Monday, November 29, 2010

it's beginning to sound like christmas.

first of all, my apologies. life has thrown some financial, emotional, spiritual, and holiday-ial(?) curve balls over the last couple weeks. things are fine, actually they are more than fine, but sometimes the little flubs of life get in the way of some routines, like blogging.

as an apology i would like to point you all in the direction of some good, free christmas music. because i love christmas music and i love free. and while i say it's beginning to sound like christmas, it's currently thundering here in nashville. which is very much unlike any christmas i grew up with in michigan. moving on.

1. andrew ripp - "christmas tunes". andrew is by far one of my favorite voices. that's really all the explanation you need. (and feel free to check out his non-christmas albums on itunes)

2. the civil wars - "tracks in the snow". these two have harmonies like no other. watch for their debut album coming in early 2011. i'll remind you.

3. slugs and bugs - "christmas sampler". midtown's old worship leader randall has created an album of christmas tunes for kids. and my roommate stacy rocks the bgv's on a few songs, including "building a gingerbread house". despite the album being for kids, stacy and i definitely listened to it on our thanksgiving drive home.

4. the atlas - "christmas music". ryan and rhett are friends of stacy's, and she played these songs for me on our drive as well. i downloaded them at work today and couldn't get enough. simply put, it's gorgeous.

5. dave barnes - "very merry christmas". today and today only this single is free. get it while you can. if you are reading this after today (november 29, 2010), you can still get it on itunes and it'll be worth every penny. an instant classic. in fact you should actually just buy the whole album. i've determined dave barnes was created for christmas music. or maybe christmas music was created for dave barnes.

and on that note, here's one of my favorite christmas videos, featuring dave. (but no, it's not what the album sounds like.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

monday meals: sausage and squash stew*

last week i just kind of threw some ingredients together and out came a lovely fall dish full of all kinds of colors - orange, red, purple, green, to name a few. (i should start taking pictures to post.) here we go.

1lb package of italian sausage
1 acorn squash
2 15-oz cans of white beans
1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of fresh baby spinach
1/4 c small red onion, chopped
salt, pepper, & ground cumin

heat the oven to 350. cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. lay the two halves cut-side down in a small pan with a little bit of water. bake the squash for about 30-45 minutes, until soft.

while the squash is cooking, cook the sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until the meat is cooked through and the onions are translucent. add the beans, tomatoes, and spinach and let it stew for about 10 minutes.

when the squash is done, dice it and mix it in with all the other ingredients. add salt, pepper, and cumin to taste.

*i'm sure there are better names for this dish, but i can't think of anything. suggestions welcome.

Friday, November 12, 2010

friday photos: week 6

friday, november 5

playing with a new lense on the hipstimatic app, i took a picture outside the car window in the black of night. this was the result.

saturday, november 6

adrienne, brad, kirsten, natalie and i went to the guest's cabin in maggie valley, nc. this is what we woke up to this morning.

sunday, november 7

this was the view on the way up to clingman's dome in the smokey mountains.

monday, november 8

another day on the set of "blue like jazz". i waited in line and went up and "bought" these tickets from tania raymonde to vote for my new pope.

tuesday, november 9

one of nashville's iconic venues. myka, jeff and i went to see dave barnes, gabe dixon, brandon heath, and jon mclaughlin.

wednesday, november 10


thursday, november 11


Thursday, November 11, 2010

a weekend in the mountains.

i know that tomorrow is photo friday, but this post would not do my weekend justice if i did not include pictures.

my roommate is a nanny, and the family she works for owns a cabin in maggie valley, north carolina. so a group of us went out there to spend the weekend away from the city, away from the busyness of our lives, and away from internet and phone service. it was incredible.

we got to the cabin late, around midnight friday night. when we woke up saturday morning, this was our view:

thankfully, all five of us loved snow. we were acting like kids on christmas morning.
this was the walkway up to the cabin:

after our pancake breakfast, we all headed into the mountains to go for a hike. we hiked the boogerman trail. it was so snowy and gorgeous.

and we were all acting a little silly...

on our way out of the park we drove through a meadow with about two dozen elk.

we got back to the cabin, made a fire in the wood burning stove, drank wine, and played clue (it was colonel mustard with the rope in the hall).

sunday morning we cleaned up the cabin and headed back towards nashville. we drove through the cherokee reservation and then went to the top of clingman's dome - the highest point in the smoky mountains.

it's been in the 70's this week in nashville, and i already miss the snow. being out there this weekend made my roommate and i want to come home and decorate for christmas. (but don't worry, we haven't... yet.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

wednesday wisdom: #6

"it is one thing to be set free. it is another thing to become free."

