet and there's still three suitcases of clothing to be opened and washed. It's a far cry from finished, but now we're into the fun part. I love arranging everything.
Blessed Sunday to you all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New House Happiness

We have a new house! We're almost entirely moved -- there are only the vacuum and a box of cleaning supplies at the old apartment. Already the hassles of the move have been well worth it: I have done 8 loads of laundry since Saturday night. That would have cost at LEAST $20 to wash and dry at the old house. I can finally stop wearing those "I think I can get one more wear out of this before washing it" outfits!

The biggest blessing still floors me. While my friends and I were carrying boxes into the house on Saturday, I heard someone calling my name from down the street. "Jenny! Jenny -- are you my new neighbor?!" One of my dear friends from Bible study lives in the duplex right across the street. I'm eagerly anticipating our relationship deepening over the next several months. What a blessing to move in not only knowing someone, but knowing a fabulous sister in Christ!

I'll have pictures soon, but right now everything is a massive (and slightly dangerous) pile of boxes and bags. I'd rather show you all something I'm proud of once I get things arranged.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Family Update

Hey all!

So yesterday, Shaune successfully completed the Chicago Marathon -- all 26.2 miles of it -- in a little over 6 hours! I am so proud of him. He's trained so hard for six months, all for this big day. He had some pretty interesting revelations while he was running that he shared with me last night; I'm going to try and write them up as a post soon because I think they're extremely insightful.

I finally got a new dehydrator! After almost 2 months of talking on the phone to various customer service reps, they decided to service my warranty. Within a week of sending in the broken motor, I recieved a brand new one in the mail. I was so excited I cried. Now... to find some more apples...

Our house is a disaster-land of boxes. We move on Friday -- only 4 short days away! We pick up the keys at 7am, have to go to work, and start moving as soon as we get off work and change. We've got some dear friends lending a hand all weekend, so hopefully everything will be packed, moved, and unpacked in it's new location with a minimum of struggle.

I'm officially half-way through student teaching. I'm glad to see the end approaching. But, with the end comes the potential for new beginnings. I have been informed that the school is seeking a new kindergarten teacher to begin in December -- directly after I graduate. Shaune and I are spending a lot of time in prayer to decided what to do. Part of me wants to work and help us achieve our financial goals. The more persuasive part of me wants to come home. We'll see which wins out after we pray.

Things are constantly a whirlwind! Thanks to all of you for sticking around in this post-less wasteland named "too busy to write." Things will hopefully start settling out sooner rather than later.

God bless!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Peace Prize?

President Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. I have little to say because I'm stunned. Stupefied. Whaaaaaaat?

You may read the article here, if you're interested.

After reading the article carefully, I've learned two very scary, very important facts that I'd like to share with you.

1. Good works are no longer necessary -- good intentions are enough.

"Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change." (From the artcile, about half-way through)

As my husband said when I read this to him, "The road to **** is paved with good intentions..."

2. This is a blatant political "buy" to ensure Obama continues to support things the Prize committee and others choose for him, even if it isn't in the best interest of the country

"'We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty,' the foundation said." (From near the bottom)

So the Nobel Peace Prize goes to someone who has big ideas but no results, with the expectation that results must follow in the future... Where's the peace? Where's the honor in *not doing anything yet*? I'm confused and saddened for the memory of those who won this prize legitimately. It has just been cheapened.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breaking the Moses Habit, Pt. 3

This is part three of a series of posts I am writing that dig for deeper understanding into Moses' response when he faces God in the burning bush. You can read the whole story for yourself in Exodus 3 and 4. Part one, the introduction, can be found here, and part two, the first excuse, is here. Studying this passage has been very eye-opening for me. I hope it is helpful to you, as well.
Breaking the Moses Habit: Who are you, God?

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
Exodus 3:13

I believe that the reason Moses reacts like this is that Moses is not sure who God is himself. He fears having to explain this unknown God to the Israelites. It is not in the end about the name (although that is what Moses asks for); instead, it is about God’s character. Who are you, God, that you can demand these people to follow you to you-only-know-where through the desert for however long it takes? Who are you, God?

God responds in a way that only He can:

“I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” Exodus 3:14

God does not stop there. For the next eight verses, God elaborates upon who He is and what He is going to do for the people of Israel. He proves himself trustworthy. He explains that He has been watching the suffering of His people and has chosen to do something about it now. He tells Moses exactly what to say and what to ask for from Pharaoh – “Let us take a three-day journey into the desert…” Exodus 3:18. He even promises to make the Egyptians feel compassionate and help the Israelites along (Exodus 3:21)!

Our God gave Moses what he asked for and so much more. God desires to show Himself to us – He wants us to know who He is and to trust in Him wholeheartedly. For Moses, He did is in the speech which can be found in Exodus 3:14-22. For us, we seek in the Bible first and then through the testimonies of our own souls and our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lord used His Word to show Samuel who He is, in 1 Samuel 3. Samuel heard the voice of God as a young boy and as he grew, he studied the Word with his tutor, Eli. And while he studied, God “revealed himself to Samuel through his word” (1 Samuel 3:21). His Word – the Bible – is how the Lord Almighty demonstrated to Samuel and countless others that He is a God worthy to be trusted and honored.

If we do not stand firm on our understanding of who God is, we are weak. We hesitate when asked to take a risk for Him. If we do not know who we are standing for, we could just as easily be standing for ourselves. We must build our house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24 – 27). Our rock must be Christ revealed to us through the Bible.