-erwin mcmanus

Monday, November 8, 2010

monday meals: chicken curry

five years ago, my friend melissa went to sri lanka for a couple weeks and came back with this recipe.

2 lb chicken breasts, diced
3 tsp salt
1/2 c oil
1 1/2 c finely chopped onions
1 tbs minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger (fresh)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 c water
1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs fresh lemon juice

springle chicken with 2 tsp of the salt. in a large skillet, heat oil over high heat. add chicken in batches, browning on both sides. transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

add onions, garlic, and ginger to the remaining oil. saute for 8 minutes over medium-high heat. stir in cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, 1 tbs of water. stir well for 1 minute. add tomatoes, 1 tbs cilantro, yogurt, and remaining salt (1 tbs).

add chicken and any accumulated juices. pour in remaining water. bring to a boil, turning chicken about to coat with sauce. sprinkle with garam masala and remaining cilantro. cover skillet and simmer for 20 minutes.

serve over white rice.

Friday, November 5, 2010

friday photos: week 5

friday, october 29

deanna's little girl rachel came to work at the end of the day. she kept saying "cheese" for me, but wouldn't look up at me.

saturday, october 30

cori, karissa, and natalie all came up with this idea to have a "mad men"-themed cupcake/bonfire party. we went all out.

sunday, october 31

"blackbird singing in the dead of night..." karissa wearing her halloween costume.

tuesday, november 2

my parents got this wok for their wedding or an anniversary or something... and never used it. for years i asked my mom if i could have it. she kept saying yes, but it's not easy to take on a plane. since i drove this past chirstmas, i brought it back with me. but i also never used it. until now.

wednesday, november 3

there is no better way to spend a rainy fall night than having a fire in the fireplace with good friends. thanks, dan, for having us over!

thursday, november 4

myka asked if i wanted to go to the bluebird with her to see carolina story. i had never heard of them before, but i went. and i loved them. totally added them to my long list of "music i would like to obtain when i have money"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

i'm so famous.

(please note the title of this post is dripping in sarcasm sauce. someone invent a dang sarcasm font already, please?)

anyway. check it out. npr used one of my photographs for an article. much thanks to my friend jace for finding this and sharing it with me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

wednesday wisdom: #5

"dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. living for something is the hard thing. living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition. we live for what we believe."
-donald miller, blue like jazz

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the fear of no fear

you know what i think my biggest fear is? getting rid of fear.

because when we get rid of fear we have no more excuses.

a few weeks ago in my small group, we talked about what names we feel like god is telling us to put down/give up. and i didn't think about the question at all beforehand and then when we were sharing i just kind of blurted out "coward" and i don't know where it came from and i didn't really think about it until the next couple of days. and now i'm realizing how true that is for me. fear has played a large role in my life.

sometimes i think i'm afraid to chase after my dreams. there is the fear that i'll get into it and maybe realize that's not what i want and then be more confused about what to do with life than i already am. fear that i won't measure up. fear that i don't have what it takes.

but the scariest part is getting rid of those fears because they make for good (bad) excuses.

Monday, November 1, 2010

monday meals: white chili

this is so easy. and good. are you ready?

2-3 chicken breasts
3 15-ounce cans of great northern (white) beans
1 15-ounce can of black beans
1 jar of salsa
1/3 block of pepper jack cheese
1/3 block of monterrey jack cheese
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper

cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and cook in a skillet over medium heat until they're no longer pink. throw all the ingredients into a crock pot and let it cook for a couple hours. the end.